Are There Carbs In Coffee?

'Is butter a carb?' It's probably the most famous carb-loaded question, thanks to the hilarious film, Mean Girls. IVCH says the answer is no. And now that we've put that question to bed, it doesn't mean we don't have other carb-related curiosities. Our society's focus on carbohydrates has seen a significant increase since diets like Atkins and keto have become mainstream. And if you're looking to jump on the low-carb or no-carb bandwagon, it's best to do some research beforehand. After all, carbs can be lurking in the most surprising of meals (we're looking at you wraps). You also need to find out if there are carbohydrates in your favorite beverages, and a good place to start is with your morning cup of joe.

So, are there carbs in coffee? Healthline shares that if you're a purist and the baristas know you as the person who orders an Americano (espresso and hot water) or a small black coffee, then the amount of carbs you are consuming is minuscule. A single shot of espresso contains 0.5 grams of carbs, and a 12 oz. mug of brewed back coffee also contains less than 1 gram. But this is where you need to be careful. Coffee itself may have a teeny tiny amount of carbohydrates, but 'coffee beverages' can be filled to the foamy brim with them.

The carbs are found in the additions

As it turns out, there can be a lot of carbs in all those tasty add-ons. The carbohydrates in your coffee beverage are found in the milk, the whipped cream, and the flavored syrups. Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, and founder of Real Nutrition NYC, warns to Eat This, Not That!, "Don't make your coffee a dessert, meaning don't put too much stuff in it," she says. "Coffee is meant to pick you up, not fill you out, so stop with the sugar, cream, syrups, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings and appreciate coffee for what it is — a strong drink that will give you some pep." 

Diet Doctor tells us that by simply adding a cube of sugar to your coffee, you have also added four grams of carbohydrates to your brew. The commonly requested 12 oz. latte (one shot of espresso with steamed milk) contains 15 grams. And if you order a 12 oz. Frappuccino at Starbucks, it also means you are ordering a whopping 50 carbs.

In short, you may have to consider becoming a coffee purist (or at least semi-purist) in order to cut down on your daily carbohydrate consumption. If you're on a daily Frappuccino habit, we understand why it may be gut-wrenching to switch to ordering an Americano. Healthline recommends easy tricks to reduce the number of carbs by opting for dairy-free milk, downsizing your order, or adding the milk and sweetener yourself. Luckily, no matter what you have to cut out, you still get the anticipated pick-me-up from the coffee.