Is red wine OK on keto?

Quick Answer

Yes, red wine can be part of a keto diet in moderation. Red wine contains about 3-4 grams of carbs per 5oz glass. On keto, it’s recommended to limit carb intake to 20-50 grams per day. One glass of red wine can fit into a keto diet, but should be counted towards your daily carb limit. Dry red wines tend to be lowest in carbs.

What is keto?

The ketogenic diet, commonly called keto, is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. The goal of keto is to reach ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body switches from using glycogen (carbs) for energy to using fat and ketones. This change in metabolism can lead to rapid weight loss and other health benefits.

On keto, carb intake is usually restricted to less than 50 grams per day. Some variations set the limit to 20-30 grams of net carbs (total carbs minus fiber). To reach ketosis, most people need to keep carb intake under 50 grams. Fiber does not need to be counted towards the daily total.

Foods to eat on keto:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables low in carbs
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy oils

Foods to avoid:

  • Grains
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Sugar
  • Legumes
  • Fruit
  • Alcohol

Following a keto diet leads to reduced appetite, quick weight loss, and improvements in metabolic health markers. However, the high amount of fat can be hard on the liver and difficult to sustain long-term for some people.

Consult a doctor before starting keto, especially if you have a medical condition or take medication.

Is wine keto-friendly?

Most wines are not strictly keto-friendly, meaning they contain carbs. However, some wines can fit into a keto diet in moderation.

Dry red wines tend to be lowest in carbs compared to white or sweet wines. Here are the carb counts in 5oz (150ml) of some popular red wines:

Red Wine Grams of Carbs
Pinot Noir 3.4
Merlot 3.7
Cabernet 3.8
Shiraz 3.8
Malbec 3.9

As you can see, having a glass of dry red wine like Pinot Noir, Cabernet, or Merlot can fit into a keto diet when consumed in moderation. The carbs from one 5oz glass occupy less than 10% of a typical 50g daily allotment.

However, more than one glass may put you over the limit. White wines and sweet red wines have slightly more carbs, so be careful with those. Always count the carbs from wine towards your daily limit.

Here are the carb counts in 5oz (150ml) of some other wines:

Wine Grams of Carbs
Champagne 5.5
Riesling 4.5
Chardonnay 3.7
Sweet red 5.5

Benefits of red wine on keto

Drinking moderate amounts of dry red wine can provide some benefits on a keto diet:


Red wine contains antioxidants like resveratrol that fight inflammation and cellular damage. Chronic inflammation is linked to diseases like diabetes and heart disease that keto helps improve. The antioxidants in wine may enhance some of keto’s anti-inflammatory benefits.

Increase HDL cholesterol

Studies show that consuming dry red wine may increase levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Raising HDL can promote heart health, an important benefit for keto dieters who sometimes see increased LDL cholesterol.

Blood sugar control

Compounds in red wine, including resveratrol and quercetin, may help improve insulin sensitivity. This leads to better blood sugar control, a key goal of the keto diet for diabetics or pre-diabetics.

Ketone production

Some research indicates that the polyphenols in red wine may help induce ketosis by increasing ketone production. More ketones may amplify keto’s weight loss and brain-boosting effects.


Resveratrol has been shown to extend lifespan and slow aging in animal studies by mimicking calorie restriction. A glass of red wine provides the resveratrol equivalent of consuming a pound of grapes.

So while red wine does contain carbs and alcohol, it may provide unique benefits for those following a keto diet when consumed in moderation. Most experts recommend limiting intake to 1 glass per day.

Risks and downsides of red wine on keto

While red wine can be keto-friendly in moderation, there are some downsides to consider:

Slowed fat burning

When alcohol is present, your body will burn that for energy before fat. So after drinking wine, your body temporarily stops burning fat, pausing ketosis. Heavy drinking can prevent you from reaching ketosis.

Higher calorie intake

Wine is relatively high in calories, with around 120-130 calories per 5oz glass. Those calories can add up quickly, making it harder to maintain a calorie deficit for weight loss.

Carb intake

The carbs in wine can quickly take up a large chunk of your daily carb limit. More than one glass will likely max out your carbs for the day.

Addiction risk

Many people find wine habit-forming. While an occasional glass may be harmless, some can develop unhealthy addiction behaviors. It’s best to avoid drinking every day.


