A growing body of evidence suggests that moderate coffee intake is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet. But if you’re watching your weight, don’t overlook the calories from milk, cream, and sweeteners that you may add to your coffee. As a 2017 study in the journal Public Health found, they can add up fast.
On average, coffee drinkers who used “caloric add-ins” consumed an extra 69 calories a day, mostly from sugar, compared with those who drank their coffee “black.” That adds up to 25,185 extra calories a year, which could, at least in theory, lead to a weight gain of 7 pounds.
To lighten your load:
- Cut the amount of caloric sweetener you use (from two packets of sugar, for instance, to one packet). Or use non-caloric sweeteners, in moderation.
- Better yet, try no sweetener at all: Many people who stop using sweeteners are pleasantly surprised when they realize they enjoy the flavor of the coffee alone.
- Use milk instead of cream. To save more calories, use low-fat or nonfat milk instead of whole milk. Be aware that non-dairy creamers add about 30 calories per tablespoon.
- If you use soy milk, almond milk, or other non-dairy “milk,” be aware that many of them have a lot of added sugar. Unsweetened versions and ones with sugar substitutes have far fewer calories.
- Order smaller coffee beverages at cafes. And skip the whipped cream and flavoring syrups.