The keto diet is becoming more and more popular. There are increasing claims that it is beneficial to human health. The diet is based on an almost complete exclusion of carbs while ramping up the intake of fat to the maximum.
In light of this, are you allowed to drink wine when you’re on the keto diet? A glass of red wine may contain more than 3g of carbs. Naturally, the question of keto wines arises as well. While it is fine for a keto dieter to drink wine, caution and moderation are strongly advised.
Read on to find out which wines have the fewest carbs and how to pair them with your food.
The ketogenic diet is made up of very low carbs and very high fat. The goal of the diet is to put your body in a metabolic state called ketosis through a severe reduction of carb intake. This essentially forces your body to switch from using carbs to using fats as the main fuel. When there aren’t any available carbs, your body will get the cue and your liver will start to convert fat to ketones, which are readily usable by your cells to generate the energy you need.
There are several types of keto diet. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most popular variations.
- SKD or Standard ketogenic diet. This variety is super-high in fats and super-low in carbs. Protein is somewhere in the middle. The typical ratio for a standard keto diet is 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% fat.
- TKD or targeted ketogenic diet. TKD is very similar to the standard keto diet with one exception – you are allowed to eat more carbs before and during your workouts. This keto diet is often used by people in training.
- CKD or cyclical ketogenic diet. The cyclical variety is made up of two phases – ketogenic and high-carb – and you repeat them in a cyclical fashion. The most standard types of CKD include five keto days, followed by two carb days.
- High Protein Ketogenic diet. This variety limits carbs to 5% and raises the percentage of protein. The typical high protein keto diet is 35% protein and 60% fat.
The keto diet has numerous health benefits. It can help people with type 2 diabetes lose excess weight and control insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. The keto diet is often recommended for those with Alzheimer’s, heart disease, epilepsy, and several other conditions and diseases.
Keto and Alcohol
When you’re on a keto diet, your body tends to process alcohol faster than usual. This happens because the glycogen stores in your liver are depleted. Your liver is converting fats to ketones for energy, but once alcohol enters your body, it will jump straight to processing it and allow the effects to hit you harder.
However, drinks with high alcohol volumes are considered keto alcohol as most of them don’t contain any measurable carbs. Vodka, gin, brandy, scotch, whiskey, tequila, and cognac are all good.
Keto and Wine
Does wine have carbs? Generally, yes. However, wine is considered a keto-friendly drink, as many varieties have very low carb content. Extra brut, brut, very dry, and dry varieties are your best options if you’re on a ketogenic diet.
When choosing the right wine to pair with your keto meal, there are several things to take into consideration. Aside from the carb content, you should also consider the alcoholic content. It is recommended to go with light and medium-bodied wines because your body will metabolize alcohol faster than when you’re not on a keto diet.
If you have a targeted calorie intake per day, you should also consider the wine’s calories per serving. Finally, you can match your food and wine as if you’re on a regular diet.
Best Wines to Drink While on the Keto Diet
Here is a list of Keto friendly wine varietals. As a general rule, look for wines produced in colder climates. Grapes grown in colder climates have less time to develop sugars while they are on the vine. This generally leads to drier (less sweet) wines with lower alcohol content. This is a general rule and there are exceptions. Many German and Austrian wines are fermented for a shorter period so that more sugar is left in the final product.
Sauvignon Blanc is a great option for keto dieters who love white wines. It is among the driest wines around and has a crisp and bold taste. Its carb content is around 3 grams per serving. Thanks to the notes of grass, melon, and apple, many of the popular Sauvignons go really well with herbed fish and meals.
A premier Greek variety, Xinomavro is there for lovers of red wine. It is known for its balance of sweetness and acidity. The alcohol content is a lowish 12%. It has around 99 calories and 0.28 grams of carbs per serving. Lamb, veal stew, and game birds are among the best food matches.
Champagne is another viable option for those on a keto diet. The bubbly white wine has a low carbohydrate content of around 2 grams per serving. The alcohol content is usually within the recommended 13.5% and the brut and extra brut varieties have very low sugar content. You can mix it with grilled chicken breasts, poached eggs, and smoked trout. Here are some of the best champagne brands.
Dry Riesling wines are low in sugar and generally go well with the keto diet. A dry Riesling usually has 12.5% ABV, which is good for white wine. Some of the best examples contain around 100 calories, 7g/L RS, and 1g of carbs per serving, ideal for people on the ketogenic diet. It goes well with white fish.
Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular white wines out there. It is acidic and refreshing. Most variants also feature notes of honeysuckle, green apple, and lime. A standard 5-ounce glass of Pino Grigio has around 3 grams of carbs and is best paired with seafood and creamy sauces.
Chardonnay comes in two main varieties – oaked and unoaked. The former is characteristic of warmer regions, while the latter is predominantly made in the cooler regions. The alcohol levels tend to be medium to medium-high and the carb content is very low. Chardonnay is best combined with pork loin, trout, lobster, and chicken breast.
Keto dieters have a trusty ally in merlot. This smooth-as-silk red wine boasts medium to medium-high alcohol content and hints of red berries. On average, the carb content is around 3.7 grams per standard glass. Merlot wines go well with steak, roast chicken, and roasted veggies.
Cabernet Sauvignon is also considered a keto wine. It is a delicious red wine on the medium to medium-heavy side. Some of the primary flavors include black cherry, baking spices, cedar, black currant, and graphite. Peppery sauces and grilled meats are the best pairings.
Here are our favorite Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California.
Generally, wine is a keto-friendly drink. However, you can drink it in moderation and with caution. This is mainly because your body will process alcohol faster than usual and might give you that warm, tipsy feeling sooner than you expect it.
If you decide to have a glass at dinner, go for a variety that has the lowest carb and sugar contents. Lighter wines are recommended. Finally, proper pairing is a must even for keto wines.