Fact-checked by Dr. Anthony Gustin, DC, MS.
Written by Emily Ziedman
There’s no better way to celebrate a happy occasion than with great company, a bottle of bubbly, and some clinking glasses.
But what if you’re on a keto diet? Do you have to trade that flute of sparkling wine for sparkling water?
Maybe not. Drinking alcohol can work on a keto diet, and the right champagne is very low in carbs and sugar — you just need to know what you’re looking for.
This article will cover the carbs in champagne, how to find low-carb champagne, and how alcohol consumption fits into a ketogenic diet.
Champagne is a very specific type of sparkling wine. There are a lot of different sparkling wines, but in order for one to be champagne, it has to meet several criteria.
First, and most importantly, champagne must come from grapes grown and bottled within 100 miles of France’s Champagne region.
According to European law, if grapes are not grown and bottled within this region, the product cannot be called champagne.
The Champagne region is located about 90 miles northeast of Paris. The soil in this region is rich in limestone, which gives champagne its trademark acidity and small, tight bubbles.
For the most part, champagne grapes are either pinot noir, pinot meunier, or chardonnay. Pinot blanc, pinot gris, petit meslier, and arbane are other types of grapes that can be used as well, but make up a much smaller percentage of the champagne produced.
The process of making champagne is also highly regulated. Winemakers follow strict growing, harvesting, and processing guidelines set by the certification board Appellation d’Origine Controlee. All champagne grapes have to be hand-picked, and they can only be pressed twice.
The distinction between champagne and sparkling wine is so specific that wine producers could even harvest the same exact grapes, use the same methods, but ferment and bottle the wine in a different region and it could no longer be called champagne.
That said, other types of sparkling wine (like cava from Spain and prosecco from Italy) are just as delicious as champagne, and they can be keto as well.
Carb count varies a lot in champagne and other sparkling wines. The sugar content depends on how long the sparkling wine ferments, as well as how much sugar the winemaker adds toward the end of fermentation.
There are a handful of different types of champagne. The main difference is the amount of residual sugar, and the amount of sugar added towards the end.
Some champagne (and some wines in general, for that matter) contains added sugar for sweetness.
7 Types of Champagne, By Carb Count
Here are seven types of champagne, broken down according to their sugar content:
#1: Brut Nature
This is the driest of them all. The name, nature, implies that there is little to no sweetness added. Although this type of champagne can be hard to find, it’s ideal for a keto diet. One 5-ounce glass typically contains less than 1 gram of carbohydrate.
#2: Extra Brut
With just a little sweetness added, this champagne still tastes quite dry. Extra brut typically contains 1 gram or fewer of carbs per 5-ounce serving.
Around 95% of champagne is classified as brut. Brut will still taste pretty dry, but it has a hint of sweetness to balance out the acidity. Brut champagne typically has 1-1.5 grams of carb per 5-ounce serving.
#4: Extra Dry
This is where things start to get confusing. Although it’s called “dry,” you’ll actually get more sweetness in extra dry champagne. A small amount of sugar is added to extra dry champagne, giving it a slight but distinctive sweet taste. However, it’s still considered relatively dry. A 5 oz serving of extra dry champagne is typically 2-2.5 grams of carbohydrates in a 5-ounce serving.
With dry champagne you’ll begin noticing more sweet flavor, and a bit less acidity. A 5-ounce serving of dry champagne typically has 3-6 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
This is a noticeably sweet style of champagne. The amount of dosage added gives demi-sec a sweet flavor that is often paired with dessert. A 5-ounce glass of demi-sec will typically contain 6-8 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
A more rare type of champagne, doux is an even sweeter dessert wine that you’ll want to skip if you’re trying to stay in ketosis. One 5-ounce glass of doux typically contains 8-10 grams of carbs.
If you’re shopping for your own champagne, make sure the bottle states which type it is.
Remember, the added sugar can make a huge difference in the amount of carbs you’re going to get per glass.
If you’re trying to stay in ketosis go for the brut, extra brut, or extra dry. If you can find brut nature that’s ideal — but pretty rare.
If you’re out and want to order a glass of bubbly, make sure to ask your server which type of champagne they have. Any upscale restaurant will have trained their staff on the different varieties. And if you’re at a dive bar…don’t drink champagne at a dive bar.
One thing to stay on top of is pour size. A 5-ounce glass of extra dry champagne may contain 2 grams of carbs, but five glasses contains 10 grams. And as lovely as it is to have a heavy pour, those grams count and can add up quickly. Stay alert.
#1: Brut and Extra Dry Champagne
Ranging from less than 1 gram to 2.5 grams of carbohydrates per 5 ounce serving, these sparkly wines are a great choice.
#2: Dry Wines
From a technical perspective, wines below 1% sweetness are considered to be dry wine. Most dry wines contain about 2 grams or less of carbohydrates per 4 ounce serving. Some examples of dry wines are sangiovese, tempranillo, and sauvignon blanc.
#3: Spirits (Neat or The Rocks)
Both clear liquors and dark liquors are keto. Gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, and tequila all have only trace amounts of carbohydrates per 1.5 ounce serving[*]. Just make sure you drink them neat — don’t go throwing sugary mixers in there.
