Could Your Morning Cup of Coffee Be Expanding Your Waistline?

Could Your Morning Cup (or Two) of Coffee Be Expanding Your Waistline

Is Your Morning Cup (or Two) of Coffee Expanding Your Waistline?

Are you getting more calories, fat and sugar than you bargained for in your morning cup of coffee?

Every morning, Joan picks up a large vanilla latte on her way to work. Since she considers this her breakfast, she forgoes the “lite” version in favor of the regular.

Charles makes his way to the office break room two or three times a day to fill up his large coffee mug. He thinks nothing of adding three creamers and two sugars each time.

Americans love their coffee. More than half of adults report drinking three cups or more daily. Though coffee by itself is virtually free of calories, fat and sugar (it has only two calories per eight-ounce cup), it’s more common than not to add some form of milk and/or sweetener.

If you’re not careful, you could be getting more calories, fat and sugar from that cuppa joe than you bargained for. Some drinks climb over 500 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Dessert in a mug?

You know what “souped up” coffee is. It may contain the likes of ice cream, whipped cream, caramel and other sugary flavorings. And depending on the size (up to 20 ounces), it may be equivalent to sipping a quarter pound cheeseburger or two Bavarian cream donuts through a straw!

You can easily drink an extra 240 calories each day as Charles was doing if you just add creamer and sugar. Here are the caloric facts about common coffee extras:

ExtrasCalories(per Tablespoon)
Cream52
Half-and-half20
Whole milk9
Sugar48
Plain or flavored nondairy creamer (powder)33-45
Plain or flavored light nondairy creamer (powder)25-40
Plain or flavored nondairy creamer (liquid)20-35
Plain or flavored light nondairy creamer (liquid)10-20

Lightening up at home and work

What you add to your coffee has an impact on your overall calorie, fat and sugar intake for the day. Here are some ways to keep the calories and fat to a minimum:

  • At the office, keep 2% milk in the break room fridge. If your workplace only carries liquid or powdered creamers, it’s likely you’re not only one who would be grateful for something less processed to pour into your brew.
  • Make a compromise. If you love flavored creamers, use just a splash of flavored light creamer and then add extra plain low-fat milk.
  • Stick to smaller amounts of sugar. One teaspoon has 16 calories. If you find your spoon is visiting the sugar bowl more than once, you are adding too much. Cut back and you will soon get used to the taste of less sugar.
  • Mind your sugar substitutes. A small amount of sugar substitute is fine, but don’t use it as an excuse to then eat a donut with your low-cal coffee.

At the coffee shop

You don’t have to give up your favorite coffee drink altogether, or drink it black. Most any shop offering coffee drinks will have plenty of healthy alternatives, too. Here are some tips to make a wiser choice:

  • Go nonfat. A 16-ounce cappuccino made with nonfat milk has only 80 to 100 calories and zero fat. Add one packet of sugar for a little sweetness and you’re only adding 16 calories and 4 grams of sugar.
  • Skip the whipped cream. It can add about 120 calories and from 7 to 12 grams of fat.
  • Limit the sugar. If you order a sweetened drink, ask for just one pump of sugar-free syrup. If you order an unsweetened drink, sprinkle cinnamon or vanilla flavoring for some extra flavor.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of using your morning mug of coffee as a breakfast substitute. High-calorie coffee drinks contribute nothing but excess sugar and saturated fat. And low-calorie versions are no match for a well-rounded meal.

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