Beer vs. Wine: Which is Better to Drink on Keto?

Imge of Beer vs. Wine: Which is Better to Drink on Keto?



Alcoholic beverages are made by introducing microorganisms into a carbohydrate substrate medium to induce production of alcohol. As the keto diet’s key focus is to decrease carbohydrate intake as much as possible, can alcohol be consumed on a keto-friendly diet? Are some beverages better than others?

This article will explore exactly that, in this case focusing on beer and wine. We will discuss if either of these are suitable and, if so, which is the better, carb-curbing choice. 


Beer vs. wine: nutrition facts comparison

Nutrition factors

(per 100 ml serving)


(average, regular beer)


(table wine, red)

Energy 43 kcal 85 kcal
Fat 0 g 0 g
Protein 0.5 g 0.1 g
Net carbs 3.6 g 2.6 g
Total carbs 3.6 g 2.6 g
Fiber 0 g 0 g

The table above shows us that at 100 ml of either beverage, the net carb content is pretty low. However, as anyone who enjoys their drink a little will tell you, 100 ml is just not gonna cut it.

Please look below at the next table which compares the two again, but this time with expected serving size.

Nutrition factors


(average, regular beer,

1 can, 12 oz, 356 ml)


(table wine, red,

5 oz, 147 ml)

Energy 153 kcal 125 kcal
Fat 0 g 0 g
Protein 1.6 g 0.1 g
Net carbs 12.6 g 3.8 g
Total carbs 12.6 g 3.8 g
Fiber 0 g 0 g


This second table provides us a much clearer picture of what the net carb cost will be in a realistic setting. 

In terms of nutrients, beer does have a small amount of protein, while wine does not. Comparing these two serving sizes, both contain similar amounts of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. There are a few notable exceptions, beer contains some B vitamins and selenium, which are absent in wine. Conversely, wine does contain significantly more potassium and antioxidants.   


Differences between beer and wine

  • Cost - The variety available for both products is tremendous. Prices for both can range from cheap and very affordable to small fortunes for specialty products. However, as a general rule, wine is always more expensive than beer.
  • Alcohol content - Here again the spectrum is simply huge, but on average a beer is standardized to 5% alcohol whereas wine hovers at around 12% alcohol by volume. Keep in mind that the serving size is different. One can or bottle of beer (12 oz) and one glass of wine (5 oz) contain roughly the same amount of alcohol, although this will always depend on the specific type you are drinking.
  • Ingredients -  the main ingredients in beer are water, a carbohydrate substrate such as wheat or barley, yeast microorganisms, and hops. Wine contains just grapes and yeast microorganisms used to ferment the carbohydrate units into alcohol. It is also common to add other additives or preservatives such as sulphites.
  • Health - It is well known that drinking too much can have devastating effects on our bodies. We will focus on the long-term damaging effects of alcohol and not the dangers associated with the drunken state of one who is inebriated.
    • Alcohol directly affects the brain and central nervous system and can bring on complications with memory as well acting as a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
    • It also wreaks havoc with our liver, damaging liver cells and inducing fatty build up in the liver. This can lead to serious liver damage, liver failure and even death.
    • These effects are usually seen with those who have developed a dependency on drinking alcohol, but it’s important to remember that alcohol is addictive and one must always be on guard on consumption frequency.
    • Wines, specifically red wine, are purported to contain a group of phytochemicals of which the one termed resveratrol has captured the media’s attention. It seems to exhibit cardioprotective mechanisms. Beers also contain phytochemicals, though not identical varieties and in lesser amounts.  


When to drink these beverages

Table wines blend wonderfully with a proper sit-down meal; with lighter red wines pairing well with poultry and bolder, more intense red wines are more attuned to meats. White wine, on the other hand, goes better with seafood. 

Of course you can also have a glass of wine on its own, or with a piece of cheese.

While it depends on what beer you choose, this drink can pair with fish, cheese, seafood, meat and meat pies. It is also often enjoyed on its own.


Which one is better for the keto diet?

After a careful review of the nutritional facts, the advice we would give is to reach for a glass of wine rather than knocking back a can of brew. Remember that in reality, you need to judge by serving size as that is what we are most likely to consume. That being the case, we have shown how one serving of beer has nearly 4 times the amount of carbs than its royal red cousin. Most other nutritional variables are similar.


The bottom line

In conclusion, if faced with the choice between beer and wine, we would advise to stick with the wine. It has lower net carbs and can help you keep within your carb limits. However, some types are not keto-friendly, especially fortified or sweet dessert varieties, so make sure you know which wines are lower in carbs.

It’s important to note that alcohol consumption should be monitored very carefully. Stick to the government guidelines of maximum one drink per day for women or two for men. This will lower your risk of developing dependence on alcohol and all the negative effects that come with it.