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The 10 Top Keto Friendly Cough Drops [And What To Avoid]

When I first started a ketogenic diet, I felt all the typical symptoms you may be going through right now. I felt tired, nauseous, and worst of all… for me, at least, I had the worst sore throat. 

Usually, when I get a sore throat, that's almost a sign, something even worse is just around the corner. Want to know why you may have a sore throat when first starting keto?

In any case, I didn't want to ruin the progress I made up to that point, but I also wanted some symptom relief for the time being. I was wondering are there any cough drops that are keto friendly?

You'll be happy to know that most sugar-free cough drops are keto-friendly and will not prevent or knock you out of ketosis. Some keto friendly cough drops include:

  • Cold-Eeze sugar-free
  • Dr. John's Oral Health sugar-free
  • Equate Menthol sugar-free
  • Halls Relief sugar-free

In this article, I'll go over whether you can have sugar-free cough drops on keto and which ones may kick you out of ketosis. 

I'll also list all the sugar-free cough drops that should be ok while on a ketogenic diet, including some popular brands you may be familiar with, and even how to make your own homemade keto-friendly cough drops.

Keto friendly cough drops pinterest

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Can I Have Sugar Free Cough Drops On Keto?

Most sugar-free cough drops are perfectly acceptable on keto, but you should still check the ingredients label to make sure certain ingredients aren't listed. (Honey, fruit juice, etc.)

Even though a cough drop has something sugar-related on the packaging, it may still have an ingredient with plenty of carbs. This is because sugar-related claims can be quite misleading.

When a food package claims “unsweetened” or “No added sugar” that just means it doesn't contain certain types of sugars (i.e., table sugar, fruit juice, etc.)

 You want to ensure the package says “sugar-free.” Which means it has zero sugar. However, this still means your cough drop can have up to 0.5 grams of sugar. 

Therefore, don't go wild on cough drops and pop them like candy. Assuming each cough drop had 0.5 g of carbohydrates per cough drop if you pop in 20 of them, you just had 10 grams of carbohydrates. 

Will A Cough Drop Kick Me Out Of Ketosis?

The biggest thing when it comes to being kicked out of ketosis is the number of carbohydrates you consume, generally over the day. Most people following a ketogenic diet will stick to between 20 and 50 grams of net carbs per day.

Net carbs are the number of carbs left after subtracting both fiber and/or sugar alcohols. 

If you're sticking to the cough drops that are labeled as “sugar-free,” then they shouldn't kick you out of ketosis.

That is, of course, as long as you take my advice and don't endlessly pop them in like candy.

Remember, all of them will add up, so just keep that in mind. Even though they aren't exactly a food or beverage, a carb is a carb. Make sure you count each cough drop as 0.5 grams of carbohydrates to be on the safe side.

Sugar Free Cough Drops On A Keto Diet

Below is a list of sugar-free cough drops, which should have less than 0.5 g of net carbs per drop. 

These are generally safe to take on a keto diet to relieve symptoms such as a sore throat or if you're constantly coughing. 

Read: Sore Throat On Keto? Here's Why.

Cold-Eeze is a name that many of you are probably already familiar with and have taken for a flu before. You’ll be pleased to know that the zinc based lozenges are completely keto friendly and will offer immediate relief for any symptoms that you might be experiencing.

They also contain the active ingredients; sambucas nigra, rose hips, and echinacea which all help improve overall immune function. 

Dr. John’s Oral Health Sugar Free lozenges are completely natural and sugar free. That makes them completely safe to take on the keto diet. Each single lozenge contains 8g of fiber per serving. 

The Equate Sugar Free Cough drops are a great option for anyone that’s looking for a menthol flavored lozenge. Not only is the lozenge completely sugar free, it’s also gluten free. You can eat it and gain immediate relief from your sore throat. 

Luden’s Sugar Free cherry throat drops aren’t just delicious but they’re also completely free of any sugar. They still taste great though and will ensure that you stay comfortably in ketosis while providing you relief from the keto flu. 

