Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. Its sweet yet subtle flavor complements Asian-style dishes and typically contains 15% to 20% alcohol. However, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, there is always the question of whether sake is gluten-free. Learn more inside.

Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is a moderately alcoholic beverage available at sushi restaurants. It can be served hot or cold, and it comes in adorable little cups. Sake is the ideal companion to your delicious sushi dinner.

However, if you have celiac disease or other gluten intolerances, you should make sure it is safe for you before ordering it. Generally, sake is free of gluten. The main ingredient in sake is rice, which is naturally gluten-free. Sake also contains koji mold, which is a key ingredient. 

Although there is some concern about koji containing gluten, sake makers are legally required to use only rice koji.

What is sake made from?

Sake is a popular alcoholic beverage in Japan. The best traditional sake is made with three ingredients: rice, water, and koji – a type of mold. When the three are combined, the koji ferments the rice, producing sake, an alcohol-containing rice wine. [1]

Nutritional Value of Sake

Sake contains all the necessary nutrients contained in rice. One serving of sake (100 grams) contains the following ingredients: [2]

  • 134 calories
  • 0.5 g protein
  • 0 g of fat
  • 5 g of carbohydrates
  • 0 g of fiber
  • 0 g of sugar

Sake also has small traces of selenium, phosphorus, copper, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

Sake’s Potential Health Benefits

Drinking sake improves your sleep and skin, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to diabetics. 

Sake may provide some health benefits, including the following:

Sake Helps Prevent Cancer

Because of the amino acids found in the drink, Japanese sakes have potent anti-cancer properties. Sake has also been shown to assist in the prevention of blood clots, increase circulation, regulate insulin production and secretion, and boost the immune system in general.

Digestive Support

Sake may contain lactobacillus, a lactic acid bacteria. Lactobacillus is a probiotic that can help with digestive issues, especially diarrhea caused by illness or antibiotic use.

Disease Risk Reduction

Drinking sake in small to moderate amounts may be beneficial to your health. Moderate drinking is defined as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

Sake Does Not Contain Sulfates

Sake is primarily prepared from rice, water, and yeast, so if you are sensitive to the sulfates found in most other wines, sake may be the wine for you. Sake is also low in acidity, which is great news for those who suffer from acid reflux. The best part is that sake doesn’t give you a hangover.

Sake Has Low-Calorie Content

If you want a tasty drink but don’t want to increase your calories significantly, sake is the way to go. It contains only 39 calories per serving.

Sake Is Good for Your Skin

Sake contains over 20 amino acids. These essential building blocks for your body are also necessary for your skin. Furthermore, the yeast in sake hydrates and firms your skin.

Is Sake Safe to Drink?

If you’re wondering whether you can drink sake safely and whether you can find gluten-free sake that’s suitable for you, there’s some good news. If you have celiac disease as well as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, sake can be a good substitute for gluten-containing alcoholic beverages such as beer.

However, if you are among the minority of people who are allergic to mushrooms and edamame, you should avoid drinking sake unless you can find a manufacturer who does not use barley at all in the brewing process.

Is sake free of gluten?

To answer it briefly, it completely depends, though most “premium” sake is gluten-free. Water, rice, yeast, and koji are the four basic ingredients of sake.

As you may be aware, the first three ingredients–water, rice, and yeast–are naturally gluten-free. Depending on the circumstances, the final ingredient, koji, may contain gluten. Koji is a type of fungus that grows on gluten-containing foods and is used as a fermentation starter.

Fortunately for sake lovers, koji in sake is always rice-based! To put it another way, all four of the main ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

Is gekkeikan sake gluten-free?

Gekkeikan traditional sake is free of gluten. Gekkeikan traditional sake, the world’s most popular sake, has a clean, well-balanced flavor.

You can drink it chilled, at room temperature, or warm, or use it in cooking. Another benefit of Gekkeikan Traditional sake is its accessibility. As a domestic sake, you can find Gekkeikan Traditional sake almost anywhere, and it’s also reasonably priced.

Is nigori sake gluten-free?

Yes, nigori sake is classified as premium sake and thus does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients that may aggravate your gluten intolerance. As a result, nigori sake is completely gluten-free.

Is sho chiku bai sake gluten-free?

Sho Chiku Bai Sake does not contain gluten, as its manufacturers stated that gluten-containing ingredients were not found in this product.

