May 31st, 2021 | Updated on December 18th, 2021
Maintaining a healthy diet is not an easy task in our ever-increasingly busy lives. There are so many things to consider when thinking about health and fitness, but what about when it comes to wine? Is wine something that has to be given up in order to live a low-carb or keto lifestyle? Is that even possible?! As it turns out, there are plenty of low carb wines to choose from, so take a deep breath and read on to learn how you can stay under your carb limit without giving up your wine-filled weekends.
So what exactly are “carbs” and how do they get in your wine? Carbs, or carbohydrates, are macronutrients like proteins or fats. Our bodies need them (in moderation) for energy.
Sugars, starches, and fiber all fall into the carb category, and as they are broken down during digestion, they turn to glucose and are absorbed into the blood to be used as fuel for our bodies.
There is also a distinction between “complex” and “simple” carbohydrates. These categories refer to how quickly the carbs can be digested by the body. Sugars, like the carbs found in wine, are simple carbohydrates.
When thinking about the carb content of wine in particular, the key is how much sugar is present. Grapes contain natural sugars, and even after fermentation, some of those sugars remain in the wine (often referred to as “residual sugar”).
Some winemakers will also add sugar during production in order to get an even sweeter wine. So which varieties are best for the low-carb life?
Best White Wines
First on the list of carb-friendly white wines has to be Pinot Grigio. It’s a light, crisp, slightly dry wine that is actually made from red grape varieties. Because of its high acidity and low sugar content, Pinot Grigio generally has one of the lowest grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Chardonnay is a very versatile white wine. It is grown in many environments and has a vast array of flavors and styles. It is also quite dry and not at all too sweet, thus giving it a high ranking in the low-carb wine list.
Another good choice for low-carb white wines is Sauvignon Blanc. While Sav Blancs are known for their fruity notes, they are also known to contain very little residual or added sugar, making them another great low-carb option.
If dry wines aren’t quite your thing, but you’d still like a glass of low-carb white wine, a nice Riesling might be your best bet. Rieslings are a bit sweeter, but overall, they’re still quite low on the grams of carbs per serving scale.
Best Red Wines
It’s no wonder that Pinot Noir is one of the most popular red wines around the world. It’s fairly light yet bold in flavor, and miraculously it has a very low carb count as well.
Syrah, a wine with many names (such as Sirah, Shiraz, and Syrac just to name a few) is a variety known for its richness. It has many subtle, darker flavors like chocolate, tobacco, and peppercorn. Syrahs are also a relatively low-carb option.
While reds in general are not going to be the lowest in terms of carbohydrates, Cabernet Sauvignon is a fairly dry red wine, thus it fares pretty well on the low-carb scale.
Zinfandel is generally not as dark as other reds, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still quite the little package of flavor and punch. It might not be as low in carb levels as other red wines, but it’s definitely still on the low end.
Wines to Avoid
Unfortunately, not all wines are created equal when it comes to carbohydrates, so there are some varieties that you might want to avoid. Sweet wines like Moscato, dessert wines, or ice wines will all contain a lot of added sugar.
Cheaper, mass-marketed wines will likely have more residual sugar, thus more carbs, and should also be left behind (you deserve better anyway!). And finally, wines with a high alcohol content, such as Merlot, port, or sherry often tip the carb scales as well.
Whatever your reason for watching those carbs, you can be sure there are still a variety of wines out there for you to indulge in. Enjoy!