Losing weight is extremely difficult, especially since gaining it is far easier with all the different foods that tempt us. Some of our favorite snacks are among the worst things we can introduce to our bodies due to their high caloric and comparatively low nutritional value. These foods lure us in with their flavor and trap us in a cycle of constant consumption. Once we discover a snack or meal we enjoy, it can be difficult to give it up despite its negative effect on our weight or health. Nevertheless, overcoming the impulses and desires that drive us to eat these unhealthy foods or modify them to make them less damaging is possible.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest offenders of weight gain in modern dietary habits is the morning cups of coffee we consume. Seeing people not drinking coffee in the mornings or throughout the day is rarer than the opposite. Some people do not realize that a large portion of their caloric intake results from coffee consumption. The way we enjoy coffee can differ radically depending on personal tastes or preferences, making other preparations less palatable.
Unfortunately, these preferences have a way of increasing the caloric value of coffee and making it less healthy. That is why it is important to know how to cut those extra calories out of your coffee.
How Many Calories Are in Coffee?
Before we get into how you can reduce the calories of your coffee, you might be wondering how many calories are in it in the first place. The answer is: it depends. A cup of black coffee has 1 calorie to its name, but few people drink black coffee anymore. Nowadays, people adulterate their drinks with additional ingredients to make the flavor less intense since black coffee is known for its bitter flavor. This flavor can be overwhelming for those with more sensitive palates or people with a disdain for bitter food or drink.
Adding flavor adapters like sugar or milk is common practice, with some people forgoing brewing coffee themselves in favor of coffee shops. While these can improve your morning coffee's flavor profile, they do little to mitigate the caloric value. The trick is figuring out what to remove from coffee to lower the calorie count without compromising your preferred flavor.
#1: Change the Milk You Use
Some people employ milk to cut down the bitter taste of coffee and lighten the flavor profile. Milk is also key to certain alternative coffee preparations like cappuccinos, which employ steamed milk as a critical part of the coffee style. Some people refuse to drink their coffee without milk since they cannot stand the intense flavor of black coffee. The use of milk as a flavor modifier is understandable since it is practical and meshes well with coffee's standard flavor profile. Unfortunately, milk is not free of calories and can greatly increase the caloric value of your morning coffee.
One cup of whole milk averages around 150 calories, which is not overly significant in the grand scheme of things, but few people restrict themselves to a single cup of coffee daily. Most coffee drinkers have multiple cups throughout the day and prepare them the same way as the first cup. This means every cup of coffee prepared with whole milk adds 150 calories. The average American drinks 3 cups of coffee daily, meaning whole milk users ingest 450 calories of milk alone. To avoid this, coffee drinkers who use milk should consider switching from whole milk to skim.
On average, 1 cup of skim milk has 90 calories, 60 calories less than whole milk. Switching to skim milk means your coffee only has an additional 270 calories, which is a vast improvement over almost 500.
#2: Reconsider Creamers
Coffee creamers are often used to alter the flavor profile of coffee and make it easier to stomach. Creamers often replace milk for most coffee drinkers and come in various flavors to radically modify the coffee's flavor. Some creamers have a simple vanilla flavor, while others can be as complex as cinnamon roll or Reese's peanut butter cup.
These creamers can make drinking coffee a flavorful experience many people are eager to experience. Unfortunately, coffee creamers possess a calorie count (not to mention high sugar content) that makes it detrimental to those seeking to minimize their weight gain. The most popular coffee creamer available on the market is Nestle's Coffee Mate brand, namely the French vanilla flavor.
While the Coffee Mate brand is very popular, especially given its range of exotic seasonal flavors, its calorie count is not negligible. While there is a zero-sugar version of most flavors, French vanilla has a calorie count of 15 for the zero-sugar version and 35 for the regular. Even if you employ the zero-sugar variant, that means an extra 45 calories daily once you have had all 3 cups. The regular version equates to 105 extra calories daily.
Some flavors have higher calorie counts that can radically increase your daily calorie intake. It is best to forgo creamer altogether in favor of milk and possibly sugar to avoid the calories in coffee that creamers produce. Otherwise, you risk introducing more calories than you want to your diet.
#3: Change Your Sweetener
One of the common additions to a cup of coffee is sugar or a sweetener that improves the sweetness of the coffee and mitigates or overpowers the bitter flavor of the coffee. Most people opt for traditional sugar packets to accomplish this goal, but others use artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Sweet 'n Low. The use of sweeteners in coffee is common, with the average American adding 3 teaspoons of sugar to their coffee.
Three teaspoons of raw sugar amount to 41.3 calories, which means an extra 123.9 calories with the 3-cup average. If you cannot abide black coffee without a sweetener, you might be looking for an alternative that will not add as many calories. Fortunately, most artificial sweeteners consider this.