Alcohol is a common headache trigger. Red wine headaches can affect wine drinkers due to compounds like histamines and sulfites. Head pain is a sign to avoid or limit wine.

Liver issues

Heavy and frequent wine drinking can increase the risk of liver damage and disease over time. Keto dieters may be more prone to liver problems due to prolonged ketosis.


Wine should be avoided when taking certain medications. Alcohol enhances the effects of many drugs in the body, increasing side effects.

If you have diabetes, liver conditions, migraines, or addiction tendencies, red wine likely poses more risks than benefits. Always talk to your doctor before adding wine to a keto diet.

Tips for drinking red wine on keto

If you want to drink red wine on keto, here are some tips to make it work:

– Stick to dry wines like Pinot Noir and Cabernet which have fewer carbs. Avoid sweet varieties.

– Limit wine to 1 glass per day max to minimize carbs and calories.

– Drink water alongside wine to stay hydrated and prevent headaches.

– Have wine with a meal to slow absorption and spread out the carbs.

– Choose wines aged in oak barrels which are lower in histamines.

– Check labels and count carbs – don’t guess. Go for wines with under 4g carbs per glass.

– Avoid wine if you are sensitive to sulfites or histamines.

– Stay sober – being in ketosis makes the effects of alcohol stronger.

– Avoid wine if taking medications that interact with alcohol.

– Monitor blood sugar closely and test ketones to ensure wine does not kick you out of ketosis.

– Mix it up – substitute wine with low-carb cocktails or non-alcoholic wine occasionally.

Drinking in moderation may allow you to incorporate red wine into a keto lifestyle. But proceed with caution – wine can easily sabotage ketosis if you aren’t careful.

Keto-friendly red wine alternatives

If regular red wine doesn’t work for you on keto, consider these low-carb options instead:

Dry Red Wine Varietals

Certain dry red wine types tend to be lower in sugar and carbs. Examples are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Sangiovese. Always check the carb count though, since it varies by brand.

Low-Carb Wines

Some winemakers now produce low-carb, keto-friendly wines. These wines have only 2-3g net carbs per glass. Brands like FitVine and Dry Farm Wines offer Cabernet, Pinot Noir and blends made specifically for low-carb diets.

Wine Spritzers

Mixing half wine and half sparkling water gives you the flavor of wine with fewer carbs. Bubbly spritzers are refreshing low-calorie options for keto.

Cauliflower Wine

Yes, you can now make wine from cauliflower! Brands like Rhys Vineyards in California are releasing special keto wines fermented from cauliflower. The carbs are almost zero.

De-alcoholized Wine

Non-alcoholic wine removes the alcohol while maintaining the antioxidant benefits. The sugar and carbs stay the same though, so find a dry variety under 4g carbs.

Other Low-Carb Drinks

Instead of wine, have whiskey, tequila, vodka, gin, or rum mixed with sugar-free mixers. Or try sparkling waters with a twist like lime or cucumber mint.

Keto-friendly red wine recipes

These recipes let you incorporate red wine into a keto diet:

Red Wine Sauce

Make a quick pan sauce with 1/4 cup each butter, red wine, and chicken or beef broth. Cook until thickened. Use as a topping for keto meat and veggies.

Red Wine Sangria

Mix together 1 cup dry red wine, 1/4 cup brandy, 1/4 cup orange liqueur, 2 cups diet lemon-lime soda and orange slices.

Red Wine Vinaigrette

Whisk 3 parts olive oil with 1 part red wine vinegar and seasonings. Toss with salad greens or use as a marinade.

Red Wine Chia Pudding

Combine 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1 cup almond milk, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/4 cup red wine, 1 tsp vanilla. Refrigerate overnight; garnish with berries.

Steak with Red Wine Reduction

Pan-fry a steak, then add 1/4 cup red wine and 1 tbsp butter to the pan. Cook until thickened into a sauce.

The Bottom Line

Dry red wine like Pinot Noir or Cabernet can fit into a keto diet in moderation, meaning one 5oz glass per day or less. Count the carbs and be aware that alcohol pauses ketosis temporarily. Check with your doctor before adding wine, and avoid wine if you have health conditions or medication interactions. Overall, an occasional glass of dry red wine is possible on keto, but should be enjoyed sensibly and in small amounts.

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