Champagne is a sparkling wine that is often enjoyed during celebrations and special occasions. But what many people don't know is that champagne isn't a keto-friendly wine. Most sparkling wines are high in sugar, which can interfere with a ketogenic diet and lead to surprise weight gain. In this blog post, we'll discuss why most sparkling wines are incompatible with a keto diet and how to find sugar-free alternatives. We'll also reveal which sparkling wines are the best for a keto diet, and which wines to avoid.
Why aren't sparkling wine and Champagne keto-friendly?
The main reason why Champagne and most sparkling wines aren't keto-friendly is that they are higher in carbs on average than still table wines. A standard serving of Brut Champagne (a 150ml glass) contains around 1.5 grams of carbs, which is about a third of a teaspoon. This may not seem like a lot, but it can quickly add up if you're drinking multiple glasses. It's especially concerning if one is on a keto diet and can only ingest 20 or so grams of net carbs a day to maintain ketosis.
Brut Champagne is on the drier side of sparkling wine, with most Prosecco (usually labelled Extra Dry) having more like 2.5 grams of sugar per glass, and sweeter sparkling wines like Moscato having significantly more, as much as 12 grams of sugar per glass (as much as most soft drinks)!
These carbs are mainly present due to "dosage" - a process where the winemakers add sugar to each bottle once the secondary fermentation (the one that makes the wine fizzy) is complete. This is done to add some body and balance to a wine that might taste a bit too acidic and austere without it.
Which sparkling wines and Champagnes are the best and worst for a keto diet?
Sparkling wines can be among the best keto-friendly drinks out there, although many sparkling wines that do contain quite a bit of sugar can be deceptive in how much sugar they contain, as their high acidity and carbonation make them seem less sweet than they actually are. This might be something you've noticed with soft drinks and hard seltzers.
Essentially, what you're looking for when on a keto diet is a sparkling wine with as little added sugar as possible which still tastes great. This can be a bit hard to find since wine doesn't have a nutrition label, so you can't be totally sure how much residual sugar remains in a bottle unless you're buying your sparkling wines from Feravina, as we've assessed each wine based on its sugar content, and all our wines are technically sugar-free, with less than 5g net carbs per litre of wine, with most, if not all, that sugar being indigestible.
However, what sparkling wine bottles often do have are certain other cues that can help you determine if the bottle you're holding is one of the keto-friendly beverages or something with lots of added sugars and therefore carbs. Here are some of the best sparkling wines to drink when on a keto diet, and what clues you can search for on labels to give you an idea of the sugar content in sparkling wine.
The best sparkling wines for a keto diet
Pet-Nat stands for pétillant naturel, which is French for "Natural Sparkling". Natural winemakers who make Pet-Nat generally don't add sugar to these wines at all. They are the product of one continuous fermentation, half of which occurs in the bottle so that the wine gets carbonated, and since the fermentation process is allowed to run its course, they are as close to being zero-sugar as possible. They also taste very natural, are full of life (sometimes evoking thoughts of fruit juices more than alcohol), and are an excellent option for those starting keto, as the flavours in Pet-Nat tend to be very fresh and accessible. Many of our clients who are keto dieters try our Pet-Nat and can't believe it's so low carb, with it quickly becoming the go-to drink for many.
Check out our Pet Nat here
Look for sugar-free sparkling wine classifications - Brut Nature, Brut Zero, Brut Integrale, or Zero Dosage Champagne
This sweetness classification for Champagne has many names, but they all mean the same thing - that zero sugar dosage has been added to the Champagne. Generally, this means the Champagne is as sugar-free as it can be. This type of Champagne is, however, firstly quite rare, and secondly quite expensive. An easier-to-find alternative would be Extra Brut Champagne, which does have a little bit of dosage, so it's a little higher in carbs than Brut Nature, and therefore higher in carbs and calories, but there are certainly more examples of it available to buy. Typical carbs per glass of this kind of Champagne would be 0.1 grams or less (between 0-6 grams per litre), so is still considered sugar-free and therefore fits within a keto lifestyle.
Col Fondo Prosecco
This is basically a Prosecco Pet-Nat, with the same benefits of being low carb (basically carb-free) and perfect for a keto diet. Glera (the grape variety Prosecco is made from) is not the most aromatic or fruity of varieties though, so this will still drink more like a Prosecco than most Pet-Nat. Still, it's one of the best keto-friendly drinks out there. Around 0.2 grams carbs per glass is what you can expect here.
Sparkling wines to avoid on a keto diet
Moscato in its native Italy is generally viewed as a dessert wine or an aperitif. In Australia though, a lot of people drink it as a regular sparkling wine. With 80 grams per litre of sugar, or 12 grams of carbs per glass, it is pretty far from being a low-carb keto drink. They do tend to have lower alcohol which is a plus, but they really make up for it in calories. If you do want to drink Moscato, the suggestion would be to have it as an occasional sweet treat, and make it a high-quality one while you're at it.
Commercial sparkling wine
Two well-known brands that are examples of this style would be Yellowglen and Passion Pop. If you're trying to stay keto and minimise the carbs you drink, give these drinks a miss. With between 20-100 grams per litre of sugar, or 3-15 grams per glass, these wines are pretty incompatible with a keto diet due to the number of carbs involved. Even some examples that explicitly market themselves as low-carb or low-calorie can have a deceptively high amount of carbs (around 17 grams of sugar per litre, which is 3.5g per glass).
Sparkling wine labelled as Extra Dry or Dry
You may see the words Extra Dry on a Prosecco label and think it's what you should drink on a keto diet. Think again! These terms are quite deceptive. Extra Dry actually means it has 12-17 grams of residual sugar per litre, Dry means 17-32 grams per litre (so 3.5 - 6.5 grams per glass). Those are hardly keto-friendly options. If you're looking for keto drinks (or keto alcoholic beverages more specifically) then look for words like Brut, Extra Brut, or Brut Nature. These will be a lot more compatible with your diet if you're in ketosis.
How and where to find low-carb and keto sparkling wines and Champagnes
The easiest way to find keto-friendly sparkling wines is to go to a specialist wine retailer or online wine shop. They will generally have a much better selection of lower-carb options (and keto drinks in general) than your average liquor store. If you do go to a specialist wine retailer, make sure to let them know you're on a keto diet, and that you're looking for sparkling wines with the lowest sugar possible.
The quickest and most stress-free way to find keto-friendly sparkling wines, however, is to buy your wines from Feravina. Every single one of our wines is sugar-free (with less than 0.5g net carbs per glass, with most if not all of that sugar being indigestible), therefore 100% keto-friendly, so you can enjoy a range of wines knowing you'll stay in ketosis. You'll find a few of our delicious keto-friendly sparkling wines below. They're not just a better keto option, they're naturally made with organic or biodynamic practices, and taste great too. Cheers!