Is hakutsuru sake gluten-free?

Yes, hakutsuru sake is gluten-free and does not contain any gluten-based proteins that can harm a person’s health if they have gluten intolerances.

Is all sake gluten-free?

The main ingredient in sake is rice, which is naturally gluten-free. Another important ingredient in rice-based sake is koji mold, which is used in the fermentation process.

Because of the type of Koji, there is a common misconception that it contains gluten. However, sake producers are legally required to use only rice Koji.

Distilled alcohol is also used in sake, which is gluten-free once the distillation process is completed.

Is junmai ginjo sake gluten free?

Junmai is a Japanese word that means “pure rice.” It means that the bottle only contains the four main ingredients, all of which are naturally gluten-free! So if the label says junmai, the bottle should only contain the four gluten-free ingredients.

Thus, bottles labeled junmai ginjo or tokubetsu junmai are also safe to drink for celiac patients!

Is tozai sake gluten-free?

Yes, because tozai sake is considered premium sake, it does not contain any gluten-containing ingredients that could aggravate your gluten intolerance.

As a result, tozai sake is completely gluten-free.

Is hot sake gluten-free?

Hot sake is gluten-free because it contains no gluten-based ingredients.

The purpose of keeping the sake warm is to mask the impurities in the sake and smoothen its harshness. Good sake, on the other hand, does not require heat to be enjoyable, and warming it can ruin the flavor.

Is cooking sake gluten-free?

Premium sakes can enhance the flavor of almost any dish. As a result, a small amount of sake can be used to season the majority of your dishes. Cooking sake is also gluten-free, so it can be easily consumed by people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Is snow beauty sake gluten-free?

Yes, snow beauty sake is gluten-free and does not contain any gluten-based proteins that can harm a person’s health if they have gluten intolerances.

FAQs

Is gekkeikan Saki gluten-free?

Gekkeikan Traditional is free of sulfites and gluten.

Gekkeikan Traditional, the world’s most popular sake, has a clean, well-balanced flavor. You can drink it chilled, at room temperature, or warm, or use it in cooking. Another benefit of Gekkeikan Traditional is its accessibility.

Which alcohol is best for gluten-free?

Wine, which is naturally gluten-free and made from grapes, is your best friend. All wines including red wines, white wines, champagne, and dessert wines are gluten-free. Because the wheat paste is used to seal the barrels, fermenting grapes in oak barrels was a concern. However, this has changed over time, and most wines are now aged in stainless steel casks.

Is Nigori unfiltered sake gluten-free? 

A single ingredient cannot be used to alter the taste of wine. Because wheat gluten is used in winemaking, it may contain gluten. Sake, like beer, is made in the same manner but without all of the gluten residues.

What alcohol does not contain gluten?

Gluten-free alcohol is defined as any alcoholic beverage that does not contain gluten protein. Vodka, rum, tequila, whiskey, brandy, vermouth, gin, and champagne are all gluten-free alcoholic beverages.

Does alcohol affect celiac disease?

Yes, alcohol can have a significant impact on your celiac disease symptoms. [3]

Alcohol is permitted on the celiac diet if the proper types of alcohol are consumed. Beer and ale are typically made from barley and are not suitable for celiacs to consume. Wines made from grapes are safe for celiac disease sufferers.

Is Sake Keto-Friendly?

Yes. Sake is permitted on the keto diet in moderation. Keep in mind, however, that the sweeter the sake, the more carbs it contains. As a result, to keep it keto-friendly, look for a sake brand that is less sweet and thus has fewer carbs.

Final Thoughts

Sake is gluten-free, making it suitable for people with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances. Sake is also one of the world’s healthiest beverages. It is anti-cancer, promotes healthy skin, is low in calories, and is sulfate-free.

Sake, however, may not be to everyone’s taste. If you don’t like sake but still want to drink a healthy alcoholic drink, there are plenty of other low-calorie wines to try on the market.

References

  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. “FoodData Central: Alcoholic Beverage, rice (sake)”. U.S. Department of Agriculture | Agricultural Research Service
  2. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. “Does TTB Regulate Saké as a Beer or Wine? Also, How Do I Import Saké?”. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  3. Stuart Currie. “Alcohol Induces Sensitization to Gluten in Genetically Susceptible Individuals: A Case Control Study”. PLoS One vol. 8(10) (2013).