#4: Dry Brandy
Be sure to choose a dry brandy as opposed to normal brandy. Dry brandy contains only trace amounts of carbohydrate[*]. It’s also important to choose high quality for this one, and make sure it’s barrel-aged. Some producers skip the barrel aging step and just add caramel coloring, which ups the carb count.
if you want to get fancy with a keto cocktail, martinis are the way to go. They contain a trace amount of carbs, and even have a little healthy fat from the olives[*].
#6: Vodka Soda With Lime
Simple, classic, and only a trace amount of carbs. If you don’t feel like vodka on the rocks, this is a great stand-in.
And if mixed drinks are more your thing, use these keto-friendly mixers to jazz up your cocktail without the blood sugar spike.
#7: Liquor With Soda Water
To be clear, tonic water and soda water are different. Tonic water can actually have quite a bit of sugar. Go for soda water instead.
#8: Liquor With Zevia
This is a great soda alternative. It comes in flavors resembling all your favorite classic sodas, but it’s sweetened with stevia instead of high fructose corn syrup. You can find it at most grocery stores.
#9: Liquor With Bitters
Bitters are concentrated herbal blends that can add a lot of flavor with just a couple dashes. Be sure to ask the bartender if sugar is added to their bitters, but this common cocktail ingredient is not only sugar-free, it will also help with your digestion.
Having a couple of drinks can be a great way to unwind at the end of a long day. Luckily, living a low-carb lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up this simple pleasure completely.
It’s important, however, to put a bit more thought into what, when, and how much you drink. While alcohol isn’t necessarily going to ruin your keto lifestyle, it does come with some drawbacks.
Your Metabolism Gets Put on Hold
One major factor to consider is that alcohol takes precedence over other fuel sources when it comes to metabolism.
Your body sees alcohol as a toxin (rightfully so). It wants to get it out of your system as quickly as possible, so it puts your liver to work detoxing and metabolizing any alcohol in your bloodstream.
While alcohol is being burned off, you can’t burn other macronutrients as well. This means fat burning goes to the back burner.
To add a little insult to injury — alcohol is a source of empty calories. This means it takes up a bunch of fuel burning potential, but it doesn’t bring any nutrients to the party. And at 7 calories per gram, those empty calories can rack up quickly.
You Get Drunk Faster on Keto
You get drunk a lot faster on a ketogenic diet. That’s great if you want to get a buzz without consuming too many carbs, but it can also catch you unaware if you aren’t expecting it.
If you have carbs in your system while drinking, they’ll slow down the metabolism process of alcohol. Since eating a keto diet means you don’t have excess blood sugar roaming around, alcohol has a clear pathway right to the liver. This means you can get really drunk really fast[*]. It also means you sober up more quickly.
If you’re new to keto, try cutting your alcohol intake in half, and make it a point to drink more slowly until you get a feel for your new tolerance.
May Inhibit Weight Loss
Alcohol turns off fat burning as long as it’s in your system. Your body can metabolize about one drink of alcohol per hour, so if you have three or four drinks — that’s three or four hours that fat burning is offline[*].
If you have a couple drinks a week, that’s no big deal. But if you’re drinking on a regular basis, you may be sabotaging your fat loss goals in a meaningful way.
Besides maximizing fat burning processes, another important piece of the weight loss puzzle is self-control. While alcohol can do a wonderful job of helping you get out of your head, sometimes it does its job a little too well.
Alcohol also decreases self-control and increases risky behavior[*][*][*], which means you’re more likely to make a 2 AM pizza run after a night of drinking. That’ll knock you out of ketosis and slow down weight loss a lot, so keep it in mind when you go out to drink.
Hangovers Can Be Worse on Keto
Keto can worsen hangovers, too. If you’re already keto adapted, you’re most likely used to feeling pretty fantastic. Clear headed, great energy, no obnoxious cravings throwing you off — you’re living the dream.
Alcohol is dehydrating, and your body holds less water when you’re running on ketones. When your body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen, it stores water along with them [*].
When you’re keto, you don’t carry as much water because you’re running on fat, which doesn’t need water for storage. That’s why you lose several pounds of water weight during your first couple weeks on keto.
Tips To Avoid the Downfalls
Aside from always choosing low-sugar alcohol, use these other tips for avoiding the downfalls of alcohol on keto:
Get ahead of your hangover by switching on and off between alcoholic drinks and water. Also, drink at least 8 ounces before you go to bed.
Eat Some Food
The alcohol you drink will most likely hit you harder when you’re in ketosis. Make sure you have something in your stomach to slow down the absorption process. Keto meals won’t slow down alcohol metabolism as much as carbohydrate-rich foods do, but they’ll still help.
Taking an activated charcoal supplement before or while drinking may help absorb some of the toxins that many alcoholic drinks contain.
Activated charcoal won’t absorb alcohol, but it can bind other toxic fermentation byproducts from alcoholic drinks and eliminate them from your system before you absorb them into your body[*].
Take two capsules of activated charcoal with every drink to stave off a hangover. It makes a big difference the next morning.
Bottom line: Is Champagne Keto?
Champagne and other low-carb wines can be ketogenic as long as you get the right kind.
Look for “brut” or “extra-dry” on the label, or stick to keto alcohol like dark or clear liquors.
Avoid sugary mixers, slow down your drinking to compensate for your faster alcohol metabolism on keto, and make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid a hangover the next morning.
If you follow all these tips, alcohol can have a place in a keto diet.