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Dieting can be tough - and the keto diet is no exception. Having to cut out your favourite snacks, meals, and beverages can be hard - but thankfully, wine isn’t completely off the table.
The key to drinking wine on the keto diet is knowing which wines are keto-friendly, and which wines to avoid.
The keto diet is all about lowering your carb intake, which can be difficult with wine as labels can be confusing.
Some wines can have a lot more carbs than other wines - but how do you know which wines to pick off the shelves, and which to avoid?
Keep reading to learn more about drinking wine on a keto diet.
Wine has carbs due to what occurs in the fermentation process. Vintners will ferment the naturally occurring sugars in the grapes with yeast, creating the key ingredient, alcohol.
Grapes naturally have high sugar content, and most of it gets consumed by the yeasts. However, there will often be sugar leftover that hasn’t been fermented.
This is called residual sugar - it’s the reason there are carbs in wine.
Little yeasts (saccharomyces cerevisiae) consume the naturally occurring sugars in the grapes to produce the alcohol in the wine.
You’ll find that wines that have less residual sugar from the fermentation process will have fewer carbs per glass, which is great if you’re doing the keto diet.
However, some commercial manufacturers will add sugar and sweeteners to enhance the flavours, so this is something you should look out for on the labels of your favourite wines.
Adding extra sugar during the fermentation process is called chaptalization, and it’s not legal to do so in some areas.
Winemakers may sometimes stop the yeast from consuming the sugar, to make for a sweeter taste and a more likeable wine.
The more sugar leftover, the sweeter the wine. If you’re looking for low carb wines suitable for the keto diet, then you’re best off avoiding the sugary commercial wines you’ll find on offer in Tesco or Morrisons.
The good news is that most wine producers will refrain from adding extra sugar, as it can interfere with the natural flavours, textures, and aromas of the wine, and it can be overpowering.
Vintners (winemakers) will measure residual sugar by grams per litre (g/l). Sweet wines generally have 45 g/l or more, and dry wines have less than 45 g/l.
The grams of sugar per litre of wine will very rarely drop below 1 g/l - not all sugar can be consumed by the little yeasts, and there’ll almost always be a small amount of residual sugar.
The keto diet requires you to consume no more than 50 carbs per day, which can be difficult to reach - especially when you don’t know which wines are best for the keto diet.
A standard glass of red wine can cost you around 85 calories and between 2 and 5 carbs, and a full bottle can cost you around 15 carbs depending on the brand.
A small glass of wine every now and then won’t have much impact on your health but can take up some of your valuable daily carb allowance on keto.
The good news is that there are low-carb wine options available - you just have to know what to look out for.
Wine is generally a better choice when it comes to cutting the carbs, but some wines can still have a higher amount than others.
Choosing a low carb wine instead of a super sweet and sugary wine means you can enjoy it guilt-free, and won’t have to sacrifice your lunch - so keep reading to learn more about which wines are best for the keto diet.
A glass of dry wine can contain around .5 grams of sugar which can amount to 2 grams of carbs.
Dry wine is perfect if you’re on the keto diet and still want a tipple of wine - 2g of carbs is a really low figure in comparison to the 43 grams you might find in a pina colada or the 17 you’ll find in a single pint of beer.
Dry white wine is super dry and crisp as it contains less sugar and carb remains from the fermentation process.
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry, crisp and refreshing white wine that typically has around 2 carbs per glass, which won’t take up much of your 50 carb allowance.
Another low-carb white wine option is Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio is a likeable wine with a refreshing citrus flavour - so you may be surprised to know it usually only contains 3 carbs per serving.
Other sparkling whites tend to have a lower carb content which is great if that’s your preference. Champagne, Prosecco and Cava only contain 2 or 3 carbs per glass.
When you’re shopping for a bottle of sparkling wine, be sure to look for the words ‘brut’, ‘brut nature’, and ‘extra brut’.
‘Brut’ means unsweetened and dry in French, so you know it’s going to be a keto-friendly bottle.
Although dry white wines are the best option if you’re on keto, there are still options if you prefer red wine.
Lighter bodied reds are a great choice if you’re on keto - wines such as Pinot Noir or Shiraz contain between 2 and 3 carbs a glass.
You know what wines to look out for when you’re shopping for low-carb wines, so now it’s time to find out what to avoid.
One of the worst wines for carbs is fortified wine. Fortified wine has more alcohol than most other wines.
Wines that have more alcohol are fermented with less yeast, which results in a higher amount of residual sugar - and more carbs.
Dryer, richer wines tend to contain more sugar and carbs. Dessert wines can be really tasty and a great pairing with many desserts, but they’re no good if you’re trying to lower your carb intake.
Port, Sherry, and Medeira can cost you up to 20 carbs a glass (almost half of your recommended carb allowance on Keto!), so it’s best to steer clear and stick to dryer wines.
Late harvest wine is a term to avoid when you’re shopping for low-carb wines. The reason why is in the name - late harvest.
The longer the grapes spend on the vine, the sweeter the grape - which results in more sugar and ultimately, more carbs.
Some late harvest wines have more than 20 carbs per glass, which is a lot if you’re sticking to 50 carbs per day.
Another wine to avoid is anything that looks like it has added flavours and sugar.
Commercial wines designed for non-wine drinkers or ‘alcopop’ type wines contain a higher amount of sugar, calories, and carbs.
Eiswein (ice wine) also tends to have more carbs. They’re made from pressing frozen grapes and has a sweet, sugary taste - which tastes great but is unfortunately high in carbs.