If you’re trying your hand at the high-fat, high-protein keto diet, you know you’ll have to ration your carbohydrates very carefully.
Keto suggests that you eat just 10 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates. That’s so your body stays in ketosis—the process by which your body uses fat instead of carbs as its main source of energy.
Doing the math for you, that means you’re limited to just 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates per day. Read a Nutrition Facts panel on a can of soda and you’ll see a serving clocks in at 39 grams of sugar (carbs).
The options below all have 0–5 grams of net carbs, which is the total number of carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols. It more accurately represents the carbs that your body processes.
Here are 13 of the best keto-friendly drinks — besides water.
1. Black or green tea
Tea is a natural option that contains a negligible number of carbs — typically less than 1 gram per cup (240 mL). You can enjoy it iced or hot.
Black tea is made from aged tea leaves, giving it a more robust flavor, darker color, and higher caffeine content. Meanwhile, green tea is made from fresh tea leaves, lending it a more floral flavor, lighter color, and less caffeine.
You can also choose white tea, which is made from young tea leaves. It has a very mild, delicate flavor compared with both black and green teal8.
Furthermore, tea is essentially calorie-free and full of polyphenol antioxidants. For example, green tea is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that may provide anticancer benefits.
Coffee is another nearly calorie- and carb-free favorite that’s safe for the keto diet. Like tea, it can be consumed hot or iced.
Coffee contains caffeine, which may give your metabolism a slight boost. It also provides chlorogenic acid, a polyphenol antioxidant that may likewise aid weight loss.
3. Herbal teas
Herbal teas are infusions derived from dried flowers, fruit, leaves, or herbs. Examples include hibiscus, chamomile, yerba mate, peppermint, and rooibos tea.
Most are low in carbs, as few carbs from dried herbs steep into the water.
However, products made with dried or candied fruit pieces may be slightly higher in carbs. As such, you may want to check the carb count of packaged tea products before purchasing them.
Smoothies from your favorite mall are most definitely not keto-friendly—they’re loaded with sugar. To make a keto-friendly smoothie at home, choose a low-carb base like unsweetened almond milk, and mix in match or protein powder, lots of ice, and a small amount of fruit (a half-cup of blueberries, for example, contains 10 grams of carbs).
Typically high in fat, milkshakes can be keto-friendly if prepared correctly. That means it’s still not great pick one up from your favorite ice cream shop.
You’ll want to use low-carb bases–try mixing unsweetened almond milk and heavy cream—with a tablespoon of nut butter. You can’t add sugar, but stevia drops are a keto-friendly sweetener.
6. Alternative diet sodas
Although diet sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi are technically keto, they may not be the best choice.
That’s because they harbor artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, which may damage the healthy bacteria in your gut and strengthen sugar cravings — potentially leading to weight gain.
Conversely, several diet sodas are made with naturally derived zero calorie sweeteners like stevia or erythritol, a sugar alcohol derived from corn that has fewer negative effects than artificial sweeteners.
Shop for keto-friendly sodas like Zevia and Virgil’s Zero Sugar online.