2

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Can drinking kick you out of ketosis?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 21, 2011 at 12:58 PM

I hardly ever drink, but when I do its vodka soda with a lime or a NorCal margarita. I was reading MDA's post about alcohol and he said that a clear (or even brown) unflavored liquor has no fat, protein, or carbs.

I was wondering if it can kick you out of ketosis if you drink?

Im not planning on drinking anytime soon (except MAYBE a glass of wine with the family on Christmas dinner) and Im not even sure if Im in ketosis yet (although Ive had a slightly metallic taste in my mouth for 2 days) but I was more curious than anything

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 24, 2011
at 03:55 PM

I wasn't aware that Atkins or anyone else claimed that ketones in the urine *caused* weight loss by literally expelling calories. I thought ketones in the urine were a *sign* that the body was burning significant enough amounts of fat to have extra ketones to discard. Of course, a ketone *does* contain calories of energy, so a ketone in your urine *is* part of "calories out." The problem with CICO isn't that it's untrue; it's that consumption and exercise aren't the only variables in it (or the most causative ones). They're just the only ones we can (sort of) directly control.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on December 24, 2011
at 01:26 AM

@Aaron, I agree completely. This is where the LC myths and those propagating them are counter productive. Too many people think eat carb and either go out of ketosis or stop burning fat or insulin trapping all their fat away or whatever version of this. The original Atkins book holds the ultimate answer. CICO is how it works, there's just no magical pee all the calories down the loo in ketones out Atkins claimed.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:27 PM

I agree, the fear of one "off the wagon" meal setting the diet back for days, and the accompanying guilt over any cheats, probably make low-carb seem a lot more daunting for people than it is, and cause many to fail or never start at all. If you think a couple slices of pizza with friends every Saturday is going to wipe out an entire week's effort, that's a lot to face. Some may have to be very strict -- once-a-week carb-ups didn't work for me at all -- but most people don't. Many could just cut out the 3-4 cans of soda they drink a day and lose weight.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Yeah, I don't know about other low-carb forums, but back when alt.support.diet.low-carb was the place to be, the regulars all knew that ketosis wasn't the goal. More ketosis (assuming such a thing could be measured) wasn't necessarily better, and darker ketostix didn't mean you were losing more weight; they probably just meant you weren't drinking enough water. But we'd constantly get newbies showing up asking, "My ketostix are only a light purple; what am I doing wrong?" I never bought the things; maybe they had a chart on the box tying the color to different levels of weight loss.

361e96d70d6d3b91d63f6ad975e60ab6

(840)

on December 21, 2011
at 10:34 PM

How can ethanol be considered a carbohydrate? (Seriously, curious)

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on December 21, 2011
at 03:40 PM

Personally, being "knocked out of ketosis" and Atkins' hyperbole over the detrimental effects of that (one bite of potato can undo days of effort by knocking you out of it) were the reason so many low carbers are perpetually falling off and trying to climb back on that proverbial wagon. It's a myth that persists to this day that ketosis is somehow burning more fat than not. In the end, this has been shown to be bunk by even pro-low carbers like Eades. Ketones do help with appetite suppression in some, but not all, but I never noticed appetite climbing mornings the stix measured nil.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 21, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Quite a few people as well in years past have lost weight doing the low-fat, eating 5-6 carby meals a day thing, so the timing thing about switching back and forth doesn’t really look that big of a deal to me either.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 21, 2011
at 02:10 PM

Ethanol can be considered as a carbohydrate.

685e3c967e63b4eacccf02628fd9a3ac

(1026)

on December 21, 2011
at 01:02 PM

It's a bad idea to drink alcohol when in ketosis : it inhibits gluconeogenesis.

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6 Answers

6
24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on December 21, 2011
at 01:28 PM

My experience back when I first did Atkins and measured with the ketostix darned near obsessively, was "yes".

And so when someone posted links over on my blog to studies on a Spanish ketogenic diet that included 200-400 mL wine per day, I wondered over whether this could be truly a ketogenic diet. So I went looking around and discovered that ketonuria can actually be caused by alcohol consumption under certain circumstances!

Since fatty acids are oxidized to make the ketones, and alcohol suppresses fatty acid oxidation, alcohol will temporarily reduce new ketone formation. But perhaps b/c the alcohol must be metabolized "in real time", excess acetyl CoA in the pike gets converted and "dumped" as ketones.

In any case, once the alcohol is gone, the ketone production should pick up where it was left off provided that alcohol was not accompanied by any significant amount of carbs. Which, in retrospect, is what I think happened that first Atkins stint.

Low carbers beware: Those flavor infused spirits have some sugar in them. It's not on the label, they don't taste sweet like liqueurs, but if you let a bit sit out to evaporate you'll find they leave a sticky residue. I think the flavored vodka I used to drink was responsible for kicking me out of ketosis because I was getting just enough carb with the ethanol.

3
03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 21, 2011
at 02:36 PM

My understanding has been that alcohol stops ketosis because your body preferentially burns the alcohol before anything else. If you're burning alcohol instead of fat, you aren't producing ketones.

However, it's still not the same as eating a bunch of carbs, because it only stops the burning of fat; it doesn't reverse the process by raising insulin levels and shifting the body into fat storage mode. As soon as the alcohol is gone, your body should go right back to burning fat, without the need to alter its hormonal makeup1. So if you have to choose between vodka or soda, take the vodka. Alcohol with carbs is the worst, because you burn the alcohol, leaving the carbs nowhere to go except into storage, hence the beer belly.

