It’s okay to relax by having a cold glass of wine after a tiring day filled with business calls, tasks, and domestic duties. Are you on a ketogenic or low-carb meal plan and wondering how your favorite glass of red wine works with it?
Despite this, numerous types of wine include significant quantities of sugar (which will be discussed later), and sugars are classified as carbohydrates. The good news is that you don’t have to entirely cut out wine from your diet to reach your health goals.
In other words, it is important to be careful with what you are doing and make choices that match up with what you want to achieve. Consider replacing your typical drink with something that is healthier. There exist a variety of sugars in different amounts, so those following a keto diet can indulged in little quantities of it and still stay within their allotted number of carbohydrates.
Only when you drink excessive amounts of wine does sugar become an issue. Consuming more than what is recommended as a single serving could cause your body to produce too much insulin, resulting in a drop in blood sugar levels and feelings of lightheadedness, according to Frances Largeman-Roth, author of Eating in Color and registered dietitian nutritionist. It’s not a suitable choice for anyone, especially those who follow a low-carb or keto diet.
There are a lot of wines being sold nowadays that contain either a small amount or no sugar at all, which makes drinking an extra glass (or even more) a much less worrying experience. This is your go-to resource for uncovering the highest quality wines with the least sugar content, so you can still enjoy your pinot.
What Is Keto-Friendly Wine?
So, what makes a wine keto or low-carb, anyway? Have you encountered the notion that it is best to consume “dry” wines while on a ketogenic diet? If so, you may be wondering what dry wine is. How can you verify that your wine will not push you out of the keto diet?
What Makes a Wine “Dry”?
What does it mean when a wine is referred to as “dry”? Can both red and white wines be dry?
A wine is referred to as “dry” when it has less than 10 grams of sugar per container. Without nutritional information displayed on the bottle or the menu, how is it possible to distinguish which wines have less sugar?
Initially, one must comprehend that the sugar present in the wine serves a precise purpose. During the fermentation process, the yeasts consume the sugar from the grapes to transform it into ethanol (or alcohol).
This means that the ultimate outcome contains less sugar than it did when it was originally a mixture of grapes. But that doesn’t mean the wine is sugar-free.
Wines that are sweet, rather than dry, go through an abbreviated fermentation process. The yeast is unable to consume all of the sugar, resulting in an excess of the sweetener remaining. The remaining sugar gives this drink its sweet and fruity taste, leading to a higher carbohydrate count per glass or bottle.
Why Does Wine Have Sugar in the First Place?
The essential element of note when it comes to wine is that, though it requires sugar for its production, it is only a minor element in the final drink.
When it is the right time to pick the grapes, the liquid from them should be somewhere between 21 and 25 brix, according to Wine With Brian’s founder, Brian Azimov, who is an expert in winemaking.
When yeast is blended with grape juice, the sugar in the liquid is altered into alcohol via the process of fermentation, according to Azimov.
End the fermentation process ahead of schedule and you will end up with a wine that contains greater amounts of sugar and lower amounts of alcohol. Leaving the fermentation process to run for a longer period of time will result in wine with a lower amount of sugar and a higher percentage of alcohol.
In regions where the environment isn’t favorable for grapes to ripen, winemakers particularly from France (which generally is cooler compared to, for instance, California) use the process of chaptalization as an alternative. In this practice, grape juice that has not fermented is enriched with either beet or cane sugar as described by Azimov.
No reason to worry: This sugar serves to start the fermentation process. The sugar contained in the grapes transforms into alcohol during the process of fermentation.
The type of wine that is made is ultimately up to the winemaker, however, usually different kinds of wine contain different levels of sugar, as observed by Azimov.
Can You Drink Wine on the Keto Diet?
For individuals on the keto diet, the issue of how much wine can be consumed turns into whether it is allowable to drink wine in any way.
It may be possible to consume wine while following a ketogenic diet, but Paul Kriegler, an assistant program manager at Life Time, says that even having a small amount (smaller than a 6oz glass) can be enough to throw you out of ketosis.
Although people may have different body reactions to the alcohol and sugar in wines, Kriegler states from his own experience that people have to decide between adhering to a strict ketogenic lifestyle or drinking wine, it is rare for them to do both at the same time. But it’s not impossible.
If you want to choose a wine that is compatible with your keto diet, you should remember two things, he says.
First, you want quality over quantity. Search for a nicely crafted, dry wine that you will appreciate sipping one 4 to 6-ounce pour from, and you will be content – more likely not the cheapest wines – instead of choosing based on quantity. Next, search for a wine that is not sweet since those typically contain a lesser amount of sugar.
You can look for wines that advertise themselves as “low-sugar” and make sure to check the nutrition facts to see if it’s right for your individual needs.
Types of Wine Have the Lowest Amount of Sugar
Dry wines typically have the lowest sugar content, according Largeman-Roth, coming in at under 10 grams of sugar per liter, or around one percent sweetness. Wines with a semi-sweet or off-dry taste usually have more than three percent of unfermented sugar left in them.
Here are the lowest-sugar wines in the game:
- Dry reds, which often have under one gram of sugar per five-ounce pour: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah/Shiraz
- Dry whites, which have between one and 1.5 grams of sugar per five ounces: Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Viognier
- Low-sugar sparkling wines, which have about two grams of sugar per five ounces: Brut and Extra Brut
Types of Wine Have the Most Sugar
It is not unexpected that, since it has a residual sugar content of seven to nine percent, dessert wines have the highest concentration of sugar compared to other wines, reports Largeman-Roth.
To provide background information, a five-ounce serving of Chardonnay only has 1 gram of sugar, while five ounces of Port has 12.
