Just because you’re cutting carbs doesn’t mean you have to stop pulling corks. There are many wines that, in moderation, can be enjoyed without disrupting ketosis. If you put in as much thoughtfulness into your drinking as you do your keto diet, you’ll be able to enjoy many of the wines you loved pre-keto. You might not need to give up that glass after dinner after all!
What is keto?
Alcohol is synonymous with lavish living. For those of us on a low-carb diet, enjoying wines may seem like a lost cause. The ketogenic diet (or “keto”) is incredibly popular these days. It spurs the body’s production of ketones, allowing your body to convert fat reserves into energy. This production of ketones and resulting fat burning is called ketosis, where the diet gets its name. Keto diets, when done properly, help the body burn fat rapidly, as well as bolsters energy and focus.
The keto diet requires very low carb intake (around 20-50 grams per day). Ketogenic diets layer-on foods rich in fats and protein, such as oils, butter, seafood, eggs, cheese, and terranean veggies. Keto drops breads and sweets, and, as you’ve probably guessed, makes enjoying drinks a bit problematic. Throw in a reduced tolerance during ketosis, and you may be tempted to cut alcohol from your diet completely.
Alcohol reacts interestingly with a sustained ketogenic diet. In ketosis, the liver will metabolize alcohol much quicker, giving you an almost immediate buzz and lowering the one-to-many mark.
Copious amounts of alcohol will stunt the fat-burning process of ketosis, because the liver works overtime to rid the body of alcohol, so burning fat takes the back burner. But let’s face it; if you’re drinking that much alcohol, you have bigger concerns than maintaining your keto diet.
Intermittent fasting is an even faster way to push your body into ketosis. As the name implies, this ketosis-generating technique requires 12, 14, 16 hour periods without ingesting anything but water. This forces the body to burn glycogen quickly and move on to burning fat.
So what’s the buzz on booze?
Most liquors are considered keto-friendly. Due to its high sugar content, many wines are at odds with ketosis. But fear not! There are plenty of low-carb wines out there ready to be enjoyed.
Red wines (5 oz. Serving)
- Cabernet Sauvignon (120 calories, 3.8 carbs)
- Pinot Noir (121 calories, 3.4 carbs)
- Malbec (122 calories, 3.8 carbs)
- Merlot (120 calories, 3.7 carbs)
- Shiraz/Syrah (122 calories, 3.8 carbs)
- Sangiovese (129 calories, 3.9 carbs)
White wines (5 oz. serving)
- Pinot Grigio (122 calories, 3.2 carbs)
- Sauvignon Blanc (122 calories, 2.7 carbs)
- Chardonnay (118 calories, 3.7 carbs)
- Riesling (118 calories, 5.5 carbs)
- Champagne (96 calories, 1.5 carbs)
Wines to avoid (unfortunately)
Occasionally, we all have to make the ultimate sacrifice. Keto-minded wine lovers have to make several of them, including the following delicious (but sugary) wines:
- Zinfandel (132 calories, 4.2 carbs per 5 oz.)
- Moscato (127 calories, 11.4 carbs)
- Sangria (150 calories, 18 carbs)
- Port/Sherry (94 calories, 7.2 carbs per 2 oz. glass)
- Dessert wines
So how much wine can I have?
If you’re on the keto diet, it’s great news that you can drink wines. However, temperance is the name of the game when it comes to the keto diet. Ketosis is generally initiated at a sustained carb intake of 20-50 grams. The average keto meal has 3-10 carbs, so you’ll be consuming about 9-30 carbs from your meals each day (not considering snacks). If you’re carb goals are on the low side of the keto diet, that means you have about 10 extra carbs you can spare (approximately two glasses of wine). If you’re on the high end, you’ve probably had about 30 grams of carbs from your food, meaning you have more wiggle room for healthy snacking and sipping. Be sure to count your net carbs to determine how much wine you can drink without breaking ketosis!
You’ve made the jump, and decided to go keto. You’re a little more hopeful now that you know wine isn’t completely off the table. So what keto-friendly wine and food pairings are out there? These recipes and paired wines will blow your mind without tanking your carb count. Bon apetit!
Just because you’re ditching carbs doesn’t mean you have to throw the baby out with the bath water. Alternative flour and cauliflower crusts allow you to savor authentic taste and texture of a gourmet keto pizza!
- Cheese pizza: Shiraz
- Pepperoni pizza: Sangiovese
- Sausage pizza: Shiraz
- Alfredo/white pizza: Pinot Noir or Chardonnay
Your keto-friendly wine options allow you to enjoy traditional pairings, like this prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with Sauvignon Blanc. Drink Riesling or Pinot Noir with keto seafood, and Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir with keto chicken.
Keto uses plenty of cauliflower and cabbage. These naturally have quite the strong flavor profile, and can make it difficult to find a complimentary wine pairing. If your next dish is particularly laden with cauliflower or cabbage, try pairing it with the following keto-friendly wines:
- Raw cabbage (salads, etc.): Sauvignon Blanc
- Sauerkraut: Shiraz
- Baked cabbage: Malbec
- Roasted cauliflower: Riesling
- Pan sauteed or baked: Savignon Blanc
Cauliflower pizza crust is paired happily with Pinot Grigio or Sangiovese.