Keto drinks – the best and the worst

Thirsty on the keto diet? Keeping well hydrated is important to feel your best. What are the best drinks? What drinks should you avoid?

Simple tip: water is wonderful. Whether flat or sparkling, it has no carbs and is a great thirst quencher. Add a sprinkle of salt if you have keto flu or a headache.

Another great choice is tea or coffee — but don’t add sugar! An occasional glass of wine is okay, too.

This visual guide depicts the best and worst options.


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Or watch a summary of this guide where we discuss 3 things you need to know to make the best keto drink choices:

The numbers are the grams of net carbs in a typical serving, such as the size served in a restaurant or the amount packaged in a typical can or bottle.1

Drinks with green numbers are good keto options. Drinks with asterisks have some special caveats. Read on for details.

Regarding coffee or tea: just one teaspoon of sugar (one cube) is 4 grams of carbs, which makes it hard to stay below keto’s 20 grams of carbs a day.



Size mattersSize matters

Drinking a sugary soft drink on a keto diet is never a good idea, but size truly matters. A large bottle (i.e 33 ounces or 1 liter or more) has more carbs than almost an entire week’s keto allowance.2

A can of soda can kick you out of ketosis for a day, but a large bottle may prevent ketosis for several days or even a week. 3

If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, avoid all sugary soft drinks in order to keep your blood glucose stable and improve your health.4


Low-Carb Diet Drinks Diet sodas — yay or nay?

Over the last 40 years, diet sodas — without calories or carbs — have had a huge market around the world, promoting the idea that you can have a sugary-tasting beverage without any of the harms and consequences of real sugar. Alas, it is not that simple.

Sweetened with artificial products like aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K or refined stevia, these diet drinks are not necessarily helpful for sustained weight loss or improved health.

Their problems include maintaining cravings for sweet tastes, which can undermine keto progress and keep sugar addictions in place.5 Acting on the same taste bud sensors as real sugar, they blunt the ability to taste the natural flavors and sweetness of real food. 6 Some sweeteners, such as sucralose, can still cause a blood glucose and insulin response and contribute to fat storage. 7 Observational studies show that drinking diet soft drinks is associated with higher BMIs and higher rates of cardiovascular disease. 8

Other studies have noted that their long term impact on many health factors is still unknown, but that they may alter many body processes, such as metabolism, brain reward systems, appetite regulation, and the microbiome.9

Studies supporting the use of diet soft drinks in weight loss programs are often conducted by the diet drink industry. A 2017 study found that much of the research on artificial sweeteners has been funded by industry and features conflict of interest, research bias, and positive results that cannot be reproduced. 10

Drinking diet soda may or may not be better than drinking sugary soda. However, one thing is certain. If you can cut both out of your daily beverage habits, your health and waistline will likely thank you.

Learn more about artificial sweeteners


Keto alcohol Alcohol on keto: yea or nay?

Unlike many diets, which usually forbid all alcohol, a keto diet allows moderate consumption of specific alcoholic beverages.11

Dry red and white wine is fine in moderation. Beer is generally not okay — it is liquid bread — but there are a few low carb beers that can be consumed from time to time. And spirits — like vodka, gin or whiskey — have no carbs at all.

Check out all the various alcoholic drinks that are keto in our keto alcohol guide

You can also listen to the Diet Doctor Podcast with low-carb wine expert and entrepreneur Todd White.

Recipes for keto drinks

There are many good keto drinks choices. We have lots of popular recipes for keto drinks, like iced tea, bulletproof coffee and keto hot chocolate.

Here are more popular options:



Detailed carb-count list for common drinks

Remember that a strict keto diet, keeps carbs very low. It is typically best to keep carbs from drinks as close to 0 as possible and to use your carb allotment for foods such as fresh vegetables. Below is a detailed list of the number of grams of carbs in a typical serving size of various drinks.

