How many calories are in your coffee?

by Tina Sendin November 05, 2018 5 min read

How many calories are in your coffee?

If you’re trying to lose weight (or at least not gain a few extra pounds), then the best thing to do is eat healthy and go to the gym more religiously, right?

But if you’ve been going at it for a while now and haven’t been seeing much progress, then you may want to look into something else.

Like your coffee consumption.

Now you may ask: what does an innocent cup of joe have to do with weight gain?

Let me tell you.

It’s not as innocent as it seems.

 

"I'm not that innocent." - your favorite cup of coffee (via GIPHY)

 

That cup of coffee you buy on your way to work? It may be sneaking in a few extra calories (more than you’d like and expect). And if you buy more than one cup a day, you may be racking up a few calories from a “dessert” that disguises itself as your go-to caffeine fix.

Here’s the good news though: coffee in itself has almost no calories.

If you want to steer clear of calories but not your usual cup of joe, it’s better to go for a black.

According to Mayo Clinic, “a plain brewed coffee has less than 5 calories - and no fat” [1] while USDA reports that an 8-ounce cup of black only has 2 calories. [2]

That’s next to nothing!

It can even boost your metabolism!

How many calories are in your coffee ADD-INS?

By now, you know what the usual suspect is for calories in coffee, right?

It’s all in the extras that you dress up your coffee with.

A study conducted by the University of Illinois reports: [3]

“More than 160 million people in the US drink coffee or tea on a regular basis, and many of them use sugar, cream, flavored syrups or other calorie-laden additives in their drinks of choice. A new analysis reveals just how much Americans are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea.

Apparently, over 60% of java lovers in America spruce up their coffee with a dash of flavors, cream, sugar and milk, going for that gratifying coffee experience but not really taking note of the calories that add up. And by doing so, they end up consuming an additional 69 calories. [4]

Essentially, many think that their favorite add-ins make coffee so much better, but in the context of weight loss, they’re the frenemy!

In fact, according to Ruopeng An, a professor at the Kinesiology and Community Health of the University of Illinois:

“these add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value.”

So imagine having extra calories every time you have a cuppa, times how many times you have it in a day!

 

Don’t panic - we’ll help you find out how many calories are in each add-on, so you’ll know which ones to get rid of first. Or better yet, go hard and get rid of them altogether!

Here’s a low down of the amount of calories that sneak into your cuppa.

How to keep your coffee low in calories

Here are some of the things you can do to start shedding off those few extra pounds that could come from your favorite cup of joe:

 

Go all black

The most logical thing to do to get rid of extra calories in your coffee is to ditch the add-ins.

Maybe it’s time to start going for black coffee on your next trip to the cafe?

 

The best way to enjoy your cup of black is to pick a high-quality bean, which always tastes so much better. Train your nose (and palate) and sniff the bean type that works best for you!

 

Not all coffees are created equal

If you think it’s impossible to go cold turkey on your favorite add-ins, fret not.

Some types of coffee have almost negligible amounts of calories too! (No need to go for black brewed coffee if that’s too tough - we hear you.)

 Low calorie coffee

But if you want to get rid of some pounds, it’s better to refrain from the following:

  

Kiss the sweetness away

Sugar adds around 16 calories in every teaspoon. That may not be a lot but if you have multiple cups a day (plus chocolates and other sweets in your diet), then a dash of sugar here and there may pack up the pounds.

Some fix this by using artificial sweeteners instead. But while they have fewer calories, research indicates that they might make you feel hungrier than you actually are, [5] and prompt your body to store more fat. [6]

Also, some nutritionists think if you decide to ditch the sugar, you may as well get rid of other forms of sweetener too. Nutritionist Melanie McGrice thinks that artificial sweeteners train the brain to always look for the “sweetness,” making it harder for sweet-tooths to steer clear of other indulgent treats like cakes and chocolates. [7]

The best way to ease off on sugar is to do it gradually so you allow your body to adjust more naturally at its own pace.

Change your milk

You may have seen in the infographics above that milk is another source of unwanted calories from coffee.

If you like your coffee with milk and are a big fan of flat whites, lattes, and cappuccinos, you veer away from extra calories by switching your milk to lower-calorie alternatives.

Just look at this world of difference on the number of calories per type of milk:

 

a cup of whole milk = 150
a cup of skim milk = 90
a cup of almond milk = 30

 

There’s a catch though.

If you like your whole milk and can’t let go just yet, there’s a way around it.

According to Susie Burrell, nutritionist and founder of Shape Me, go ahead and drink your milk whole/full:

“There is the school of thought that full cream milk, or even light, reduced fat milks are more satiating, and hence help us all to ultimately eat less – the number one thing we can all do for weight control.”

In the whole scheme of things, it may be best to go for full cream or reduced fat milks if it satiates you. But if you have multiple cups of flat white, then try switching it up with lower-calorie milks like almond.

Go for a smaller cup

If all these sound too tough for the coffee enthusiast in you, then you can always switch it down from venti size to a tall.

Going for a smaller cup will automatically reduce the amount of calories, by virtue of reduced quantity.

Here’s a pro tip: if you’re after that caffeine kick, order a smaller cup (with or without milk) but with a “double-shot”. That’ll surely turn your coffee into a strong cup of perk!

Conclusion

Of course it's okay to have your go-to coffee - with or without the *fatty* add-ins - every now and then.

But with everything else, moderation is key.

Now that you know how many calories are in every component of your favorite coffee drink, you can decide for yourself which ones you can do away with.

It's also good to check with your local barista the nutrition information in a cup of coffee before placing your order.

Have you got other tips for us? Please feel free to share them below in the comments section!

Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin


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