And as Evelyn says, be careful, because sugar sneaks into drinks. Only plain distilled spirits like vodka and gin are truly zero-carb. If anything is added to it, there's probably sugar (or corn syrup) involved. And there's certainly sugar in your vodka soda unless you use diet soda, so it's best to learn to drink it on the rocks. (But then you'll notice the flavor, so you'll start wanting good vodka; the cheap stuff is pretty harsh without something to cover it up. A vodka martini made with the 'bar' label is a manly drink for sure.)

The Drs. Eades seem to have good luck with dry red wine, but they make sure to count the carbs in it. They like it and think it has beneficial effects, so it's worth it to them to cut food carbs back a bit to make room for a glass or two of wine (according to their earlier books; I haven't checked lately).

[1] The time needed for the body to "shift" from high insulin production to going heavier on glucagon, and all the other changes in various hormones and enzymes and so on that go with that, was always a concern on low-carb groups back in the day, but I don't know how big a deal it really is. It does seem to take a few days or more for the body to completely adjust from high-carb to low-carb. But I suspect that's because a lot of stored glycogen has to be burned off, not because it takes that long for hormone levels to change. After all, as I understand it, everyone shifts into fat-burning mode in the wee hours of the morning when they haven't eaten for several hours. And some people lost weight very well on the early Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, which allowed a single high-carb meal every day, so clearly they managed to get into fat-burning mode in less than 24 hours, probably quite a bit less. So I don't know if being "knocked out of ketosis" is really that big a deal, in the sense that it takes days to get back into it. It's probably more like hours or even minutes after the offending comestibles are out of the system.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Yeah, I don't know about other low-carb forums, but back when alt.support.diet.low-carb was the place to be, the regulars all knew that ketosis wasn't the goal. More ketosis (assuming such a thing could be measured) wasn't necessarily better, and darker ketostix didn't mean you were losing more weight; they probably just meant you weren't drinking enough water. But we'd constantly get newbies showing up asking, "My ketostix are only a light purple; what am I doing wrong?" I never bought the things; maybe they had a chart on the box tying the color to different levels of weight loss.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 22, 2011
at 02:27 PM

I agree, the fear of one "off the wagon" meal setting the diet back for days, and the accompanying guilt over any cheats, probably make low-carb seem a lot more daunting for people than it is, and cause many to fail or never start at all. If you think a couple slices of pizza with friends every Saturday is going to wipe out an entire week's effort, that's a lot to face. Some may have to be very strict -- once-a-week carb-ups didn't work for me at all -- but most people don't. Many could just cut out the 3-4 cans of soda they drink a day and lose weight.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on December 24, 2011
at 01:26 AM

@Aaron, I agree completely. This is where the LC myths and those propagating them are counter productive. Too many people think eat carb and either go out of ketosis or stop burning fat or insulin trapping all their fat away or whatever version of this. The original Atkins book holds the ultimate answer. CICO is how it works, there's just no magical pee all the calories down the loo in ketones out Atkins claimed.

7d64d3988de1b0e493aacf37843c5596

(2861)

on December 21, 2011
at 02:53 PM

Quite a few people as well in years past have lost weight doing the low-fat, eating 5-6 carby meals a day thing, so the timing thing about switching back and forth doesn’t really look that big of a deal to me either.

24df4e0d0e7ce98963d4641fae1a60e5

on December 21, 2011
at 03:40 PM

Personally, being "knocked out of ketosis" and Atkins' hyperbole over the detrimental effects of that (one bite of potato can undo days of effort by knocking you out of it) were the reason so many low carbers are perpetually falling off and trying to climb back on that proverbial wagon. It's a myth that persists to this day that ketosis is somehow burning more fat than not. In the end, this has been shown to be bunk by even pro-low carbers like Eades. Ketones do help with appetite suppression in some, but not all, but I never noticed appetite climbing mornings the stix measured nil.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on December 24, 2011
at 03:55 PM

I wasn't aware that Atkins or anyone else claimed that ketones in the urine *caused* weight loss by literally expelling calories. I thought ketones in the urine were a *sign* that the body was burning significant enough amounts of fat to have extra ketones to discard. Of course, a ketone *does* contain calories of energy, so a ketone in your urine *is* part of "calories out." The problem with CICO isn't that it's untrue; it's that consumption and exercise aren't the only variables in it (or the most causative ones). They're just the only ones we can (sort of) directly control.

2
Ed581d640256a4d2d9b25140df020843

on June 17, 2012
at 05:47 PM

Red wine does NOT always hault ketosis. Dry red wine. Not a sweet one. I drink 2-3 glasses weekly. Never once did it stop me registering ketonic. Dr. Peter Attia's blog address the science on why you can drink it. Basically there is only 4% sugar by weight in red wine and in moderation shouldnt knock you out of ketosis. My ketotic friend tried it too. Yay!! Still in ketosis.

0
5e1f4b5504c1e552a22df91f9f57b907

on August 27, 2013
at 04:12 PM

I have been really strict with my diet but after a disagreement with my boyfriend, i had 3 glasses of red wine and fell over completely drunk, was sick which has never happened to me before, however, i wa wondering after that little episode, would I still be in Ketosis, I have lost 5lb in the first week, but realise its just fluid I am losing, for the second week of induction, do we lose more weight or more fluid?

0
Da3e1ef1d26c1a4ce3211cb8fd173ce5

on March 26, 2013
at 08:21 AM

Yes. I had less than a pint of beer on the weekend (with some carbs) and now I am out of ketosis :( NEVER DOING IT AGAIN BEFORE THE GOAL IS MET!!!

0
481fb0e194cb780ea236b6ed6370f60a

on June 13, 2012
at 09:59 AM

I am in ketosis right now.If you want to loose weight you must do two things.diet and exercise.

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