Is Wine Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Who doesn't love a glass of wine after a long day of work? However, if you are starting a ketogenic diet, you might be wondering if you can indulge without it affecting your ketosis state. So, is wine keto-friendly?

In this article, we will take a closer look at this popular alcoholic drink and its implications for the ketogenic diet. We’ll start with nutrition facts, including how many calories and carbs it has. That will help us to determine if you are allowed to drink it on keto, how much, and what kinds. Plus, what can you eat along with it? Finally, other keto-friendly drink alternatives.

 

What is wine?

Wine is an alcoholic beverage you get when you ferment grape juice. You can actually use any fruit to create "wine," but the ones with this label are only those made with grapes.

Not all grapes are considered suitable for winemaking. The ones that are usually used to create this delicious beverage are usually sweeter and rounder, and they have a lot of seeds.

Depending on the type of grape, you get either red or white wine. The process to make it requires dedication and knowledge on how to make a great beverage.

Two essential terms to understand are "dry" and "sweet". The term dry refers to the feeling it leaves in your mouth. It means that it has fewer residual sugars left from the grapes. On the other hand, the term "sweet" means that it retains more sugars during the fermentation process.

 

Wine nutrition facts

The nutritional content differs for each type of wine. In this case, we have the nutritional content of table red wine.
Serving size: 1 glass (5 oz)

  • Calories: 125 kcal
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Net carbs: 3.8 g
  • Total carbs: 3.8 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0.1 g

As you can see, a glass is high in calories, but it doesn't contain a lot of carbs. So, where do those calories come from? Alcohol is a very energy-dense molecule. Carbs and protein both offer 4 kcal per gram. Alcohol, on the other hand, offers 7 kcal per gram.

One of the benefits of this drink is its high antioxidant properties. Red wine has an antioxidant called resveratrol that helps decrease inflammation in the body and has been found to benefit heart health. It's said that the one with the highest antioxidant capacity is Pinot noir.

 

JUMPSTART YOUR KETO GOALS


Are you allowed to drink wine on keto?

When it comes to drinking alcohol and staying low-carb, one of the best choices is wine. It is, in fact, lower in carbs than beer. This means that, yes, you are allowed to drink it while doing keto.

However, you need to be careful about which type you get. Dry wines have the lowest carb content, while sweet varieties have more sugar and therefore more carbohydrates.
Studies have shown that the alcohol molecule can increase the ketosis state in your body. However, you need to be careful with the other ingredients found in the beverage.

 

How many glasses of wine can you have on a keto diet?

First, it is important to know that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends abstaining from alcohol or drinking in moderation, which means 1 drink or less a day for women and 2 drinks or less a day for men. So what happens when you add keto to the equation?

For a woman in ketosis, having 1 glass of wine is fine. It will not increase your carbohydrate intake too much, as long as you pay attention to the type you’re drinking and its carb count. Since 1 glass has 3 grams of net carbs on average, this is an acceptable amount.

For men, you can usually enjoy 2 glasses per day without going over your carb limit. This stays within the guidelines of a healthy diet.

 

What kind of wine can you have on keto?

Most people wonder which wine is better for keto, red or white? The good news is that both can be keto-friendly, as long as you stick to dry wines. These have less residual sugars, which means less carbs. 

The following keto-friendly wines, whether they are red or white, usually have less than 4 g of carbs per glass.

White

  • Chardonnay
  • Pinot blanc
  • Pinot grigio
  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Dry champagne

Red

  • Pinot noir
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet
  • Syrah
  • Sangiovese

Remember that 1 glass is 5 ounces, or 150 milliliters. Many people pour too much or have more than 1 glass, which will bring up the carb count. 

Avoid fortified wines (like Port) since they have more than 14 g of carbs per glass. Also avoid dessert wines since they are very sweet and can have more than 30 g of carbs per glass.

 

BUILD YOUR KETO DIET PLAN


What can you eat with wine on keto?

Since the drink does contain carbs, I usually recommend pairing it with fats and protein. But adding vegetables is always a good option too! Here is a list of foods you can snack on the next time you are having a glass.

  • Cheeses
  • Ham, chorizo, salami, deli meats
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chicken and salad
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots

If you want to include some crackers to go along with a keto cheese platter, ensure that they are low-carb.

For those who want to add some grapes, apples, or pears, first take a minute to determine how many carbs you will use up with this meal and decrease your intake during the remainder of the day. That way, you know you are not going to surpass your limit.

 

Keto-friendly wine alternatives

Looking for other alcoholic beverage alternatives that are keto-friendly?

Here is a list of other keto-friendly alcohols for you to enjoy in moderation:

  • Whiskey
  • Brandy
  • Cognac
  • Tequila
  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Extra dry champagne
  • Hard seltzer

You need to be careful with what types of mixers you pair with any of the options above. Choose diet soda, water, ice cubes, or lemon to avoid adding sugars that could affect your ketosis process.

 

FAQ about wine on a keto diet

If you still have some questions regarding wine and the ketogenic diet, you don't have to search any longer. Here are the most frequently asked questions and answers.

Yes, you can still lose weight and have an occasional glass. However, you need to control your caloric intake to ensure that you have fewer calories than your body needs. A caloric deficit is essential when it comes to losing weight.

Those that have a lower sugar content are the ones that are safe to have on keto. Vodka, gin, tequila, brandy, and whiskey are all acceptable for a ketogenic diet.
Be careful with what you add to your drinks to avoid adding unnecessary carbs (like sugars). Also don’t forget that it is not healthy to drink more than the recommended amount of alcohol per day (1 unit/day for women and 2 units/day for men). 1 unit equals:

  • 5 fl oz wine
  • 1.5 fl oz spirits
  • 12 fl oz beer (1 bottle)

Yes, you can have sangria during keto, but you’ll need to make your own version at home. That’s because most recipes include sugar, fruit, and fruit juice, which push the carb count up too high for ketosis.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make low-carb sangria for keto. Try mixing a dry wine with sugar-free lemon soda or sparkling water, lemon juice, stevia, and berries. A splash of brandy or rum is optional.

Red dry wines like Pinot Noir, Cabernet, and Merlot are the ones that have the lowest carb intake. On average, they have less than 2 grams of carbs per glass.

Rose wine usually has around 5.8 g of net carbs per glass. Although this might not seem like a lot, it can be a significant amount for those trying to stay below 25 g of daily carbs.

A lot depends on the specific type you get, so aim for the version that is most dry and least sweet.

No, studies have shown that alcohol can even promote ketosis. The other ingredients found in the alcoholic beverage are the ones that can affect your ketosis state (the number of carbs and sugars it has).

 

Non-alcoholic ketogenic beverages