The word “Carb” is a nightmare for anyone trying to get their weight in control. Many coffee lovers add coffee to their everyday diet even when controlling calorie intake. But then comes the question, “does coffee have carbs?”
Today, we take a look at all types of coffee and find out if they have enough carbs to ruin your weight loss initiative or not.
But first, let’s start by knowing what carbs are.
What Are Carbohydrates?
Three primary nutrients act as a source of energy for your body. These are:
- Carbohydrates (Carbs)
Carbohydrate is found in grains and dairy products in fibers, starches, and sugars. When you digest the products, your body turns the carbs into sugar and uses them to give you the energy to move and get things done.
The Dietary Guidelines’ recommended amount of carbohydrate consumption for Americans is between 225-325 grams per day. But the number differs depending on your height, weight, dietary goals, and activity.
Dieters are easily attracted to meal plans with low carbs since lower carb=less sugar in blood=less weight. But this can backfire quickly.
When you cut back on carbs, you have to take in the other two ingredients in a higher amount to compensate for the lack of carbs. While protein can help you to a certain extent, too much fat in the body can do you more harm than good.
If you find yourself eating more red meat and animal fats while going for low carbs, it’s better to stick to a balanced diet instead.
Types of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates can be classified into two main types.
- Simple carbohydrates
- Complex carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates contain only one or two types of sugars and get quickly absorbed in the body when ingested. These are the carbs you can find in sugars, syrups, and other dairy products.
Taking too many simple carbohydrates can cause a “sugar rush” in your body, so it’s best to limit the intake of these food items. And for people with diabetes, this restriction is more strict.
Complex carbohydrates consist of three or more sugar types. These sugars take a lot longer to digest, and the energy provided by these sugars is more sustainable for the longer term. You can find complex carbs in many starchy foods such as:
When going for a low-carb diet, these are the best options for you since they don’t get absorbed in the body right away and provide constant energy while not increasing the carb count too much.
Carbs In Coffee
Most coffee shops offer you a 12-ounce cup of black coffee when you order one. This cup of coffee contains less than a gram of carbs, so it’s perfectly safe.
This amount seems laughable when you compare it to any other breakfast item. Here are a couple of food items that have a considerable amount of carbs in them:
- Banana: 23 grams
- Banana oatmeal: 54 grams
- Bagel: 55 grams
- Orange juice (8-ounce): 27 grams
- Pancakes with berries: 27 grams
You might be thinking that you can alter your carb count by taking decaf instead of regular coffee.
Both regular coffee and decaf contain the same amount of carbs. The only difference these two coffees have is their caffeine count.
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Carbs In Black Coffee
If you consider only black coffee without any additives like sugar or creamers, it has no carbs. Though many coffee drinkers don’t like the direct taste of coffee, it’s the healthiest choice if you want to watch your carb intake.
If you want to lower the carbs count that you consume through coffee but can’t switch to black coffee right away, it’s best to slowly lower the amounts of additives you use.
The more you go on, you’ll slowly start to build up a taste for black coffee. Plus, it’s always better to take it slow than shocking your taste buds with a bitter taste out of nowhere.
Carbs In Flavored Coffee
Coffee in itself has very few carbs. However, when you start adding different flavors to your caffeinated beverages, the carb count increases really fast. Adding in sugar and milk alone can increase the carb count by a lot.
Coffee beans don’t contain carbs in them. However, the carb count increases when the beans are roasted by infusing flavors. An excellent example of it is chocolate-covered coffee beans.
If you want to determine how much carb your flavored coffee really has, you need to count the carb of the flavors you added and the type of carbohydrates they contain.
Carb Count In Different Flavored Coffees
As we mentioned, coffee starts gaining more carbs depending on the additives you mix in with your morning cup of coffee. So let’s take a look at a few flavors and flavor-added coffee types that contain considerably high calories.
Simple syrup is the most common additive offered in coffee shops. Simple syrup can be made in three easy steps:
- Dissolve sugar in boiling water
- Add flavorings
- Allow the mixture to cool down
If you consider the syrup only, one ounce of syrup contains 14 grams of carbohydrates. Each pump of flavored syrup is half an ounce, so you might think that it’s a safe option. But it’s not.
A standard vanilla latte at Starbucks uses four pumps of syrup, taking the carb count to 56 grams per cup.
A standard 16-ounce Vanilla latte contains 27 grams of carbs, and that’s just from the sweeteners. When you consider milk, that’s another 19 grams into the mix.
Grande Vanilla Latte
A serving of Grande Vanilla Latte comes in with a staggering 47 g of carbs. And that’s without the coffee or the Espresso used as the base drink. The carb count goes up depending on if you are planning to add in more additives or not.
The most popular addition to a Grande Vanilla Latte is whipped cream. A serving of whipped cream on top of a Grande Vanilla Latte adds 12 g of carbs to the drink. And since the calorie count is just as high (110 calories), caffeine isn’t the only energy source in this drink.
