Does the Ketogenic Diet Reduce Cravings for Alcohol?


Well-known member
May 24, 2021
Ketogenic diet reduces alcohol withdrawal symptoms in humans and alcohol intake in rodents

“We provide clinical and preclinical evidence for beneficial effects of KD on managing alcohol withdrawal and on reducing alcohol drinking.”

Interesting study from the National Institutes of Health at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in collaboration with some other esteemed institutions. You often hear about how easy it is to get intoxicated when in ketosis and sometimes how much worse hangovers can be while in ketosis. I know in my personal experience hangovers do seem to be worse when I am in ketosis. On the bright side though, it doesn’t take as much alcohol to achieve the same desired effect of imbibing, but on the other hand, any resulting hangovers do seem to be greater. I like the occasional drink, but have always totally cut alcohol out of my diet when I needed to achieve some fat loss.

One thing I had never really considered though was what affect the ketogenic diet might be having on my urge to drink alcohol at all. I had actually noticed before while on the ketogenic diet that I did not have as much of a desire to drink alcohol when I was in ketosis, but I thought it was more about wanting to avoid the potential of the enhanced hangovers that sometimes followed. This NIH study appears to show there is more to it than that. It seems once again the ability of beta hydroxybutyrate to act as an alternate source of energy (ketones vs. glucose) in the brain might come to the rescue in an additional brain energy metabolism deficit scenario when withdrawing from alcohol consumption. Similar brain energy deficits have been shown to be potentially rescued in Alzheimer’s Disease.

The paper also mentions that the reduction of neuroinflammation may be a contributing factor in the results observed considering the proven NRPL3 Inflammasome inhibiting effects of beta hydroxybutyrate and the fact that a primary biomarker of neuroinflammation was observed to be lowered in the ketogenic diet group. Not to mention it has been shown in the past that the ketogenic diet and/or exogenous ketones may help in alleviating symptoms in anxiety disorders. I have to think the increase of the GABA:Glutamate ratio in the brain while on the ketogenic diet would be another beneficial aspect while withdrawing from alcohol.

The sample sizes were small and part of the study was done using an animal model (rats vs humans), but these results beg further research. I am only a n=1, but have read other similar anecdotes to mine recently. During these stressful and psychologically trying times of Covid and the significant resulting increase in alcohol consumption that came with it, it’s good to know there may be another drug free strategy found in the ketogenic diet to help mitigate the myriad of mental troubles that came with the pandemic. Cheers to a healthier future in the post-Covid world! #keto4life
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