In this guide, we'll share the best wines and other alcoholic beverages for the keto diet as well as ones to avoid to answer the question of "Can You Drink Wine on Keto?"
"Can You Drink Wine on Keto?" is one of the most common questions we receive to our inbox each week. We've avoided answering this question as we're not medical professionals, and also, we don't personally drink that much. However, as our team grows beyond the original Founders of Cast Iron Keto, we're dedicated to bringing you comprehensive guides that answer all your burning questions about keto, the most popular low-carb diet.
- First, what is a Keto Diet?
- Ketosis and Alcohol
- 🍷 So, Can You Drink Wine on Keto?
- Which wine has the least amount of carbs?
- Keto-friendly drink mixers
- Wines to avoid on a keto diet - the worst alcoholic drinks for the keto lifestyle
- But What is Residual Sugar?
- Moderation is Key
- How Much Should One Drink on Keto?
- Bottom Line
- Zero Carb Alcohol Options
- Alcoholic beverages under 5 grams of net carbs per serving
Many people on keto wish they could have a glass of wine (either white wine, red wine, rosè wine, or sparkling wine) in celebration, but they're afraid they'll undo all their hard work. If you are on a keto diet and are curious as to whether or not you may consume wine, keep reading - the answer may shock you!
First, what is a Keto Diet?
The keto diet is one that emphasizes a low-carb, high-fat diet with moderate protein intake to promote weight loss, better health, and increased energy. The assumption is that maintaining ketosis requires adhering to a strict daily carbohydrate limit, usually 5-10% of your daily calories from carbohydrate sources.
A metabolic reaction in which fat is burned in order to produce energy is called ketosis, and it is achieved when carbohydrate consumption is kept low enough. Ketone molecules, a source of energy, are produced by your liver from fat that has been ingested and stored. Keeping your brain supplied with glucose and ketones is excellent news, but it may be tough to let go of some of your favorite foods and drinks.
Ketosis and Alcohol
Here's the deal: alcohol won't throw you completely out of the state of ketosis, but it will make progress slower. When you take your time sipping a glass of fine wine, your liver stops what it's doing to deal with the alcohol as swiftly as it can. What this implies is that the body's needs for other nutrients, such as fat, are temporarily put on hold. So, no, a glass of wine won't throw you completely out of ketosis (or undo your progress), but it will delay it for a little while.
🍷 So, Can You Drink Wine on Keto?
The short answer is, yes, you can drink wine on a keto diet. However, not all wines (or alcoholic beverages) are created equal in the eyes of the diet with some having a very high carbohydrate content that's just too high for keto dieters.
Beer and a few types of wine are off-limits on the keto diet since they are heavy in carbs. If you want to consume alcohol but are also following the ketogenic diet, choose drinks with fewer carbohydrates and stay away from sugary cocktails.
While not wine, there are no net grams of carbs in alcoholic beverages that contain 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) or more. So, good news for you folks that like pure spirits like hard liquor tequila or whiskey. As long as you don't mix those spirits with common mixers that contain a lot of added sugars, you're golden. Mix beverages with tonic instead of soda for an additional net carbohydrate save.
The great news is that many wines contain very little or no carbs! The lowest carb content may be found in dry wines and sparkling wines labeled "brut," "extra brut," or "brut nature."
Which wine has the least amount of carbs?
Keto-friendly wines should have a low alcohol content (at least 13.5% ABV) and minimal to no residual sugar. In this case, you're looking at a dry wine containing 108 calories per serving (all from alcohol) and zero carbs.
If you're practicing a keto diet, you may choose from a wide variety of low-carb alcoholic beverages. As talked about above, pure whiskey, gin, tequila, rum, and vodka, for example, have zero carbohydrates. They may be consumed themselves as are or mixed with low-carb mixers to enhance the taste.
Listed below are some of our favorite keto-friendly wines.
- Cabernet sauvignon
- Italian pinot grigio
- Pinot noir
- Pinot blanc
- Sauvignon blanc
Keto-friendly drink mixers
Equally as important as the alcohol itself are keto-friendly mixers. Be wary of adding popular mixers like fruit juice, soda, sweets, or energy drinks to your drink; doing so will rapidly transform it from low-carb or no-carb to super-high-carb. No thank you.
Replace those common mixers with low-carb mixers like sugar-free tonic water, seltzer, diet soda - not the type made with artificial sweeteners though as they are terrible for blood sugar regulation, opt for healthier alternatives like stevia-sweetened beverages).