Water 0 (The clear winner)
Water with lemon 0
Tea 0 (one sugar cube adds 4 grams)
Keto iced tea 0 (recipe)
Coffee 0 (milk adds roughly 1-3 grams of carbs)
Diet soft drink 0 (artificial sweeteners cause other problems though)
Wine 2 (5 oz – 14 cl)
Almond milk, unsweetened 2 (8 oz – 25 cl)
Coconut water 9 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Vegetable juice 11 (1 cup – 24 cl). The amount of carbs can vary. Adding fruit juice adds more carbs.
Milk 11 (1 cup – 24 cl). Lactose, the sugar in milk can be problematic for some.
Soy milk 12 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Beer 13 (12 oz – 35 cl). The amount varies (keto beer guide).
Caffè latte 15 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Kombucha tea 10 (12 oz – 35 cl). This is the average of commercial teas. Homemade Kombucha tea varies with the time it has fermented, and may end up somewhat lower in carbs.
Orange juice 26 (1 cup – 24 cl)
Energy drink 28 (8.4 oz – 25 cl)
Vitamin water 32 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Sweetened iced tea 32 (12 oz – 35 cl). This is the average of most commercial iced tea products, which vary in their amount of sweetness.
Soft drink 39 (12 oz – 35 cl)
Smoothie 36 (12 oz – 35 cl). Varies depending on contents. May be low carb, but not typically keto ratios. (Low-carb smoothie recipes).
Frappuccino 50 (12 oz – 35 cl). All sweet coffee drinks are high in carbs.
Milkshake 60 (10 oz – 30 cl). Not part of a ketogenic diet.



Similar keto guides


A ketogenic diet for beginners
Ketogenic diet foods – what to eat and what to avoid
14-day keto diet meal plan with recipes and shopping lists

Keto drinks – the best and the worst - the evidence

This guide is written by Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD and was last updated on December 8, 2022. It was medically reviewed by Dr. Bret Scher, MD on November 8, 2021.

The guide contains scientific references. You can find these in the notes throughout the text, and click the links to read the peer-reviewed scientific papers. When appropriate we include a grading of the strength of the evidence, with a link to our policy on this. Our evidence-based guides are updated at least once per year to reflect and reference the latest science on the topic.

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  1. Net carbs = digestible carbs, i.e. total carbs minus fiber.

  2. Based on the Coca-Cola website, a 12oz can of Coke has 39g of added sugars, and a 1L bottle has 108g of added sugar!

  3. This is based on consistent clinical experience of low-carb practitioners. [weak evidence]

  4. Obesity 2017: Isocaloric fructose restriction and metabolic improvement in children with obesity and metabolic syndrome [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

    Journal of Diabetes Investigation 2015: Association between sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis [meta-analysis of observational studies, weak evidence]

  5. Research suggests that these sweeteners partially activate the “food reward” pathway responsible for cravings:

    The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2010: Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings [overview article; ungraded evidence]

  6. Physiology and Behavior 2017: Recent studies of the effects of sugars on brain systems involved in energy balance and reward: Relevance to low calorie sweeteners [overview article; ungraded]

    In addition, as the following study shows, non-caloric sweeteners may increase the desire to eat more food.

    Nutrition and Health 2021: Acute diet soda consumption alters brain responses to food cues in humans: A randomized, controlled, cross-over pilot study[randomized trial; moderate evidence]

  7. Diabetes Care 2013: Sucralose affects glycemic and hormonal responses to an oral glucose load. [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

  8. CMAJ 2017: Nonnutritive sweeteners and cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials and prospective cohort studies. [meta-analysis of observational studies, weak evidence]

  9. Nutrition Journal 2017: Health outcomes of non-nutritive sweeteners: analysis of the research landscape. [systemic review of RCTs and cohort studies; moderate evidence]

    Physiology and Behavior 2016: Physiological mechanisms by which non-nutritive sweeteners may impact body weight and metabolism [overview article; ungraded]

  10. PLoS Med 2017: Artificially sweetened beverages and the response to the global obesity crisis/strong> [overview article; ungraded]

  11. This is based on consistent clinical experience of low-carb practitioners. [weak evidence]