Another brand that you’ve probably heard of before, the Halls Sugar-free menthol are completely keto friendly. Each drop contains 5.8mg of menthol that helps pr

ovide a high level of relief for all cold symptoms. 

The Halls Defense sugar free vitamin c drops are keto friendly and also provide a decent boost to the immune system. Two drops of the Halls Defense contain 150% of the recommended daily vitamin c intake for an adult. 

Halls Breezers or as they’re now known as Halls Throat Soothing cool berry sugar free throat drops. Each sugar free drop contains 7mg of pectin to help with cough suppression. The cool berry flavor has a fantastic taste as well. 

Take one of these cough drops to receive instant relief from your sore throat. Don’t fall for the name though, the flavor might be black cherry but each drop contains menthol to help provide relief for your sore throat. 

Ricola provides a completely herbal solution to your keto flu induced sore throat. The pack contains combination of 10 herbs that are grown in the swiss mountains. You can take this for relief from the flu and in the case of an allergy as well. 

The Herbion Natural cough drops contains Malabar nut, Long Pepper, Greater galangal, and many more different herbs. These drops are completely natural which helps ensure that they’re both keto friendly and completely gluten free!

Another remedy you may want to consider is drinking some ginger tea or steep ginger in hot water.

Read: Is Ginger Keto Friendly?

Are Ricola Cough Drops Keto Friendly

Ricola Herbal Sugar-Free Cough Drops are keto friendly. 

The regular Ricola variety isn't as keto-friendly due to ingredients such as honey, starch syrup, and even sugar.

Are ricola keto friendly

Just make sure you purchase the sugar-free version to ensure you are consuming the least amount of carbohydrates possible.

Here are a few sugar-free Ricola varieties:

On the safe side, consider counting each sugar-free Ricola cough drop as 0.5g of net carbs.

Are Sugar Free Halls Keto Friendly?

Similar to Ricola, the regular Halls cough drops have more carbohydrates relative to the sugar-free versions. It's best to opt for the Halls varieties that clearly state sugar-free on the label.

Regular Halls cough drops contain such ingredients as glucose syrup and sucrose, which are pure forms of carbohydrates. 

Halls ingredient label not keto friendly

Here are a few sugar-free Halls varieties:

On the safe side, consider counting each Halls sugar-free cough drop as 0.5g of net carbs.

Homemade Keto Cough Drops

If you're into making your own home remedy for your sore throat or cough, here are some ideas you can do at home that are keto friendly.

Ginger tea or ginger water

I mentioned this earlier, while not a cough drop, ginger has a whole range of health benefits, including sore throat relief.

Homemade honey lemon cough drops with ginger

This recipe from Thank Your Body uses lemon and ginger, but it also has honey in the ingredients list. 

Instead of the honey, substitute it out for a sugar-free sweetener like Stevia or Splenda to keep it keto-friendly.

Homemade herbal throat lozenges

Want something a little more “herbal?” 

Give this recipe a try which uses ingredients like elderflowers, horehound, and slippery elm bark powder.

Again, the original recipe calls for honey, so substitute the honey for your favorite sugar-free sweetener of choice.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Keeper Of The Home 

Sugar-free sweeteners for your home made cough drops:

The Takeaway

Using a cough drop for symptom relief shouldn't be avoided simply because you're on a keto diet. 

Sugar-free alternatives are perfectly acceptable while following a ketogenic diet, but still do have a small number of carbs, though lower compared to their non-sugar-free counterpart.

On the safe side, it's best to count each cough drop as having 0.5g of net carbs per cough drop, so don't pop them endlessly like candy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cough drops raise sugar?

While cough drops that contain sugar will not be healthy for those with diabetes, the sugar-free ones are much safer and will not raise sugar levels.

Do cough drops have carbs?

Yup, while they may be sugar free and keto friendly, each cough drop definitely has a certain amount of carbs.

Are cough drops gluten free?

Cough drops are completely gluten free as no grains are involved in their production. People with gluten allergies can enjoy cough drops without worry.

How to soothe throat without cough drops?

If you don't want to take cough drops and are still looking to relieve symptoms of the keto flu, drinking a herbal tea is your best option.


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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