This one beverage is the center of many days. It's from a bean that grows in nature so it must be good for us right? Well, that depend what you put in your coffee. A gingerbread latte is a far cry from a black cup of coffee.
There are as many ways to make coffee as there are ways to drink it. Black, with cream and sugar or a fancier version like the latte or cappuccino. Espresso machine, french press, pour over, good ole drip coffee, there are many ways to make coffee. Some swear grinding the beans right before you brew makes all the difference. However you come by your morning cup let's look at what's hiding in your coffee so you can decide whether a change for better health is in order.
When you see the sugar free varieties it's not better! These products tend to be more highly processed and packed with artificial additives. If you're going sugar, have the real thing (in moderation). Your body knows what to do with real sugar better than sugar made in a lab.
Almond milk or coconut milk- Non-dairy milks are a good alternative for lactose intolerant individuals or those having other food sensitivities/allergies.
Honey - a go-to natural sweetener which compliments coffee nicely
Spices - cinnamon, cardamon, vanilla extract, unsweetened cocoa powder are all healthy ways to give your coffee a kick! Use as liberally as you wish.
What does all of this mean? Drink your coffee black. Well not everyone is willing to do that so here are the guidelines:
If you're diabetic, pre-diabetic, watching your sugar intake or want to give your pancreas a break pick the no to low sugar options. Almond milk or half and half are good choices.
If you have high LDL levels (bad cholesterol) watch the fat content. Almond milk, non fat milk or spices are good alternatives to add to your coffee.
If you want to loose weight watch the calories. All the creamer options have calories so use sparingly or better yet use only spices.
We are moving into fall and the Pumpkin Spiced Latte is a popular item on the Starbucks menu. A grande has 2 shots of espresso, 4 pumps flavoring, and 2%milk. This means 380 calories, 14 grams of fat and a whopping 50 grams of sugar. That's a lot of fat to drink and more sugar than in a can of soda.
The drink with the highest sugar content is the Salted Caramel Mocha Coffee Frappuccino. A grande has 4 pumps of flavoring, sugary toppings and whole milk. This means 420 calories, 15 grams of fat and wait for it, 63 grams of sugar. That's over twice the amount of sugar recommended for the entire day in one drink!
This honor goes to the Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino. With 510 calories and 85 grams of sugar (gulp) it has the highest sugar content too but isn't always on the menu. In a 2,000 calorie a day diet, I don't want 1/4 of that gone with one drink. How about you? This is the unhealthiest item on the menu.
Tall = 12 ounces, Grande = 16 ounces, Venti = 20 ounces Who really NEEDS a Venti?
Starbucks has the most customize-able menu of anywhere so use it to your advantage. Try ordering your favorite drink with less pumps of flavoring. I promise you will not miss one less pump and eventually cut the 4 pumps down to 1. If you're watching fat intake or would rather eat real food with your fat for the day, cut the whole milk to 2% or go non-dairy. Attempt less caffeine in your drink. Ask for 1 shot instead of 2 or go from your regular Venti to a Grande. Another easy tip is extra ice. The ice takes up space so you're drinking less caffeine and calories overall. Skip the toppings. Put a hold on the whipped cream, chocolate or caramel drizzle.
Here's the bottom line. Don't drink your calories, fat and sugar for the day. If this is the start-of-your-day-drink, leave room for the rest of the day's calorie, fat and sugar consumption. We know caffeine should be drunk in moderation and if you like an iced coffee or tea later in the day reducing your morning cup is smart. Be kind to your body.
Until next time
Be fit, Be strong, be smart about what you drink,
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