Wait, Can You Drink Wine On the Keto Diet?
Here’s what you need to know.
Following the keto diet? Read this before you pour that glass of wine.
What Constitutes a Keto-Friendly Food or Drink?
The ketogenic diet (often shortened to just “keto”) is low in carbs, moderate in protein, and high in fat.
Most people who follow the diet limit their carb consumption to between 20 and 50 grams per day. This dramatic carb reduction forces your body into ketosis, or makes your body rely on fats for its main energy instead of glucose. Ultimately, the diet has been proven to be an effective weight loss method (though experts aren’t sure if it’s a sustainable lifestyle).
Foods that are considered “keto-friendly” are high in protein or fat and low in carbs. Examples of keto-friendly foods are eggs, avocados, poultry, fatty fish, full-fat dairy, and nuts.
Is Wine Keto-Friendly?
It depends on how strict you are. Wine has much fewer carbs than beer, so it could easily be considered more keto-friendly than other alcoholic beverages. But avoiding alcohol, no matter what kind, makes it easier to stay within the macronutrient framework that’s required for keto.
An average, 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 3.5 to 4 grams of carbs. When you consider that the ketogenic diet limits you to somewhere between 20 and 50 grams per day, you’ll probably have to give up other, more nutrient-packed, foods and drinks to fit it into your diet.
Tip: Dry wines tend to have fewer carbs than sweet wines. The most keto-friendly wine out there is champagne, with about 1 gram of carbs per serving.
The Sugar Problem
Carbs aren’t the only issue, however: The ketogenic diet also limits sugars.
Most wines you buy at the store, no matter how dry, actually contain some residual sugar.
During the winemaking process, yeast converts the sugar from the grapes to alcohol. Winemakers sometimes stop the yeast from eating all that sugar, though, because a little residual sweetness makes the finished product taste better.
Wines that are marketed as dry often have more sugar than you may think.
Wines to Drink and Avoid on the Keto Diet
Bad news: Wines that are higher in alcohol tend to also be higher in sugar. This means you should probably avoid shiraz, zinfandel, and grenache if you’re trying to maintain a ketogenic lifestyle.
You should also stay away from extremely sweet wines (like riesling and moscato) and fortified wines (like port and sherry).
So what can you drink? Sparkling wines labeled “brut” often have the lowest amounts of residual sugar. If you prefer red, reach for a merlot or cabernet sauvignon.
More bad news: Cheap bottles are more likely to have more residual sugar. You may have to spend a bit more than usual if you want to drink a truly "keto-friendly" wine.