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Is Sake Keto-Friendly?

Sake on a kitchen counter

The answer to the question of whether sake is keto or not is, well, yes and no.

Sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine, offers a unique flavor that many enjoy, but it's a beverage that needs to be strictly limited on the keto diet as it is only keto in moderation.

We delve into the details of Sake’s carbohydrate content, its implications for a keto lifestyle, and how it can be moderately incorporated into a ketogenic meal plan.


  • Is Sake keto-friendly? In moderation, yes, but it needs to be strictly limited due to its carb content.
  • Sake contains 1.46 grams of net carbs per fluid ounce, which can disrupt ketosis if consumed in larger amounts.
  • Sake's high glycemic index may pose a challenge, particularly for those managing blood sugar levels.

Is Sake Keto-Friendly?

Sake, a popular Japanese rice wine, often raises questions about its compatibility with the ketogenic lifestyle. To answer succinctly, Sake can be part of a keto diet, but only in moderation.

Why is moderation key when considering Sake for a keto diet? It's all about the net carbs. A ketogenic diet restricts carb intake to maintain a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. For Sake, a serving of 1 fluid ounce (or 29.1g) contains 1.46 grams of net carbs. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting fiber and sugar alcohols from total carbs, and in the case of Sake, this figure is relatively low compared to many other alcoholic beverages.

Can You Have Sake on a Strict Keto Diet?

The short answer is yes, Sake can be incorporated into a strict keto diet, but with a few important caveats. Remember, a strict keto diet is defined as consuming fewer than 20 grams of carbs per day. Given that a single fluid ounce (29.1g) of Sake contains 1.46 grams of net carbs, the quantity of Sake consumed needs to be controlled carefully to avoid going over the daily carb limit.

Sake, therefore, might be a choice to consider for those on a keto diet, but only if they limit their consumption. For those adhering to a slightly more flexible low-carb diet, where the daily carb intake limit might extend to between 30-50 grams, moderate Sake consumption becomes slightly less problematic, but portion control again is key.

Carbs In Sake

Looking at the net carbs in Sake, it's clear that they play a significant role in considering it as part of a keto diet. Specifically, one fluid ounce (29.1g) of Sake contains 1.46 grams of net carbs. This amount is relatively low compared to many other beverages, but it's crucial to remember it counts toward the daily carbohydrate limit in a keto diet.

In terms of glycemic index, Sake has a high glycemic index of >70 [source]. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrate-containing foods based on how they affect blood glucose levels. A high index of over 70 means that Sake can rapidly raise blood sugar levels, another factor to consider for those following a ketogenic lifestyle. Foods with a lower GI digest slowly, leading to a steady rise in blood sugar levels, whereas foods with a high GI are quickly digested, causing a rapid spike.

Sake Nutrition Facts

Sake, a traditional Japanese rice wine, has a unique nutritional profile. Per 1 fl oz (29.1g), Sake contains 1.46g of net carbs, making it a low-carb beverage suitable for many dietary preferences.

With 22.8144g of water, this drink promotes hydration. The energy content is 163.251kJ, which contributes to your daily energy needs. Sake also has a protein content of 0.1455g, a small, but valuable addition to your daily protein intake.

The carbohydrate content, which is 1.455g, primarily comes from net carbs. As for minerals, Sake contains calcium (1.455mg) and iron (0.0291mg). Furthermore, the drink comprises magnesium (1.746mg) and phosphorus (1.746mg).

Sake is also a source of potassium (7.275mg), sodium (0.582mg), and zinc (0.0058mg), nutrients that contribute to your body's electrolyte balance. Trace amounts of copper (0.0026mg) and selenium (0.4074µg) are present, and these micronutrients are essential for antioxidant activity and metabolism.

Nutrient NameAmount and Unit per 1 fl oz (29.1g)
Net Carbs1.46g
Carbohydrate, by difference1.455g
Calcium, Ca1.455mg
Iron, Fe0.0291mg
Magnesium, Mg1.746mg
Phosphorus, P1.746mg
Potassium, K7.275mg
Sodium, Na0.582mg
Zinc, Zn0.0058mg
Copper, Cu0.0026mg
Selenium, Se0.4074µg
Alcohol, ethyl4.6851g
Nutritional data is sourced from the US Department of Agriculture's FoodData Central system. Please see Cast Iron Keto's editorial and research standards for more information.

