Does the Keto Diet Make Hangovers Worse?
By Devin Bohbrink
Updated on January 06, 2023

Does the Keto Diet Make Hangovers Worse?

There are many benefits to the keto diet for weight loss. Some people are scared of the keto hangover. Before jumping into a popular diet, it’s important to do your research and make sure that it’s right for you. 

The ketogenic diet involves depriving your body of carbohydrates for weight loss. Once your body reaches a state of ketosis, you need to maintain it to see progress. Many who have been on this diet have said that it makes their hangovers worse. While there’s little research to back these claims, there are potential reasons why this is happening. Before you go full-blown keto, let’s talk about whether it makes hangovers worse or not.                                                                                                                          

What is the Keto Diet? 

Before we dive into a keto hangover, we need to understand what the keto diet is. Simply put, the ketogenic diet is a low carb diet. The idea is that instead of your body relying on the sugar that comes from carbohydrates for energy, it relies on a different type of fuel to energize you. 

That energy comes from ketone bodies, which is an energy source that the liver produces. Ketone bodies are water soluble sources of fuel that the body utilizes when glucose isn’t available. They come from stored fat. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the liver isn’t sitting around all day producing ketone bodies. The point of the keto diet is to encourage your body to produce more by limiting other energy sources. Essentially, you have to deprive yourself of carbs to reach a state of ketosis. The diet helps you maintain that state so your body continues to produce ketone bodies. 

The keto diet is typically high fat and low carb. You can have leafy greens and fruit in small portions, along with high fat proteins. You’ll be saying goodbye to bread, pasta and other carbs. 

Keto Hangover Vs. Keto Flu

If you’re familiar with the keto diet, you probably know all about the keto flu. About a week into your body entering ketosis, you may start to experience flu-like symptoms. It’s important to remember that the keto flu is NOT a hangover. The symptoms may include:

  • Brain fog 
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Irritability 
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • Headaches
  • Constipation

Do those sound familiar? They’re pretty similar to the symptoms you deal with when you’re hungover. So, if you’re a drinker starting keto it can be easy to mix the two up. There’s no research to back up the keto flu, but many who have been on this diet have experienced it. 

Keto flu symptoms will pass as your body acclimates to the diet. It’s understandable that you may go through changes since you’re depriving your body of nutrients it’s used to receiving. If the symptoms don’t clear up, always consult with your medical provider. 

A keto hangover, on the other hand, is a different beast. 

How Does Keto Affect a Hangover?

There are several causes to a hangover, and the keto diet can make some of them worse. Let’s dive deeper into this. 

The Liver

As you consume alcohol, your liver has to make decisions on what to metabolize first. Your body identifies alcohol as a toxin, so that’s what it tries to get rid of first. This can cause problems when you’re on the keto diet. You’re giving your liver too many jobs. 

As you start drinking, your body shifts from burning fat to burning the alcohol. Ketones can still be created from alcohol, but not as many as when it’s burning the fat you’re eating. It may also slow down the entire weight loss process. 

Alcohol Absorption

Another thing to consider is that when you eat carbs, your body won’t absorb alcohol as fast. On keto, you’re not eating carbs. So, alcohol is going to get into your bloodstream quickly. That means, you’ll get drunk off of way less than you usually would. If you don’t account for this,  you’ll probably end up blacked out with a killer hangover the next day. 

Alcohol and Keto are Both Diuretics

Also keep in mind that a keto diet is a diuretic. So is alcohol. That means your body isn’t retaining as much fluid, so you’ll become dehydrated easily. Combining keto with alcohol without hydrating properly can result in a horrific hangover the next day. 

So, when you’re drinking on the keto diet, your liver is going to be overworked more than usual and your tolerance will be lower. Extreme dehydration is also possible. You’ll have to watch how many drinks you have. The good news is that keto may make you a cheap date. 

Will Your Hangover Be Worse on Keto? 

The answer to this question is that we’re not totally sure. There’s very little research to back up the claims that keto makes hangovers worse. Research has been done to see if the keto diet could be a treatment for alcohol use disorder, as they may reduce alcohol withdrawal symptoms. More research needs to be done to solidify these claims. 

You may experience a worse hangover on keto because your alcohol tolerance is lower. Take this into consideration if you plan to drink alcohol on keto. You won’t be able to drink as much, or as fast due to how quickly it will absorb into your bloodstream. 

Can I Cure a Keto Hangover?

No, you can’t cure a hangover on keto or otherwise. The only way to completely avoid a hangover is to not drink at all. Anytime you consume alcohol, you’re putting yourself at risk of getting a hangover. 

What you can do on a keto diet is set new limits for yourself. If you’re going out, be aware that you won’t be able to drink as much as you normally would. Can you usually have 5-6 beers a night? Cut that number in half, or even more if you’re on keto to be safe. 

While you should always be hydrating, when you’re on keto you should be having even more water. Combining alcohol and keto means you’ll be absorbing even less fluid. 

Before you go out, make sure to eat a meal high in protein. This should be easy since the keto diet focuses on high fat proteins as your main source of food. 

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, a hangover is a hangover. You can have a bad hangover whether you’re on keto or not. Be sure to take precautions if you’re on keto to take care of your body. If you have concerns, consult with your doctor before trying alcohol while on a new diet. Be safe, and have fun! 


Devin Bohbrink

I'm a content writer from Chicago that loves her cocktails. Let's talk all things hangover, and how we can get rid of those nasty symptoms after a night out.

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