If you want to lose a few pounds, should you cut coffee out of your diet? Does coffee have calories or is it the perfect beverage for a low-calorie regime?
I’m not ashamed to say that I drink more coffee than the rest of my friends. After all, I have some friends that never skip Taco Tuesday (or Taco Thursday) and some that have a talent of finding the perfect wine to pair with any dinner.
Whenever someone asks me if coffee is unhealthy, I present them with my cheeseburger analogy. Beef isn’t inherently bad for you (just don’t overindulge) but that cheeseburger is certainly not the healthiest thing on the menu.
So, does my overused analogy have a leg to stand on? Does coffee have calories? Is coffee good for you?
Let’s find out.
So, Does Coffee Have Calories?
First, let’s add a little perspective.
A can of soda can contain 150 calories or more. A medium chocolate milkshake from your favorite fast food chain can contain up to 380 calories.
If coffee does contain calories, how does it compare to these other beverages? Well, according to the USDA, a cup of black coffee that is brewed and prepared with only tap water contains only 2 calories, which is a negligible amount.
Maybe I was onto something with my cheeseburger analogy after all. Since once you start to add more things to the coffee – like sugar and milk – the caloric value skyrockets.
How Much Calories Are We Putting into Our Own Coffee?
Black coffee doesn’t have enough calories to make a dent in even the strictest of diets. However, what about other types of coffee?
If you add just a tablespoon of light coffee cream, then you are adding about 30 extra calories to your coffee. At just 20 calories, a tablespoon of half-and-half is a bit better. However, a tablespoon of heavy cream can add over 50 extra calories to your cup of coffee!
Just one tablespoon of sugar can have 48 calories or more. Honey may seem like a safer option at first glance; however, just one tablespoon of this sweet stuff contains approximately 64 calories!
So you see, if you drink black coffee then you don’t have to worry about calories – but the sweeter and creamier you make it, the more calories come into play.
How Much Calories Does Starbucks Coffee Have?
Starbucks – some coffee connoisseurs can easily go without purchasing a beverage from them, while other coffee lovers can’t get enough of the franchise’s tasty drinks. So, does coffee have calories – that put your home brew to shame – when it’s made at Starbucks?
Well, let’s start with the good. A Caffè Americano at Starbucks only has 15 calories – not bad, right? Well, the (Grande) Chai Crème Frappuccino ups the ante into the “bad” territory with a whopping 360 calories.
The Peppermint White Hot Chocolate may look pretty on the outside but it’s a strong contender for king of the “ugly” category, with a terrifying 520 calories!
That’s over 30 times more calories than the Americano and 260 times more calories than a cup of black coffee.
What’s Good About Coffee?
We’ve already established that black coffee doesn’t have a significant amount of calories. It’s the sweeteners and flavorings that add the add the calories.
In addition to this, coffee has negligible amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. So, it’s not particularly filling unless you fill it up with stuff. However, coffee does contain small amount of some micronutrients.
100 ml (3.4 fl oz.) of black coffee contains:
Coffee Could Potentially Boost Your Metabolism
Caffeine is the primary active ingredient that is found in coffee. Although most of us commonly drink it to get a boost of energy or satisfy our cravings, studies have shown that caffeine can actually increase our metabolism.
However, it is worth mentioning that it would take significant amounts of caffeine to cause significant changes. This is why caffeine is only one of many compounds that is present in weight loss supplements.
Still, your daily cups of coffee could help you shed a pound or two if you aren’t filling them with tons of sweeteners. Once caveat that these studies did highlight is the fact that the effect that caffeine has on metabolism diminishes with higher weights. When obese people and lean people were compared, caffeine was shown to be almost three times less effective.
The Final Verdict
Does coffee have calories?
On its own, no. However, all of those sweeteners and flavorings that you or your favorite coffee shop are adding aren’t doing you any favors.
If caloric intake and weight gain are issues that you’re concerned about then don’t worry, you don’t have to go cold turkey from coffee. However, you should consider sticking to the stuff you make at home and using healthier sweeteners.