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What Drinks Can You Have on Keto? (An ADHD-Friendly Guide)

What Can You Drink When on Keto - Butter Coffee - Bulletproof Coffee - ADHD Friendly

Today I want to talk about what drinks you can have while on a ketogenic diet. This is something I get a lot of questions about, and it can be a little confusing. In addition, us ADHD folks have special considerations to take into account when deciding upon what libations to choose. 

We're going to talk about what you can have in unlimited quantities (within reason), what you should limit to very occasionally if ever, and what you should avoid at all costs.

I'll be discussing different types of coffee drinks, carbonated beverages, and I'll give you my take on the ever contentious topic of non-nutritive sweeteners. 

So, hi! This is Julie from Julie Saad Wellness, holistic health coaching for women with ADHD. 

So, what can we drink when we're on keto? The main thing to keep in mind is that we're trying to watch our carb intake. You know that.

We also want to avoid anything that, for lack of a better word, can f*ck us up, and here I'm talking about our health in general or our beautiful ADHD brains. 

Green Light - Drink as Much as You Want*

*Check the notes though. . . 

First of all, you can drink as much water as you want. Duh. You know it. 

By the way, if you want to know if you're drinking enough, just look at your pee!

If your urine is dark yellow, like Mountain Dew-looking, you probably need more hydration. If it's light yellow, like watered-down lemonade, good job! You're probably at the right level of hydration. If it's clear, you might have overdone it on the liquids and might want to back off, as overhydration can actually put unnecessary strain on your kidneys and doesn't have any health benefits at all. 

Another thing to note, especially for those of us with ADHD is that dehydration can make our symptoms worse. So if you're having one of those days where it just seems like the ol' brain just is not working - system is offline - you might want to try drinking something or even eating something with a lot of water. I'm obsessed with iceberg lettuce myself. 

And if you're on medication to manage your ADHD you probably already know this but, the medication may often make you a lot thirstier than normal. So that's something to keep in mind. 

All right so I already mentioned water as something you can drink, what are some other things?

Seltzer water, soda water, club soda, fizzy water . . . whatever you want to call it . . . is a great option. You can add a bit of lemon or lime juice or even some mint leaves if you're feeling fancy. 

You can also drink mineral water. This is stuff like Perrier or San Pellegrino. 

What about flavored soda water like La Croix? Yup. It's fine. Green light! 

You can also have coconut milk or almond milk. Just make sure it's full-fat and unsweetened. 

Any kind of herbal tea, hot or cold, is fine. I like to make weird concoctions by putting random things in my French press such as hibiscus flowers, mint, cinnamon, ginger, whatever I have lying around. 

Regular tea is also allowed, as is my favorite beverage of all time . . . coffee!

Yes, go ahead and have as much coffee or tea as you want, with a few caveats:

1. If you're taking medication for your ADHD and on the label it says to avoid caffeine when taking that medication, well, you know. Back in the day when I was on ADHD stimulant medication, I was a good girl about it and never drank anything really caffeinated, except one time I did have a big old pot of decaf coffee to wash down my pill, which doesn't have that much caffeine in it, but apparently it does have some, I now know, and I felt like I was about to have a heart attack. Yay. I have seen one of my friends who's on stimulant meds take it along with coffee, but, you're not really supposed to. That goes for tea as well, although some teas have less caffeine than others, so you might be able to get away with it, but it's better not to push your luck. 

2. Keep an eye on your caffeine consumption and make sure you're not getting any bad side effects from it. Caffeine helps many people with ADHD, may improve focus somewhat, and for some of us, it actually calms us down, paradoxically. Yet for others, it can increase hyperactivity and can sometimes cause anxiety when consumed in excess. So, just pay attention to how much you drink and how you feel. 

3. You have to be mindful of what you put in your coffee. Milk is not allowed on the ketogenic diet. It's just too high in carbs. You can use heavy cream in your coffee or tea instead, or you can try butter coffee or what some people refer to as Bulletproof coffee. There are different recipes, but the one I like the best is one cup of coffee, one tablespoon of coconut oil, and one tablespoon of butter or ghee, blended together with an immersion blender or just stirred vigorously if I can't be bothered to get the immersion blender out of the drawer. Avoid adding sugar or any other kind of sweetener. We'll talk more about sweeteners in a minute. 

So those are the things that you can drink as much as you want of. I want to say that a lot of times you hear people preaching about how the best thing to drink is regular old plain water. Whatever. Leave us alone, water-pushers. If you need to put a tea bag in there, so be it. Tea is good for you. Don't let anyone shame you into drinking something you're not so keen on. It's not a purity competition, okay? 

Yellow Light - Drink Very Occasionally, if Ever

Can you have alcohol on keto?  

You can have some types of alcohol on keto. Bear in mind that if you're trying to lose weight, alcohol will slow this down, as your body will always seek to burn off alcohol before tapping into your fat stores. So if your goal is to lose weight, you want to avoid alcohol as much as possible or abstain from it completely when on keto, for now, but if you do want to drink, go for low-carb options. For example:

Champagne and drier wines (these have very few carbs)

Spirits such as whiskey, brandy, rum, tequila, gin, or vodka (these have no carbs)

Most beer will be too high in carbs for keto. There are a few brands that are low-carb, but frankly I don't think they're very tasty, so I'm not going to recommend them here. Life's too short to drink nasty-ass beer just 'cause it's low carb. Likewise, any kind of sugary mixer, I'm talking Coke, tonic water, juice, that weird green margarita stuff you see at the grocery store, all of that's a no-go. 

