Keto diets have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve health. The keto diet emphasizes eating foods that are high in fat and protein but very low in carbohydrates in order to achieve ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy instead of carbs. Many people find sticking to a strict keto diet challenging, especially when it comes to giving up sweets and sweetened beverages. If you follow the keto diet, you may be wondering if you can still enjoy a refreshing slushy drink from Sonic without kicking yourself out of ketosis. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at Sonic’s sugar free slush options and whether they can be part of a keto-friendly lifestyle.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It typically limits carbs to 50 grams or less per day. The goal of the keto diet is to put your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When your body is in ketosis it becomes very efficient at burning fat for energy instead of carbs. Ketosis can promote rapid weight loss and has been associated with other potential health benefits such as lower blood sugar levels.
Foods to eat on keto include:
- Natural fats like butter and olive oil
- Full-fat dairy
Foods to avoid include:
- Starchy vegetables like potatoes
- Most fruits
- Anything highly processed
Achieving and maintaining ketosis requires strict carb-limiting, so many sweet treats are off the menu. Let’s take a look at Sonic’s popular frozen slush drinks and see if any can fit into a keto diet.
Sonic’s Sugar Free Slush Options
Sonic Drive-In is beloved for its endless drink combinations and unique frozen slushies. Fortunately for keto dieters, Sonic offers a few sugar-free slush flavors that may potentially fit into a ketogenic eating plan.
Their current sugar-free slush offerings include:
- Diet Cherry Limeade Slush
- Diet Ocean Water Slush
- Diet Blue Coconut Slush
- Diet Peach Slush
These slushies are sweetened with either aspartame or sucralose rather than sugar. Using artificial sweeteners allows Sonic to create no-sugar versions of their classic sweet slush flavors. So are they low-carb enough for keto?
The Potential Drawbacks of Artificial Sweeteners on Keto
While artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose do not contain calories or carbs, there is some debate regarding their use in ketogenic diets:
- Some artificial sweeteners may still produce an insulin response, which could make achieving ketosis more difficult.
- For some people, consuming artificially sweetened foods triggers cravings for carb-heavy foods and makes sticking to keto more challenging.
- Certain sweeteners like maltitol or sorbitol can have a laxative effect when consumed in large amounts.
Whether diet sodas and artificially sweetened products knocked you out of ketosis or slowed down your weight loss depends on the individual. Some keto dieters are able to incorporate them without issue. Others choose to avoid them altogether just to be safe. Always listen to your body and cut them out if you suspect they are stalling your keto progress.
Ingredients in Sonic’s Sugar Free Slushes
To get a better idea of how keto-friendly Sonic’s sugar free slush options are, we need to take a closer look at the ingredients:
Diet Cherry Limeade Slush
Ingredients: Water, Ice, Cherry Flavoring, Limeade Flavoring, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Aspartame, Potassium Benzoate, Red 40.
With no actual fruit juice and minimal ingredients, the carb content should be low. The aspartame may be mildly concerning for keto. Overall this looks like a potentially keto-friendly slush option.
Diet Ocean Water Slush
Ingredients: Water, Ice, Citric Acid, Blue Coconut Type Flavoring, Lime Flavoring, Sodium Citrate, Sucralose, Potassium Sorbate, Yellow 5, Blue 1.
Again, the short ingredient list is reassuring. This sugar-free slush gets its sweetness from sucralose instead of aspartame. There’s likely very little impact on blood sugar or ketosis.
Diet Blue Coconut Slush
Ingredients: Water, Ice, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Blue Coconut Type Flavoring, Modified Food Starch, Sucralose, Potassium Sorbate, Polyethylene Glycol, Yellow 5, Blue 1.
Here we see an additive called modified food starch, which may contribute a small amount of carbs. Overall the carb content remains low, but othis slushy may be slightly higher in carbs compared to the first two.
Diet Peach Slush
Ingredients: Water, Ice, Peach Puree Concentrate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sucralose, Potassium Sorbate, Yellow 5, Yellow 6.
Unlike the first three, this slushie contains peach puree concentrate rather than just flavoring. A small amount of naturally occurring sugar from the fruit may raise the carb count slightly. But with sucralose as the main sweetener, the carb impact is probably still low.
Exact Nutrition Facts
Unfortunately Sonic does not provide complete nutrition information for their products. Without seeing an exact carb count per serving, we can’t say for certain whether these sugar free slushies fit into a keto diet.
However, people who follow a keto diet generally aim to stay below 50g net carbs per day. Most keto experts recommend keeping net carbs below 20-30g per day for best results. Dietitians estimate that a 12-16 oz serving of a typical fast food diet soda would contain 2-5g net carbs at most.
Given the citrusy, fruit-juice free ingredients of most Sonic sugar free slushies, the carb content is likely comparable to diet soda. A 12-16 oz slush would likely contain no more than 5g net carbs. This would allow them to reasonably fit into a ketogenic diet as an occasional treat. However, it’s impossible to know for sure without complete nutrition facts from Sonic.
Options to Make Them “More Keto”
If you want to maximize the keto-friendliness of Sonic slushies, you can request them made a certain way:
- No added syrups. Skip extra syrup pumps like Cherry, Lime, Strawberry, etc which add sugars and carbs.
- Slim size. Opt for the smallest size available to limit carbs.
- Add a shot of fat. Request heavy cream or coconut milk to turn it into a “fat bomb” drink.
Some Sonic locations may also let you add a pump of sugar free vanilla or other keto-approved flavorings.
The Best Keto Slush Choices at Sonic
Based on the ingredient lists, these seem to be the best sugar free Sonic slush flavors for a ketogenic diet:
|Sugar Free Slush Flavor
|Diet Cherry Limeade
|Diet Ocean Water
|Diet Blue Coconut
Diet Ocean Water appears to be the top keto choice due to its minimal ingredients. Diet Cherry Limeade also looks solid since it is sweetened with aspartame instead of sucralose. Diet Blue Coconut may be slightly higher in carbs so is ranked lowest, but likely remains low-carb enough for keto diets.
The Bottom Line
Sonic’s sugar free slushes appear to be suitable options for an occasional keto-friendly treat. Although the exact carb counts are unknown, the citrusy, diet flavors likely contain no more than 5g net carbs per serving. This allows them to potentially fit into a keto eating plan when consumed in moderation. As always, it is best to listen to your own body’s response. Limit or avoid them if you find they trigger cravings or knock you out of ketosis.
Opt for smaller sizes, skip added syrups, and pair them with fat to make Sonic slushies as keto-friendly as possible. Diet Ocean Water and Diet Cherry Limeade look like the best low carb choices on the menu. While not perfectly keto, an occasional small sugar free slush from Sonic can help satisfy sweet cravings on a low carb diet.