The average artificial sweetener has 0 calories, though several use unhealthy additives to achieve the flavor and maintain low calorie counts. The healthiest sweetener on the market is Stevia, which boasts 0 calories and has the fewest additives out of the available sweeteners. While it is technically healthier to have your coffee without sweeteners, Stevia is the best option for those who need a sweetener to stomach coffee and do not want to overload it with empty calories.
#4: Forget the Whip
Some people enjoy making an iced coffee Frappuccino (a blended beverage created by the popular Starbucks coffee chain) in their homes. Other times, they go to a coffee shop like Starbucks to buy one if they cannot make one themselves. Either way, most Frappuccino beverages are served with a generous amount of whipped cream to add to the sweet flavor.
Whipped cream is a common sight on ice cream sundaes, pastries, and iced coffee drinks and remains a popular addition to several other confections. Unfortunately, whipped cream is more of the cream used in coffee creamers with significantly more sugar. As a result, whipped cream has a significant calorie count that makes it one of the worst toppings for anything.
On average, 2 tablespoons of whipped cream can account for up to 104 calories, which is significant if you also use whole milk in your drink. Some people even add sugar to a drink that is already very sweet, so minimizing your use of whipped cream can easily cut off some excess calories. Unfortunately, no genuine substitutes for whipped cream mitigate the calorie count and produce the same effect. The best tip for whipped cream is to cut it out completely or limit it to a rare treat.
#5: Make It Yourself
Modern society expects us to be on the go almost 24/7, making it difficult to enjoy a calm morning that enables us to prepare breakfast or indulge in most morning routines. As a result, most people forgo making their own coffee in the morning and instead pull into the drive-thru of a coffee shop. Shops like Starbucks, Dunkin', and Dutch Bros have risen to the top of modern coffee shops due to their convenience and flavor.
Starbucks serves approximately 60,000,000 people per week, a significant portion of the general population. While Starbucks and its rivals are extremely popular and are frequented by millions, they are not known for their low-calorie beverages. Being the creator of Frappuccino drinks, Starbucks employs several sugary syrups, drizzles, and toppings that increase the caloric value of their drinks.
The most popular Starbucks drink as of 2022 is the iced white chocolate mocha which, like all Starbucks beverages, comes in 3 sizes. The smallest is 310 calories, while the largest is 560, making the drinks calorie-heavy and less nutritious. These caloric values do not account for the customizations Starbucks customers are known to make to their drinks.
Additional sweeteners, extra espresso shots, etc., all increase the base caloric value of the drinks. Most customizations lead to significant spikes in calories that introduce massive amounts of sugar and caffeine. Starbucks' rivals are no better, with their beverages being just as bad for us. The only effective way to avoid these coffee shop drinks' overly high caloric values is to brew coffee at home.
Brewing at home is more time-consuming but allows us to control what goes into our coffee directly and in what quantities. It also allows us to exercise the tips mentioned thus far, so our coffee has as few calories as possible. While this might require you to wake up a little earlier or take some of your preferred roasts to work, it will ultimately be worth it for those trying to minimize their caloric intake from coffee.
#6: Try Black Coffee Again
As hard as it may be, you might want to consider revisiting black coffee and adapting to the taste. A cup of black coffee has 1 calorie, making it the healthiest form coffee can take and the most effective. The problem with black coffee is that it is one of the hardest coffee flavors to ingest since black coffee is the most bitter. This makes black coffee an acquired taste that we must adapt to over time. Fortunately, certain grinds and roasts have different flavor profiles that, when prepared properly, are more palatable.
By finding a quality grind, you can brew black coffee that is less bitter and has a more elegant taste. Drinking black coffee will significantly lower your caloric intake and turn a 500 to 800-calorie drink into a 1-calorie beverage that helps you get your day started. The trick is finding a grind or brew with great flavor and a low caloric value.
Keep it All Natural!
Drinking coffee is an extremely common and popular tool for improving energy levels and starting our days properly. While coffee is essential to some, it can negatively affect our ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy one. With all the additives we willingly put in our coffee, a single cup's calorie count can drastically increase to the same value as a slice of cake.
Because the goal is to sweeten the bitter flavor, most additives include sugary creamers and sweeteners known for their high caloric value. However, it is possible to reduce the calorie count in an average cup of coffee by adjusting how we prepare the drink. Finding a brew that maintains the low caloric value normal coffee has is also important.
We at Bella All Natural can help you find coffee that is low in calories and designed to help you lose weight. Our Skinny Iced Coffee allows you to brew a sweet-tasting and health-conscious beverage with all the benefits coffee from Starbucks provides. The best part is that we created our products to provide tools made from natural ingredients. This means you can enjoy a morning cup of coffee that is healthy and made without artificial compounds that are found in most coffee additives. We encourage you to visit our website if you want to change how you drink coffee. Regardless of your decision, remember always to keep it all natural!