Over the past few years, coffee drinks have blossomed into elaborate concoctions, with sweet, rich toppings that can add hundreds of calories to what was once a simple cup of joe.
We asked Shirley Vouris, clinical dietitian at Galter LifeCenter, to look at five popular coffee drinks and tell us what she thinks of the content. Are they healthy? Should these be once-a-week treats?
With the exception of the non-fat caramel cappuccino and the brewed coffee, said Vouris, each of these drinks has the same amount of fat as two slices of bacon — only in this case, the fat comes from milk, whipped cream and chocolate, so you're gaining calories. A tablespoon of whipped cream adds more than 50 calories, and a tablespoon of sugar adds about 50 calories.
But Vouris isn’t necessarily against your enjoying these drinks. This amount of fat and sugar can fit into a healthy diet if you’re exercising and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and other healthy, lean foods.
“If you’re eating unhealthily in general, the high-fat and high-sugar coffee drinks can add up to unwanted calories," she said. "But if you’re exercising, making healthy daily choices like a salad at lunch and veggies and chicken at dinner, it’s OK to have one special drink on a daily basis.”
She does draw the line at coffee drinks that are nearing the 1,000-calorie mark.
“Those are more like an ice cream drink and that’s too much fat and sugar,” she said.
All of these drinks are about 250-300 calories each (except for the non-fat caramel cappuccino and the brewed coffee). If you have one a week instead of five, you’re cutting out up to 1,200 calories a week from your diet. Since 3,500 calories equals one pound, you’re making a serious impact by shaving a pound out of your diet every three weeks.
If you just can’t resist your favorite coffee beverage, Vouris has a few tricks:
- Order a 12 oz serving, rather than 16 oz. Add hot water if you want more.
- Reduce the fat by using non-fat milk instead of whole milk.
- If you want the chocolate or caramel on top, ask for ¼ of the drizzle.
- Use sugar substitutes when adding your own sweeteners.
- Consume one fewer coffee drink a week to cut down on calories.
- Go online to see the complete content of your favorite drinks, and make informed decisions from there.
|Coffee Drink||Calories||Total Fat||Cholestrol||Sodium||Total Carbs||Fiber||Sugars|
|Brewed coffee (non-fat milk) 16oz||70||0g||<5mg||90mg||10g||0g||10g|
|Double Cholate Chip Frappuccino (whole milk)||290||8g||15mg||250mg||53g||2g||48g|
|Non Fat Caramel Cappuccino 12oz (non-fat milk)||150||0g||5mg||120mg||33g||0g||32g|
|Small Mocha 12oz (non-fat milk)||240||5g||5mg||130mg||41g||0g||34g|
|Mocha Spiced Latte Medium 16 oz (whole milk)||330||9g||35mg||140mg||53g||2g||48g|