10 low-carb keto drinks for worry-free hydration

by | Oct 3, 2022 | Last updated Oct 19, 2022

When it comes to staying hydrated, keto drink options can feel limiting because many of the tastiest drinks have carbs.

The typical keto recommendation is to keep your total net carbs below 50 grams per day, but carbs can sneak up on you in your drinks. If you grab a 12-ounce strawberry banana smoothie, for example, you’ll knock out around 49 of your daily net carbs in one sitting.

At Noom Weight, we don’t typically focus on restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups—they’re usually tough to sustain. But we understand that you may have good reasons for following a keto diet.

So we’re here to support you with a list of 10 keto-friendly drink options to keep you hydrated (and your taste buds happy). 

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1. Water

Water isn’t always the most exciting beverage, but common sense tells you that it’s a way to stay hydrated without adding carbs. In fact, water is the most straightforward keto drink, and it’s great for your overall health—no label-checking needed.

One academic review argues that water is the most vital nutrient for the body—and suggests that drinking water is linked to improved cognitive function and mood.

The review also notes that drinking water is also linked to reduced recurrence of kidney stones, which is a side effect for some on keto.

2. Fruit-infused water

If you find yourself bored with plain water, try fruit infusions for some refreshing variety.

Grab some low-carb fruits like lemon wedges, cucumber slices, starfruit, or blackberries, and add them to your water. Strain and discard the fruits after soaking if you prefer to avoid carbs altogether. 

You can also mix fruit and herb combinations, like cucumber and mint, for extra flavor.

3. Sparkling and flavored water 

Carbonated, seltzer, sparkling, and zero-calorie flavored waters can also spice up your keto drink selections. You can find many brands in your local grocery store.

Keto isn’t a zero-carb diet, but carbs and sugar from drinks can add up fast. Aim for beverages with no carbs or sugar to keep hydration simple.

4. Coffee 

If you need your morning caffeine boost, we hear you. Brewed black coffee is the perfect zero-carb way to start your day.

Craving a coffee shop pick-me-up? Just skip the sweets—that means passing on sugary syrups and drizzles. Avoid animal milk and opt for a keto-friendly non-dairy milk from our list below.

Here are a few tried-and-true coffee shop options:

  • Plain Americano (espresso and water)
  • Sugar-free macchiato with unsweetened almond milk, sugar-free syrup, and no drizzle
  • Sugar-free mocha with unsweetened almond milk and sugar-free syrup

Just be cautious about the amount of coffee you drink. Some people can be sensitive to caffeine.

5. Tea

Like brewed coffee drinks, unsweetened brewed teas (including herbal, chai, black, earl grey, white, and green teas) are excellent keto drinks because they’re carb-free. Teas also include antioxidants, which prevent damage from free radicals in the body.

If you’re eating out or need to swing by a coffee shop, try one of these keto-friendly picks:

  • Brewed, unsweetened hot or iced tea. Check to make sure the tea isn’t in pre-made boxes, jars, or containers, as these often include sweeteners and additives.
  • Earl grey tea latte with unsweetened almond milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup. If you prefer another tea, no problem—most shops can substitute a different variety.

6. Non-dairy milk

Cow milk (and the milk of most other mammals) contains lactose, which is a form of sugar. Keto eaters can replace animal milk with common low-carb milk substitutes:

Non-dairy milkCarbs per 1 cup (8 oz)
Macadamia nut milk1 gram
Almond milk 1.58 grams
Soymilk4.23 grams
Flax milk6 grams
Coconut milk7.01 grams

Not all dairy-free milk alternatives are keto-friendly—some include added sugar and extra carbohydrates. For example, cashew (10.47 grams of carbs) and hemp milk (11.42 grams of carbs). Check your nutrition labels if you’re not sure.

7. Broth

If drinking broth sounds strange to you, stick with us. Broth can actually be the perfect low-carb pick-me-up—some people even swap it for their morning coffee.

Both chicken and beef broth are great sipping options for keto eaters because of their low carb count.