Now, there are two things that I need to mention here. 

1. Just like with coffee, many ADHD medications are not meant to be consumed with alcohol. So if you're on medication, you want to make sure you talk to your doctor about if you can or can't drink, or when you can drink. For example, when I was prescribed stimulant medication, which I no longer take by the way, my psychiatrist at the time told me that I could take the medicine during the day and then have a beer a night, but I never tried it, because I'm not the type to have just one beer, if you know what I mean. 

2. If you don't already know this, pay attention. When you're on keto, you can get drunk very quickly and on much less alcohol than it normally takes to get you drunk. Trust me on this one. I have the embarrassing video from the club to prove it, but also a very bold karaoke performance from that night before I got so drunk that my husband had to come get me, and this was off of like three and a half drinks over the course of many hours. I have never been so drunk in my life, and I'm a party girl. So, you have been warned. 

But while we're on the subject of party substances, let's talk about what to drink when you're smoking weed. Yeah, I went there. 

There are a couple of things to watch out for if you use marijuana while on keto.

When you first start the diet especially, you may occasionally feel dizzy. This is often caused by an electrolyte imbalance, as your body begins to dump the extra water it holds on to when you have a high carb diet. Along with the water goes electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium. It's important to replenish these electrolytes through supplementation if you're not getting enough in your diet. 

What does this have to do with weed? Well, if you get cotton mouth, you may drink more water than normal, as you should, which may further throw off your electrolyte balance. Also, weed can sometimes make you feel dizzy, so if you're already having dizzy spells on keto, it can be a double whammy. So you want to make sure your electrolyte game is on point. 

The other thing to watch out for is the famous munchies. You're smart and can come up with your own strategy for this, but one trick that can work is making sure you're drinking something with added electrolytes, especially sodium. A lot of times, a sugar craving is really a salt craving in disguise. So you can try this trick and see if it works if you have already eaten and know that you're just in a munchie mood. Otherwise just eat something keto-friendly and get on with it. You can make your own electrolyte drink, or use a product like Keto Chow electrolyte drops. I love that one because it doesn't have any garbage ingredients in it like artificial sweeteners. 

Red Light - Avoid These Drinks When on Keto

There are three categories of drinks that I recommend avoiding. The first two apply to everyone and the third applies particularly to my ADHD peeps. 

For everyone - it's important to avoid any drinks that contain a large amount of carbs, so no juice, no sodas, no sweetened tea or coffee, no beer unless it's low carb, no sweet wines, no sugary cocktails, and no smoothies.

Also, I recommend that everyone avoid things like protein shakes, meal replacement shakes, and anything of the sort. Even if they're low carb, they're very far removed from a real food. I'd rather you ate the protein!

Now, the last category that I want to talk about is drinks with non-nutritive sweeteners. In this case I'm talking about things like stevia, monk fruit sweetener, xylitol, erythritol, saccharin, sucralose, allulose, aspartame, or acesulfame potassium (also known as Ace-K). Those last two are the sweeteners used in Coke Zero, by the way. And if I pronounced any of those incorrectly, #sorrynotsorry. I'm more eloquent when it comes to talking about food, not random-ass chemicals. 

Now, if you really want to feel confused about something, pop onto the internet and try to figure out if non-nutritive sweeteners are bad for you. You will come across so much conflicting information you won't know whether to French kiss your jar of Splenda or chuck it out the window. 

And if we want to get a little snarky here, and, we do, let's talk about how many health experts online either have their own products with non-nutritive sweeteners or earn affiliate commissions from products with non-nutritive sweeteners. I'm not calling them "artificial sweeteners" because technically substances like stevia are natural, by the way.

So I've heard various doctors online say that these sweeteners are just fine and then when I dig a little deeper, I find that they sell these kind of Franken-Snickers-type candy bars with fake sugar, so of course they're not going to say anything bad about them because they're making bank off of this fake-ass food. Yeah, I know that's a little tin-foil hat, a little conspiracy theory, but that's how I roll. 

So, first of all, in the general population, non-nutritive sweeteners may have a variety of adverse effects. Some, or all of them, may cause disruption to the gut microbiome, increase your hunger, increase your chances of developing diabetes, cause you to gain weight, give you bloating, gas, or diarrhea on a level you didn't even think was possible. 

Now, when we're talking about people with ADHD, we have to be even more careful when it comes to these sweeteners. 

Many, if not all of them, have been linked to problems with attention, hyperactivity, memory, and even things like time management, among others, in people with ADHD. This includes stevia.

So, really, those of us with ADHD should do our best to stay away from these substances. 

You Can Do It

I know that was a lot of information, but hopefully it gave you a good idea of what and what not to drink when following a ketogenic diet. Don't stress. You can do it. 

If you found this information helpful, please share it with someone you know. 

Thanks so much for being here, and have a happy and healthy day.