The following wines tend to have the most sugar:
- Whites like Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chenin Blanc
- Reds like Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Grenache
- Sweet sparkling wines, which range from 17 to 50 grams per liter: Sec, Demi-Sec, and Doux
- Dessert wines, which pack around eight grams per five ounces: Port, Sauternes, and Tokaji
Low-Sugar Wines To Check Out
Head over to your local beverage shop soon and take home one of these drinks with a low sugar content that has been recommended by a wine expert. (Want sugar-free vino delivered straight to you?
FitVine Cabernet Sauvignon
Fit Vine’s Cab Sauv has a tart and smooth taste and only 0.06 grams of sugar per glass, making it an outstanding choice. Largeman-Roth clarifies that some winemakers create wines which have less sugar, primarily for individuals looking to maintain or improve their wellbeing. After a prolonged fermentation period, the amount of sugar per portion is reduced to less than a gram.
Cabernet Sauvignon has relatively few carbohydrates compared to other wines, with 3.8 grams per 5 ounces, which makes it a great option for those on a ketogenic eating plan.
Pedroncelli Zinfandel Mother Clone 2018
This Zinfandel characterized by the presence of spice and with a low sugar content is an exception that will impress even the most particular of people. Azimov explains that Pedroncelli’s Mother Clone Zin has an intense flavor and the grapes are sourced from vines that are over a century old, though it is very affordable.
Despite its pleasantly fresh flavor, sauvignon blanc has the lowest amount of carbohydrates and sugars, making it an optimal choice of wine for a dry keto diet. A single glass of sauvignon blanc has a mere 3 grams of carbohydrates.
While both sauvignon blanc and chardonnay are thought to be dry wines, the former is known to have a light body while the latter has a heavy body.
A glass of chardonnay will cost you approximately 3.2 grams of carbohydrates, a bit more than a sauvignon blanc, but the difference is not too great.
A glass of pinot grigio and cabernet sauvignon will each cost you about the same amount of carbohydrates. If you’re leaning more towards a white wine, then pinot grigio and pinot blanc are both nutritious choices.
A Pinot blanc, that looks similar to a Pinot grigio, holds 3.8 grams of carbohydrates per portion.
You might have seen that there is not a lot of disparity in the quantity of carbohydrates between these highest seven low-carb wines. The carbohydrater content of the glasses on this list are between 3 and 3.8 grams.
When you look at the other wines in the market, you will recognize a stark contrast to these seven.
Rieslings generally possess a pale golden hue, a moderate body, and tart tastes with a relatively lower alcohol level. For these, each glass has 5.5 grams of carbs, which is a bit more, but having one glass won’t affect your ketosis state.
Rose has been one of the most popular wines of the last ten years due to its summery taste and sharp, clear notes. Drinking a glass of Rose wine is a good option if you’re limiting your carbs since there is only 5.8 grams of carbs per glass. However, if you’re adhering to a ketogenic diet, you will want to proceed with caution.
Pinot noir, which tops the list of keto wines, is only slightly more carby than chardonnay since a single serving of it contains 3.4 grams of carbohydrates.
Merlot and cabernet sauvignon are the most desired red wines in the U.S., with Merlot having a small edge of 3.7 grams of carbohydrates every serving, while cabernet sits just behind at 3.8.
The typical alcohol level of Syrah, a full-bodied, dry red variety of wine, is somewhat higher than other types. The full-bodied taste makes this wine a great accompaniment for a hearty dish, or can be enjoyed by itself. You can consume two glasses of beverage with 4 carbs each if you’re on a low-carb diet, but be wary if you’re complying with the keto diet.
Zinfandels that are in a red hue tend to be hearty and robust-tasting, making them the ideal accompaniment to heavier entrees such as red meat. You can drink a glass of it with your meal and still remain in ketosis, as it contains only 4.2 grams of carbohydrates. Beware if you desire to indulge in more than one!
Bruts are recognized for containing very little sugar, usually being quite dry and tart, with only a minor suggestion of sweetness. This wine has a low-alcohol content, with only 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per serving, making it the perfect low-carb selection for any special occasion.
Champagne is comparable to Brut in the fact that it is a light-bodied white variety with a slight amount of acidity, however it is likely to have a bit more of a fruity taste and be somewhat sweeter. Every glass is roughly 3.8 grams of carbs, so watch out how much you drink if you want to maintain ketosis.
Prosecco is a type of white wine that is light in body, with a pleasant level of acidity and a delightful spritz of carbonation. Most types of prosecco have around 3.8 grams of carbohydrates per glass, which would normally be acceptable for individuals following a low-carb eating plan. However, some versions of prosecco have a slightly sweeter taste and so may have slightly more carbs.
Sparkling White Wine
White wines that sparkle will have a range of flavors, though many are light, fruity, and are great for sipping before a meal or enjoyed with light snacks. Be mindful of the carb content in this drink (4g per glass) if you’re aiming to remain in ketosis.
Wines to Avoid on the Ketogenic Diet
It is advisable to avoid drinking wine if you are following a keto diet.
- Port wine: 9 grams of carbs
- Sherry wine: 9 grams of carbs
- Red sangria: 13.8 grams of carbs per glass, plus 10 grams of sugar
- White Zinfandel: 5.8 grams of carbs
- Moscato: 7.8 grams of carbs
- White Sangria: 14 grams of carbs per glass, plus 9.5 grams of sugar
- Pink Zinfandel
- Some Roses
- Dessert wines
- Wine coolers
- Frozen wine pops
Having an alcoholic beverage such as wine coolers or icy wine pops is the same as gulping down alcoholic sugar bombs. Drinking these beverages will make you go over your daily carbohydrate limit.
An example of this would be that a eleven ounce can of wine coolers contains thirty-four grams of carbohydrates and thirty-three grams of sugar. Frozen rose-flavored alcoholic drinks have a high carbohydrate content of 35 grams and a high sugar count of 31 grams.