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Carbohydrate Counter for Alcoholic Beverages

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
Carbohydrate Counter for Alcoholic Beverages
A woman and man are drinking alcohol. Photo Credit Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you're diabetic or just mindful of your diet, tracking your intake of carbohydrates is likely a part of your life. And while you might be familiar with the rough number of carbs in your food, questions can occur when you're enjoying a night out with friends or just sipping an alcoholic beverage at home with your loved one. A basic understanding of the carbs in alcoholic beverages helps you know what you can drink within the boundaries of your meal plan.

Regular and Light Beer

If you enjoy tipping back a few beers with friends, the important rule to remember is that regular beer contains more carbs per serving than light beer. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a 12.5-ounce serving of regular beer has about 12.6 grams of carbs. Light beer, however, has just 5.8 grams of carbs in roughly the same serving size. This trend is consistent regardless of the brand of beer you enjoy.

White Wine

Although the carbohydrate value of wine differs slightly among brands, various types of white wine typically have a similar number of carbs. A 5-ounce serving of white table wine contains 3.8 grams of carbs. A serving of Riesling, for example, contains slightly more carbs than Chardonnay. Five-ounce servings of the two types of white wine contain 5.5 grams and 3.2 grams, respectively.

Red Wine

Red wine contains a similar number of carbs per serving as white wine. According to the USDA, a 5-ounce serving of red table wine has 3.8 grams of carbs, which is the same as a serving of white table wine. The carb count of various types of red wine doesn't vary significantly. A 5-ounce serving of Merlot has 3.7 grams of carbs, and the same serving of Zinfandel has 4.2 grams of carbs.

Distilled Spirits

Distilled spirits don't contain any carbohydrates per serving. Whether you choose vodka, rum, gin or whiskey, any serving of the alcohol is free of carbs. The carb count of a mixed drink, however, can be notably high. If you enjoy the blend of rum with cola, for example, note that a 4-ounce serving of cola contains 13 grams of carbs. If counting your carbs, choose a diet version of your preferred soda, as diet versions are lower in carbs.

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