Are there carbohydrates in coffee? Find out how much
j ava. Atmosphere. Cup. Defibrillator juice. Whatever you call it, there’s a good chance you’re one of the 63 percent of Americans who drink coffee. With most coffee drinkers averaging around three cups a day, that adds up to over 500 million cups of coffee each day!
However, if you’re also one of the many people looking to limit your carb intake to help you achieve your weight loss goals, you may be wondering if you can still keep drinking that precious cup of coffee when you’re trying to cut back on carbs.
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Does coffee contain carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates, along with proteins and fats, are one of the three main nutrients that our bodies need. Carbohydrates can provide important nutrients and are a major source of energy for our bodies.
So, how does coffee rank on the carbohydrate scale? Very very low – if we are talking about a cup of black coffee. Of course this all changes the moment you start adding cream, sugar, whipped cream with sprinkles and caramel drizzle.
How many carbohydrates are in coffee?
Let’s start simply.
A 12-ounce cup of black coffee — the average small cup at most coffee shops — contains less than one gram of carbohydrates.
Of course, if you use a very large cup or drop multiple cups regularly, that carb count will go a little north. However, compared to other traditional breakfast foods, it’s negligible: a bagel has 55 grams, a small banana has 23 grams, and even an 8-ounce glass of orange juice has 27 grams of carbohydrates.
Fun fact: Caffeine does not affect your carb count, so whether you drink it regularly or decaffeinated, the carbs in a cup of black coffee will be the same.
If you order something other than black coffee or espresso at your local coffee shop, there is a good chance that your carb consumption will be higher. Black coffees, Americanos, and espressos all have less than 1 gram of carbs, but lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos all add up to that number. Compare Starbucks’ tall coffee drinks (12 ounces), all made standard with 2 percent milk:
Can you drink coffee on a low carb diet?
So can you enjoy coffee on a low-carb diet?
Yes, says Martha Lauder, MSRDN, registered dietitian and coffee lover—especially if it’s black coffee, espresso, or Americano. If you’re in the habit of adding toppings to your cup of joe, be careful, says Lauder.
This is especially important when looking at creamers, which range from half-and-half milk alternatives to nut-based milk alternatives to high-flavor non-dairy creamers — all of which have their own carb percentage that can vary widely.
When looking at the Nutrition Facts panel, don’t just focus on total calories, Lauder says, because that includes protein and fat, too. “Under ‘Total Carbs,’ look for ‘added sugar,’ because this lets you know if the carbs come from nutritious milk sugar or if they come from non-nutritive added sugar,” Lauder explains.
Best coffee to drink on a low carb diet
If you like to enjoy your coffee while watching your carbs, Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, a licensed dietitian and member of the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living, agrees that black coffee is your best bet.
“Keep in mind that cream, foam, milk, sugar, honey, syrup, juices, and other flavors can add carbohydrates,” Miller repeats.
She recommends the following low-carb coffee options that are very low in carbohydrates:
- Unsweetened Iced Coffee, Plain
- Nitro cold drink, plain
- Cold brew coffee, plain
- Shui blond, plain
Coffee can definitely be part of a low-carb diet. Just be careful about adding anything else to your cup other than coffee.