Health Implications of Sake on a Keto Diet

The incorporation of Sake into a keto diet comes with several health implications. The main challenge revolves around its carbohydrate content. While 1.46 grams of net carbs per fluid ounce is not particularly high, it can contribute to the daily carb limit quickly if Sake is consumed in larger amounts. This could potentially disrupt ketosis, the metabolic state that the keto diet aims to achieve for optimal fat burning.

Furthermore, despite its moderate carb content, Sake has a high glycemic index of over 70. This means it can raise blood sugar levels quickly. For individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes, this could pose a problem, as managing blood glucose levels is crucial for these conditions.

On the other hand, it's worth noting that Sake is low in sugar and apt for the keto diet. Sake also contains small amounts of several minerals, like calcium, magnesium, and potassium. While the amounts are not significant enough to significantly impact daily nutrient needs, it's a point worth mentioning.

Incorporating Sake Into Your Keto Meal Plan

  1. Pairing Sake with Keto-Friendly Foods: Sake's unique flavor profile pairs well with many keto-friendly foods. Enjoying Sake with protein-based dishes like grilled fish or chicken can balance out the carb content of the Sake.
  2. Savoring Sake in Small Amounts: Given Sake's carb content, moderation is key. Consider savoring small amounts of Sake as part of a special meal. The key is to enjoy the Sake slowly, savoring its distinct flavors.
  3. Keto Recipes with Sake: Sake can also be used as an ingredient in keto-friendly recipes. Consider using Sake in marinades for meats or in sauces for low-carb stir-fries. Remember, as with drinking Sake, using it in recipes should be done with consideration of its carb content.
  4. Portion Control and Carb Counting: Keep track of the amount of Sake consumed and count those carbs as part of the daily total. Using tools to monitor carb intake can help ensure that enjoying Sake does not disrupt ketosis.

Keto-Compatible Alternatives for Sake

  1. Dry White and Red Wines: Dry wines tend to have a lower carb content compared to Sake. They also pair well with many keto-friendly foods, similar to Sake.
  2. Light Beers: While not all beers are considered keto-friendly, light beers, in moderation, can be a lower-carb alternative to Sake.
  3. Spirits: Clear spirits such as vodka, gin, and tequila are virtually carb-free, making them a suitable alternative for those on a strict keto diet. However, remember to avoid sugary mixers.
  4. Non-Alcoholic Alternatives: If you are looking for something to sip on that isn't alcoholic, consider beverages like green tea or fruit-infused water. These drinks are keto-friendly and can be enjoyable alternatives.

Concluding Thoughts on Sake and Keto

When it comes to Sake and the keto diet, the underlying message is one of careful consideration and control. The moderate carb content of Sake, at 1.46 grams per fluid ounce, can quickly add up, challenging the maintenance of ketosis if not monitored. Furthermore, Sake's high glycemic index is another point of caution, especially for those managing blood sugar levels.

While Sake can be enjoyed in moderation on a more flexible low-carb diet, those adhering strictly to keto would do well to view Sake as an occasional indulgence rather than a regular feature. Exploring keto-compatible alternatives, like dry wines, light beers, or even non-alcoholic options like green tea, can provide enjoyable substitutes.

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Cast Iron Keto's Editorial and Research Standards

Certain rare or exotic food items may not have nutritional profiles in the FoodData Central database. If an exact match is not found in the FoodData Central database, then, the Cast Iron Keto team utilizes a three-prong approach to provide readers with the closest relevant nutritional data, where possible.

First, in the event that nutritional profiles for a rare or exotic food item is not available in the FoodData Central database, we investigate alternative names for that particular food item and use that data, when possible. Second, in cases where no alternate names exist, Cast Iron Keto will use nutritional data for a close relative or similar food item. Finally, if no close relatives or similar items exist, we refrain from publishing nutrient data tables.

When making dietary or health decisions based on FoodData Central's data, we suggest readers consult with a nutritionist or other health experts, particularly if the food in question has a significant role in your diet or if you are using the food item to treat any health disorder(s).

Furthermore, it is important to note that even if a close relative or similar item is used to approximate the nutritional data, different food items can have varying levels of nutrients due to factors such as soil quality, farming practices, and regional differences.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Not all Sake variants are the same, and some may contain higher carb content than others. Always check the nutritional information before consumption.

Consuming Sake in high quantities may disrupt ketosis due to its carbohydrate content. It's best to enjoy Sake in moderation and monitor your carb intake.

Yes, there are several alternatives to Sake for those following a keto diet. Dry white and red wines, light beers, and clear spirits like vodka, gin, and tequila are lower carb options. Non-alcoholic alternatives like green tea or fruit-infused water are also keto-compatible.