Chicken bone and beef bone broths are even better for people on keto. These bone broths have no carbs and slightly more protein per serving than regular broths.

Ready to make a lasting change?

A healthier you, wherever you are.

8. Diet soft drinks

Diet sodas are acceptable keto drink options because they’re usually formulated with zero carbs and sugar.

These drinks contain low-carb or artificial sweeteners (like stevia, monk fruit, and sucralose), which are keto-friendly and used in keto diet research. Studies suggest that sugar substitutes are safe overall, but they are controversial and not approved for consumption in every country.

If you’re wondering how artificial sugars affect weight loss, research suggests there are probably no significant effects of artificial sweeteners on your body weight.

Some people report anecdotal side effects like headaches with sugar substitutes, but more high-quality research is needed to confirm if these effects are from artificial sweeteners.

9. Zero-carb sports drinks

Popular zero-sugar and zero-carb sports drinks meet typical keto guidelines, but be sure to check your labels before you buy. Unless the packaging specifically says zero-carb and zero-sugar, sports drinks are often full of both.

Powdered electrolyte drinks are also an option for keto shoppers—these are usually artificially sweetened and don’t contain any carbs or sugars per serving.

As we noted above, the use of artificial sweeteners is still controversial. Even though artificial sweeteners give keto drinkers more options, they may not be the best choices for overall health.

10. Alcoholic drinks

Following a keto diet plan and including alcohol can be tricky. A typical 12-ounce can of beer has over 12 carbs, and a glass of wine averages a little over 9 carbs per 12-ounce glass. 

Mixed drinks are even worse since they often include fruit juices and sweeteners. 

Unless you’re drinking plain hard liquors like rum, tequila, vodka, and whiskey (which contain zero carbs and sugar per 1-ounce serving), it may be best to avoid alcoholic beverages. 

Studies investigating alcohol consumption and obesity show that light to moderate alcohol intake probably won’t cause weight gain, but heavy drinkers are more likely to experience weight gain over time.

Drinks that seem keto-friendly—but aren’t

Vegetable juices, fruit juices, oat milk—they all seem like acceptable keto drinks, right? Unfortunately, these don’t work for keto.

The best keto drinks for beginners keep carbs and sugar to a minimum. Some of these options are good for overall health, but others sneak in extra sugars and carbohydrates. They may also include multiple serving sizes per single-use container.

  • Most vegetable juices: Pre-packaged vegetable juices tend to be high in carbohydrates and sugars. Some low-carb vegetables (like spinach or cucumbers) can be juiced, but they’re usually more appealing with added sweeteners that counteract your keto efforts.
  • Fruit juice: According to recent research, anywhere from 50-80% of the non-water substances in fruits can be made up of carbohydrates—usually sugars like fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Because fruits tend to be high in carbs and sugar, fruit juices are usually not recommended for keto eaters.
  • Yerba Mate: While you may be able to drink this tea and stay in ketosis, it can be tricky to keep your carbs in check. Some teas have carb content as low as 3g per serving, while other versions of the drink, like infused Yerba Mates, have higher carb counts. According to one study, the composition of these teas is approximately 80% carbohydrate-based. If you want to give it a try, stick to plain tea bags, and be sure to check the nutrition label first.
  • Oat milk: If you’re on the hunt for a keto-friendly milk alternative, oat milk is probably too high in carbohydrates to make the cut. Try one of the other non-dairy milks listed above instead.
  • Wine: According to the USDA, most wines have roughly 4.03 grams of net carbs per 5 fluid ounces. If you need to unwind with your favorite vino after a long day, you still can—but save it for the occasional treat and stick to one glass.

Keep track of your favorite keto drinks 

As a keto eater, you’re probably no stranger to food labels. You have to be aware of your carb intake, so keeping tabs on what’s in your food becomes second nature.

At Noom Weight, we suggest going a step further and logging your foods and drinks throughout the day.

Not only can you keep track of your carb goals and see your progress over time, but you’ll also get a handy reference for your favorite keto drink options when you’re short on inspiration.

Curious how Noom Weight and keto can work together? Check out our guide to learn more.