Coffee is very low in calories and for most people a healthy beverage. It is packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and vitamins that help your body fight off invaders all day long. The caffeine stimulant can get the mind firing on all cylinders and help burn fat throughout the day. It puts the metabolism system into a higher gear so your body can get the energy it needs during exercise. Dr. Donald Hensrud at the Mayo Clinic confirms that recent studies suggest that coffee can even lower the risk of certain diseases. Healthy coffee does not seem that difficult to find after all.
So what is unhealthy about drinking coffee?
Well, what you or the barista put in the coffee can have a massive effect on the overall ‘health’ of each cup. For a truly healthy coffee we will need to evaluate what creams, sugars, and other flavors we add.
Double Caramel Heavy Cream Extra Sugar Jumbo Latte Please!
The amount of calories in a cup of black coffee is negligible (think 0-5). Often the calories you burn lifting the glass a few times already compensate.
But the story doesn’t end there. Black coffee is too bitter for most to stomach on its own. So do you want to know what each flavor-boosting addition to your coffee does?
No? Well we will tell you anyways.
For every tablespoon of whole cream, add 50 calories. A teaspoon of sugar tacks on an additional 15 calories. Being honest with how many tablespoons of cream and teaspoons of sugar go into your cup each day, you can see how a healthy cup of black can coffee can quickly go north of 200 calories.
Add in flavored syrups, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce and your healthy coffee just morphed into a liquid dessert. Favorite concoctions from popular chains can hit close to 500 calories a pop!
So what can you do starting today to turn an artery-clogging cup of liquid sugar into a cup of healthy coffee? Strip it down.
Ditch the Cream
Cream is loaded in fat and other harmful calories to your body. It is best to eliminate cream altogether from your coffee but it can be tough. Try this: slowly step down in increments.
First step: switch from full cream to low-fat creams. After two weeks on low fat creams, step down again to half and half. Any compromise in taste just remember that you are cutting your calories in half!
Don’t stop there. Next step is whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, and eventually skim milk. All other things held constant, you just cut the calorie count in your coffee by 90% in three months!
Remember what an accumulating effect this can have if added up over a month, a year, many years….it can save your health.
For a healthy, zero-to-low calorie sweetener try Stevia or Organic Agave. Both are natural sweeteners that can take the bitter edge off of a cup of coffee. Our bodies absorb these sweeteners at a slower rate. This allows our systems to control the sugar spike commonly associated with table sugar and manufactured fructose-based products. Plus, they taste great.
So next time you are looking for a healthy slimming coffee think about what’s inside. Most unhealthy elements associated with coffee stem from the cream, sugar, and other flavors added to improve the flavor. Coffee on its own and in moderation is not attributed to very few health concerns. It bears repeating because coffee can in fact help our bodies fight off many diseases!
So we come full circle. Next time you are looking for healthy coffee, look no further than the original coffee you have in your cup. Naked is the way to go!