Keto and Your Alcohol Tolerance

When on a keto diet, you may experience a lowered tolerance for alcohol. This has a couple of potential causes. First, a gastrointestinal tract full of carbs typically slows down alcohol absorption. This is because alcohol competes with sugar (broken down from carbs) for the limited surface area of the small intestine; without the competition, alcohol is absorbed much faster. Next, when you restrict carbs, most of the glucose your body needs is produced from non-carbs in a process called gluconeogenesis. When alcohol enters the system, it is possible that gluconeogenesis is put on hold as the liver prioritizes alcohol metabolism above all else — resulting in decreased glucose and increased acetone, likely making the alcohol hit you harder.

You may also experience worsened hangovers, which are most likely the result of dehydration and electrolyte loss. As always with a keto diet, you need to make sure you are consuming enough water and salt.

A keto diet can also result in higher levels of acetone in your breath, which can cause higher-than-normal readings (and even false positives) on alcohol breathalyzers. Please drink responsibly and never drink and drive.