Beverages for Ketosis


When in Ketosis it’s very easy to go over your carbohydrate level for the day just with a glass of drink. It’s very important to check your nutritional panels when purchasing beverages as even diet drinks can still contain quite high levels of carbohydrates depending on the method used to sweeten the beverage. When we consume beverages, it’s very rare that we consume 100ml of beverage, typically we can consume between 250 to 600ml of drink in one sitting or bottle so make sure you check the serving size as well as the Carbohydrate level per 100g information.

When you are in Ketosis you will need to consume beverages of minimum carboydrate value. It’s best to therefore avoid those drinks based on high carbohydrate ingredients such as juices, fruit drinks, milk based beverages including sweetened flavoured milks and Barista made coffee’s, sugar based cordials, plant based beverages with added sugar (Almond milks etc), sports and energy drinks, etc.

Water based beverages are the best with a wide range of options available which we will discuss below – 


Water  & Water Products –

There are a number of water based beverages available perfect for use when in Ketosis but always check the nutritional panel and avoid Vitamin or Flavoured waters as these often contain sugar or sweeteners used to balance the flavours added.

The water based beverage options include mineral/sparkling water, soda and tonic water. Mineral or sparkling water is collected and often bottled straight from a natural spring producing water that contains naturally occurring minerals. Mineral water may be still or sparkling. Soda water is carbonated water (Please see the Soft Drinks section of this page). Tonic water is carbonated water with the addition of quinine. It has a distinctive bitter flavour and is used mainly as a mixer.


Cordials – Cordials are non-alcoholic syrup concentrates that are used to make beverages. They are highly concentrated liquids or powders and only require small amounts to be diluted in water. They come in a range of flavours, and usually contain a number of ingredients that perform different functions. In diet or no sugar cordials, artificial or natural sweeteners are used. Other ingredients include water, colours, artificial or natural flavours (including acids), stabilisers, preservatives (to prevent mould and yeast growth over shelf life) and thickeners used to provide mouthfeel to the product.  


Nut Milks There is a huge range of Non Dairy milks now available to consumers. As they are plant based, they don’t contain Lactose or cholesterol as does cow’s milk. Often fortified with vitamins and minerals they are sold in sweetened, unsweetened and flavoured varieties. Avoid the sweetened and flavoured options as they can be extremely high in carbohydrates. 

A wide variety of source materials are used for non-dairy beverages and can include ingredients such as Rice, Oat, Almond, Soy, Cashew, Coconut, Quinoa, Pea etc. They can either be sold individually or in combination with each other and are available in UHT and fresh chilled options.  These products can contain a variety of ingredients depending on the brand. Nut, rice and oat based products are made by blending water with the soaked whole nut or grain, ground nut or flour of the base material (e.g. ground almonds or rice flour) and straining out the liquid. For coconut milks coconut cream is blended with water. Additional ingredients are added which may include sugars or sweeteners (rice or tapioca syrups), stabilisers, starches and gums (to stabilise the beverage and provide mouthfeel and viscosity), emulsifiers (to prevent separation of the ingredients over shelf life), inulin (fibre), oils, salt, flavours, colours, and vitamin or mineral powders (calcium is often added).

For more information please see the Beverage page. 


Soft Drinks – Soft drinks or carbonated beverages are produced by adding colour (artificial or natural), flavour (artificial or natural), food acids, sugar and preservatives to carbonated water. Water is carbonated by running carbon bubbles through filtered water under pressure. The small carbon bubbles disperse evenly in the water remaining in solution until the bottle is opened.


Coffee – Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Black Coffee is perfect when in Ketosis, it’s when you begin to whiten your coffee with milk or cream that the carbohydrate level starts to increase. 

Coffee is made by brewing ground roasted coffee beans with hot water. Coffee is grown all over the world with 2 varieties being the most common. These are Arabic and Robusta. The coffee seeds or beans are picked, sorted, dried and then roasted. The manufacturer develops the flavour of the finished coffee by roasting the dried beans for different periods of time to develop specific flavour characteristics. Other than its unique flavour, coffee also contains the stimulant Caffeine which occurs naturally in the coffee bean.  Decaffeinated coffee is coffee that has had the caffeine removed from the green bean before processing either using water, CO2 or a chemical solvent before its dried and roasted. There is still a small amount of caffeine present in decaffeinated coffee.

Coffee is available in a number of forms for making beverages including whole beans, ground coffee, granules, powders, freeze dried, pods, syrups, and coffee bags. They come in a range of different levels of roasting, with or without additional flavours. Depending on the product being made, food and beverage manufacturers will use coffee pastes, powders, instant coffee, coffee flavours, coffee extracts or concentrates in their products. These may or may not contain sugar. Avoid coffee sticks and instant coffee blends with coffee and coffee whitener that just need water added. They will have a high level of carbohydrate. 

To keep your morning coffee as low as possible in Carbohydrates and if you don’t enjoy your coffee black, don’t use milk as the base. Brew your coffee with hot water almost to the top of your cup and add 2 tbsp of cream to replace the milk. A Barista made coffee can set you up for between 17-20g of Carbohydrate in one beverage depending on the serving size.  This can be your entire days worth of Carbohydrate so be careful when going out for coffee. I find the best options are ask for either a long black and bring your own cream, or asking for a long white which is a long black with a splash of milk only. 


Tea – Tea is a brewed beverage where hot water is added to tea leaves or buds taken from the Camellia sinensis plant. Tea contains caffeine that occurs naturally in the plant. Similar to coffee, this caffeine can be removed by the use of chemical solvents, carbon dioxide or water. Decaffeinated tea still has a small amount of caffeine remaining in the product.  

Herbal Infusions are teas blended with fruits, berries, seeds, flowers, bark, herbs and roots. Herbal teas are infusions of single herbs or a combination of, without the actual tea plant for example peppermint, camomile etc. The range of flavours are broad with different herbal, fruit and spice infusions available. Some of the natural ingredients used can also provide sweetening. 

There is an ever expanding range of tea products available in bags, loose leaf, ready to drink iced tea and powdered instant tea and milk blends. Best to avoid the powdered instant teas and milk tea blends such as Chai as they typically contain high sugar levels. 


For more information on all these types of beverages please see the Beverages page. 

Avoid – 

Fruit/Vegetable Juices, Fruit Drinks, Juice Nectars and Fruit Juice Concentrates – Avoid all of these as they will all be high in fructose (Fruit sugar) and will instantly throw you out of Ketosis. It’s best to avoid completely.  

Milk Based – Best to avoid all milk based beverages when in Ketosis as the starting carbohydrate level of plain milk is around 6.7g/100g. A medium coffee contains around 17g of carbohydrate and a medium milkshake from a QSR restaurant such as Hungry Jacks or McDonalds can contain 58-67g of sugar. Please see the Dairy Page for more information. 

Sports & Energy Drinks – The purpose of these drinks is to supply an energy source to the body and provide electrolytes after exercise. Leave these off your shopping list if in Ketosis. 

Frozen Slushies – A large 650ml frozen Slushie from you local 7-Eleven or Hungry Jacks can contain 45-55g of sugar. There are also diet options which provide around 0.7g of carbohydrate for the same quantity of beverage. The questions is if you want to consume artificial sweeteners, colours and ingredients. 


Copyright 2018 Food Facts for Healthy Eating