Low-carb mixers like these are a great way to improve the flavor of your drink without adding too many calories or carbs.
Wines to avoid on a keto diet - the worst alcoholic drinks for the keto lifestyle
If you're looking for advice on which wines to avoid, keep in mind that sweeter varieties are generally not recommended.
Some alcoholic drinks contain more than 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving. That's a lot of empty calories and too much sugar and carb intake for a keto diet. Cocktails and mixed drinks, for instance, often include high-carb, sugary components including soda, sweeteners, juice, and syrups. Regular beer, however, is made with starch and may include as much as 12 grams of carbohydrates per can. Not their fault, however, they contain a lot of residual sugar and hence are not keto-friendly. These types of wine are:
Apart from wine, wine coolers and ciders all have way too many grams of sugar to be keto friendly.
But What is Residual Sugar?
Here's a little refresher on winemaking to help you out with that question.
Grapes are sweet before they undergo the fermentation process. Microorganisms like Saccharomyces cerevisiae eat grape sugar and turn it into alcohol. However, the winemaker will sometimes prevent the yeast from consuming all of the sugar.
It turns out that leaving a little sweetness behind in a dry wine makes it more palatable. The amount of residual sugar varies with wines containing anything from zero to thirty grams of residual sugar per liter.
Moderation is Key
Even if there are many alcohol options that are low in carbs and suitable for the ketogenic diet, you shouldn't make alcohol use a regular part of your life. Sobriety is best, for your mind and for your health.
However, even the low-carb types of alcohol still provide numerous calories but very few beneficial elements like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Heavy drinking is associated with slow weight loss and may also raise the risk of nutritional deficits over time.
In fact, heavy drinking (defined as more than two drinks per day) was related to a higher risk of considerable weight gain in a study of 49,324 women over eight years. Alcohol may prevent calories from being burned and instead cause the body to store them as fat and consuming an excessive amount of alcohol may raise one's vulnerability to a great number of illnesses.
How Much Should One Drink on Keto?
Few, if any, short-term, comprehensive ketogenic diets advocate for consuming any alcohol at all.
Still, the moderate approach is probably the best choice if you're trying to make lasting changes to your diet and lifestyle:
- Alcohol consumption in men should be capped at two drinks per day.
- Drinking more than one alcoholic beverage each day is not recommended for women.
That's a far cry from the bottle of wine most folks would have on a "fun weekend" ad a lot of people have high alcohol tolerance. When you look at it from this perspective, if one glass isn't enough to "let loose" why even drink it at all?
Alcohol is strange in that our bodies process its calories in a totally different way than other foods. Alcohol dehydrogenase enzymes play a key role in this process. Our liver, stomach, and kidneys use enzymes to assist digest the calories in alcoholic beverages chemically. Therefore, it is still unsettled whether or not the calories from alcoholic beverages are burned in the same manner as those from other foods.
Unlike males, women have fewer enzymes in their bodies capable of processing alcohol, which is why they can't drink as much. It's unfortunate, but reality.
Research suggests that abstaining from alcohol might help the body adapt to the ketogenic diet. However, the ketogenic diet doesn't have to leave you craving alcohol anymore, since there are several alcohol options that are low in carbs.
Alcoholic beverages like dry wines and pure liquor have zero or very few carbohydrates per serving and combine well with low-carb mixers like seltzer, diet sodas, or sugar-free tonic water.
Alcohol use, however, should be moderated regardless of dietary habits to prevent negative health outcomes and there are no real health benefits to drinking. The occasional drink though is unlikely to do long-term damage in an otherwise healthy person.
Zero Carb Alcohol Options
Pure Liquor options like whiskey, gin, tequila, rum, bourbon, moonshine, and vodka are all a good choice as the sugar content is nonexistent.
Alcoholic beverages under 5 grams of net carbs per serving
White wines - dry white wines like the ones listed above typically have less than 3 grams of net carbs per serving. The drier the better so your best bet is a dry champagne or sparkling wine.
Red wines - as long as they are dry, again reference the list above, they are most likely less than 4g of net carbs per 5 oz pour. Avoid sweet dessert wines or ice wine and choose a dry red such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Tempranillo.
Light beer - a lot of light beer is under 5g or even 3g of net carbs per serving. Green's Trailblazer, Michelob Ultra, Carona Premier, Budweiser Select, Miller Lite, Lagunitas DayTime, and Blue Moon LightSky are all great options.
Hard Seltzers - most spiked seltzers contain 2 grams of carbs or less per serving.