I salute those who choose to cut alcohol from their lives completely. This is because I know I don’t have that kind of restraint! Whether it be enjoying happy hours, toasting a friend’s achievement, or just changing a crappy day to a good one, for me, alcohol is a part of it all.
This is why when pondering over whether to begin my keto diet, I first researched if I could enjoy a sip or two of my favorite drinks every now and then. Especially gin.
Is Gin Keto? Yes, it is! Phew. As gin is a distilled spirit that is naturally unsweetened, it doesn’t have any carbs in it, meeting the keto-friendly drink's criteria. However, it is important to note that certain gins in the market are infused with flavors and sugar – these may not be keto-friendly.
Keep reading to learn more about how gin fits into a keto diet.
What is Gin?
Maybe you are new to the world of alcohol (happy 21!) or are not a gin enthusiast. If so, then you might not know what gin is. Before we dive deeper into whether or not is gin keto, let’s start with a crash course on gin, shall we?
Gin is a type of distilled spirit drink created by the Dutch that is concocted from grain and later flavored through different botanicals. Those who drink it like it for its distinct pine flavor, which is derived from juniper berries – its key ingredient.
Various types of gins are available in the market, including dry and modern gins. The latter is known for not having that strong pine flavor. While it was initially a Dutch and English drink, now it is quite popular across the world and is considered a staple ingredient for martinis. And who can forget the classic combination of gin and tonic?
Overall, gin isn’t full of nutrients (not a surprise). While it may not contain any fat or protein, the pure gin also doesn’t contain any carbs, making it neither a beneficial nor a harmful addition to your diet.
The Making Process
Before we delve into how gin is made, here is a fun fact for you. The intention behind making gin initially was to create a drink that would help in cleansing the blood of those suffering from kidney ailments. Interesting, right?
In terms of the making process, gin is made out of mashing cereal grains, like barley, corn, rye, or wheat. During the distillation process, botanicals are used to give flavor to the drink. And gin cannot be called a gin if it doesn’t have juniper berries in it.
The exact recipe of the alcohol may vary from distiller to distiller as people tend to mix it up in terms of the spices, flowers, fruits, and herbs they include in the drink. For starters, some of the most common additions are cassia, almonds, coriander, and citrus peels.
Is Gin Keto Friendly?
Now that you know a little bit more about gin, let’s go back to our initial question – is gin keto? And if so, what makes it keto? You can answer this for yourself. All you need to know is what a keto diet truly is.
Keto 101: The science behind the diet
Unless you love thoroughly researching diets before embarking on them, the chances are you just adopted the keto way because you heard about its effectiveness. But what makes a keto diet effective?
Well, it is the science behind it! A keto diet works by altering the way your body produces energy. While naturally, it does so by breaking carbohydrates, a keto diet encourages people to cut down on their carb intake and instead replace it with a high-fat diet.
When you do so, your body is unable to find enough carbs to burn for energy and has to resort to breaking down what is available – fat! This breakdown of fat helps with weight loss.
All keto experts recommend that your daily calorie intake should include 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 10 percent net carbs during the diet.
Why is gin keto?
Now, while gin definitely doesn’t classify as a high-fat diet, it also adds nothing to your daily carb intake! Hence, when you drink the alcohol, you can rest assured that you won’t be adding any quantity to your already very limited allowed carb consumption.
You can think of it as having empty calories – that are neither giving you what you need (fat) nor what you don’t (carbs). This is what makes gin an appropriate drink to have during keto. All you need to ensure is that you don’t surpass your recommended daily calorie intake with it.
Gin: Nutritional Profile
If you are an avid reader of my guides, you might be expecting this section to be long. Sadly, this won’t be the case here, as gin barely has any nutrients! Nevertheless, 28 grams of alcohol has (and don’t have) the following:
- 65 calories
- 0 grams of fat, carbohydrates, protein, iron, calcium, or Vitamin D.
- 0.3 milligrams of sodium
- 0.001 milligrams of Vitamin B2
- 0.002 milligrams of Vitamin B1
- 0.6 milligrams of potassium
- 1.12 milligrams of phosphorous
Additionally, many say that because gin is made of juniper berries, it contains the antioxidants found in the fruit. These antioxidants can potentially help improve digestive health and arthritis. However, more research is required to prove these associations.
How to incorporate gin into your keto diet?
One thing is for certain – the answer to “is gin keto?” is a resounding yes. But you need to be careful about what you mix with the drink or what form of gin you are purchasing. As long as you end up with a drink that doesn’t add much to your net carbs, you are good to go.
Here are some mixers incorporating gin that are keto friendly. Beware: tonic is not among these, as tonic water is known to have a lot of added sugar!
Gin with lime juice
Lime is an excellent keto-friendly citrus fruit that is known for having low carbs. You can add a squeeze of lime juice to your gin to create the perfect cocktail. Usually, when added to gin, you only require a quarter of a lime, which would add approximately 1 gram of carb into your diet.
I know what you are thinking – does this classify as a mixer? To be honest, I am not sure since it is borderline wine.
But what I do know is that it is a low-carb drink! Dry vermouth is traditionally added to gin martinis, and while the exact carb count may differ depending on what brand of dry vermouth you add to the gin, usually, one ounce of the liquid is 1 gram of carb. And you are likely to only need half an ounce of it.
Olives and Olive Juice
If you haven’t tried the combination of gin and green olives, you are missing out! Olive juice – which is basically an infusion of sorts – adds no carbs to your diet.
Green olives, on the other hand, will add a few. For example, for every ten olives you eat, you will add 1 gram of carbs to your diet. But, because olives are also rich in fiber (0.9 grams per 10 olives), the true net carb added is only 0.1 per 10 olives.
Hence, adding olive juice and a few olives to your gin will merely enrich its flavor without boosting your carb intake.
Bonus: The Keto-Friendly Gin and Tonic
Is Tonic the only companion you want for your gin? Sadly, tonic water is full of added sugar. Hence, the traditional drink can never be keto-friendly. But you can replace the classic tonic water with a diet version to make the drink keto-friendly.
To make this keto-friendly drink, begin by either chilling your gin or adding ice to your class. Room-temperature gin just doesn’t cut it!
Then, add four ounces of diet tonic water to two ounces of pure gin. You can also choose to add diet club soda for further flavor, but keep its quantity to a maximum of one ounce. Stir it all to blend the liquids together. Add a slice of lime to it as a garnish, and serve!
To sum it up – is gin keto? It is, in its pure form. Can you add it to different mixers? Only if the items you add to it also don’t add to your net carb intake.
There might be a lot of debate about which type of alcohol is the best. And your answer may vary as per your preference. But, when you are on a keto diet, your alcohol choices might be limited, and gin would be your savior.
I am sure once you embrace it, you will love it just as much as I do! If you don’t think this drink is your cup of tea, I have researched and presented my findings about other potential keto-friendly beverages as well. Go check them out. Cheers!