Here are a few other coffee options with considerably high carb counts:
- Cappuccino: 9 grams
- Latte: 15 grams
- Mocha: 34 grams
- Caramel Brulee Latte: 54 grams
Carbs In Cold Brew Coffee
Yes, cold coffee has carbs in it, but there’s a reason behind it. To understand this, you need to understand how cold coffee is made.
Before beginning, let’s clear up a common misconception. Cold coffee and iced coffee are two entirely different things. Though they sound similar since they’re both technically cold, the brewing method is different.
Remember when we said coffee beans contain a little bit of carb in them? The brewing method of cold coffee brings out the extra carbs and mixes them into the concentrated drink.
An 8-ounce cup of cold coffee contains 3g of carbs. Compared to other coffees, it’s still a lot lower, but it’s definitely higher than regular drip coffee.
Cold brew is made by steeping the coffee beans in water overnight at room temperature or cold water. The brewing process can take anywhere from 12-24 hours. Of course, this time entirely depends on how strong you want your brew to be.
Cold coffee is considered stronger than regular coffee since the water has more time to extract the caffeine out of the coffee beans. But it’s not only the caffeine that gets extracted.
During this extended brew time, cold coffee also brings out all the carbs present in the coffee beans. These carbs are contained in the natural oils that are in the beans. When the oils mix in the final brew, cold brew starts containing more carbs than regular coffee.
Meaning even if you drink cold brew coffee without the additives, you’ll still be drinking a small number of carbs along with it. Fun fact: caffeine count doesn’t affect the number of carbs you’ll find in your coffee. So the carb in the cold brew isn’t from the higher count of caffeine in it.
Drinking Coffee On A Low-Carb Diet
Now that we’ve established that coffee does contain a certain amount of carbs in it, it brings the question of whether you can drink coffee when you’re trying to adapt to a low-carb diet. Be glad, my friend, for the answer is yes.
The majority of the carb that can ruin your diet comes from the additives you put in your coffee to make it sweeter. If you’re drinking traditional black coffee or Espresso drinks like Americano or a simple Espresso, then you have nothing to worry about.
So if you want to maintain your diet and coffee habit together, drinking black coffee is your best bet.
Even then, you can consider a few coffee options that are low-carb-friendly. This is for when you’re willing to go the extra mile to watch your carb intake.
- Plain Blonde Roast
- Plain Cold brew coffee
- Standard Espresso
- Plain Iced Coffee
- Plain Nitro Cold Brew
But What About Keto Diet?
Yes, the same rule for a low-carb diet applies to the keto diet principle. Though there are a few caveats, they aren’t restrictive enough to make you miss out on things.
The main goal of a ketogenic lifestyle is to decrease your carbohydrate intake and increase fat consumption. You can do that easily with coffee sweeteners high in fat but low on sugar or containing no sugar.
Low Carb Alternatives To Consider
The greatest low-carb alternative of any time ever will always be regular black coffee without any additives. I mean, how do you get better than having next to zero carbs when the goal itself is to keep the carb count low?
But it’s not easy to get used to black coffee’s bitter, unsweetened flavor. To ease into the flavor, you can try sweetener options that are low in carbs, slowly reduce the amount of these materials, and shave off every amount of carb.
Stevia is an excellent alternative to standard sugar that contains lower-carb amounts while providing decent sweetness for your morning cup. It’s made from the Stevia plant and has no carbohydrates while being sweeter than sugar itself.
Another artificial sweetener is similar to stevia, but it’s more artificial than natural. Erythritol is man-made rather than being produced from natural resources. It’s an effective sweetener without any carbs in it.
Unsweetened Almond Milk
This option is for coffee drinkers who want to take unsweetened coffee with milk while keeping their carb consumption low.
Regular dairy milk contains 12g carbs per cup. Compared to that, unsweetened almond milk only has 1-2g of carbs per cup.
It’s a great alternative to sugar and coconut milk, which is similar in carb counts. This alternative helps increase the taste of coffee while keeping the sugar count low.
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It’s okay to indulge in the carb-filled coffee world once in a while. After all, we all deserve a cheat day or two from diet pressure, right? But even then, you can always relax with a low-calorie coffee alternative.
Cold brew does contain carbs since the extended brew time brings out the carbs from the coffee beans and allows them to mix in the final brew.
Nearly every flavored coffee contains carbs since adding elements that add flavors in coffee increases the carb count.
If you opt for more natural options like stevia or milk with a low carb count, you can watch your carb intake while making your coffee sweet.
Coffee has next to zero carbs on its own, so it’s totally safe.
If the black coffee is brewed for a more extended period, the hot water has more time to bring out the natural oils from the coffee beans, which contain carbs. Since these oils contain carbs in tiny amounts, the final cup of black coffee also has carbs as a result.