If you're following a low-carb diet -- either as a weight-loss strategy or because you view it as a healthy lifestyle -- you may not want to give up alcohol. Therefore, you'll need to know which types of alcohol contain carbs and which types don't. It's actually possible to find an alcoholic beverage without any carbohydrates at all, assuming you drink it straight. Of course, drink mixers can add grams of carbs, as can any snacks you consume while you're drinking.
The carbohydrate content of beer varies widely, depending on the type of beer and the brand. Typically, regular beer contains about 7 to 13 grams of carbohydrates per 12-ounce bottle or can. However, some beers -- notably darker beer -- can contain more carb grams, potentially up to 19 grams per 12-ounce. serving. Due to the interest in low-carb dieting, some manufacturers produce low-carb beers, so you may be able to find a brew with just 2 grams of carbohydrates per bottle or can.
Like beers, different wines can vary widely in carbohydrate content, although no wine can be carb free, because the fermentation process always leaves sugar behind. Dessert wines have the highest level of carbs -- often about 8 grams per 5-ounce serving. Table wines average much lower in carbohydrates: Red wines have about 2.5 grams per 5-ounce serving, while white wines have even less -- 1 gram for the same size glass of wine.
Distilled liquor doesn't contain any carbohydrates; even though fermentation and distillation start with high-carbohydrate foods such as sugar, grains and potatoes, the process breaks down those foods into pure alcohol, with no carbs left. Therefore, if you're looking for the lowest possible carbs in an alcoholic beverage, you may want to consider rum, vodka, gin or whiskey. However, mixers such as soda or fruit juice do contain carbs, so watch what you mix with your distilled liquor.
Cordials, such as chocolate- and coffee-flavored liqueurs, feature the highest carbohydrate counts of all alcoholic beverages, because they contain large amounts of sugar. For example, coffee-flavored liqueur packs nearly 25 grams of carbs in a 1.5-ounce. serving. Other flavors of after-dinner liqueurs contain even more -- potentially up to 40 grams per serving.
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