Living in an increasingly health-conscious world, we were wondering if cider fits into the diets or lifestyle of individuals out there. Is cider even an option if you are keto, paleo, or even kosher? We sought out these answers to see if hard cider truly can be a part of almost any individual’s diet, regardless of how restrictive it might be.
What makes cider paleo is how rich it can be with antioxidants. What isn’t paleo are hard ciders that are high in carbohydrates and sugar, as it can spike the bodies’ blood sugar balance.
At its base, the apple, hard cider’s root is very paleo-friendly. It is the process of fermentation that can remove some of the benefits of the apple’s fiber while maintaining the sugars from the apples.
However, as the craft cider world has evolved, there are now more than ever low-carb, low-sugar ciders that can be consumed. It is worth mentioning that most cider is gluten-free and cider is much better to consume than beer, in most cases. Cider can still hold onto the benefits of the apple, just try to stick with drier ciders and ask the cider about the number of carbs in their products.
Anyone could work most hard cider into a keto diet if you do not make it a part of your everyday diet. But hard cider itself can be very friendly for a keto diet if you allow the cider to “dry” out. As you allow your cider to ferment, it will typically consume most of the sugar, increase the alcohol content, and taste more like a liquor, wine, or low-sugar champagne, depending on the yeast used.
You are generally not going to find keto-friendly cider when the cider adds back in sugars to back sweeten the product. This will increase the carbs/sugars that an individual would consume. It is best to ask the ciders if they are low carb or to make your own dry cider at home. I saw some keto-friendly recipes on the web.
Blake’s hard cider advertises a Lite Cider with 0g sugar and 4 carbs. Many cideries are also making hard seltzers and spritzers that would follow a keto-friendly diet.
Many hard ciders are kosher. You would have to ask each cidery what happens in the process of making their cider.
Certain ciders may use apple juice that contains certain forms of gelatin which come from the skin or bones of a non-kosher animal. This is often used to remove the pectin and clear up the color and appearance of the hard cider.
In the same vein, it seems other factors play a role. If the yeast utilized in the cider is from a non-kosher winery, then it would suffer the same fate. Any additives that also make their way into the cider-making process only opens up the opportunity for non-kosher elements into the mix.
I might also add that the rules of what is and what isn’t kosher are extremely complex. If you are well versed in what is and isn’t kosher, I would reach out to the particular cider and ask a series of questions. Not all ciders at a cider are kosher and, even if one cider has mostly non-kosher cider, they may have one that is!
Similar to the issues with hard cider being kosher, some ciders in the US are made with animal-derived ingredients, such as gelatin, Casein, Carmine, and Isinglass.
Many ciders from craft cideries are 100% vegan, never touching any form of an animal product, avoiding preservatives, and conforming to all of the rules that make a product vegan.
If you are strict with veganism, honey might actually remove several ciders for your available options. Some of the vegan community believe that harvesting honey is an exploitation of the bee, thus not a part of the vegan lifestyle. Honey or otherwise, ask the cideries how they make their products and help determine for yourself if it follows your guidelines.
If you are vegan and want to enjoy hard cider, I would also suggest you make it at home. This will allow you to control the process and avoid anything that might fall outside of your vegan lifestyle.
While hard cider is not necessarily causing gout, any alcoholic beverage can make symptoms of gout appear in individuals that have or are prone to gout.
Like red meat, alcohol is a purine, and, when broken down, it creates uric acid. Uric acid is also secreted in your body at a higher rate when you are consuming alcohol. Normally, you are able to pass this uric acid when you urinate. However, when you combine the purine breakdown from alcohol and the increased secretion, the uric acid has nowhere to go. Thus, it turns into crystals in your joints and causes arthritic pain.
It seems, however, that beer and liquor are the worst for flares of gout, so cider may be a slightly safer play. In any case, consume water between drinks and keep your alcohol consumption to a moderate level.
Hard cider does not currently have a FODMAP status, but several websites put cider in the High-FODMAP category.
All fruits contain the FODMAP fructose and apples are definitely an offender on the higher-side. But, in the cider-making process, a lot of things can change.
Published cut-off levels suggest that a high-FODMAP food contains more than one of the following carbs:
Ask your local cider if any of their products conform to the above rules. My vote is there are many options that fall into this category.
Many hard ciders sit around 150-200 calories. However, as the craft cider market continues to grow, there is an increasing number of options for low-calorie cider. Hard spritzers and hard seltzers are usually low calories. Cideries are also consciously trying to make ciders than fall around or below 100 calories per can/bottle.