No Beans About It: Verify Coffee Calorieslinnettegoard | February 21, 2012
During the winter months many have been drinking hot beverages to warm up on these colder winter mornings. The local coffee shops are in full swing as we drink more and more of our favorite flavored coffees and lattes. Maybe you’ve been afraid to ask – “do I need to worry about the calories in coffee?”
That all depends! If the coffee bean itself is flavored – lending the beverage a hint of hazelnut or vanilla, for example – then it doesn’t have any more calories than a regular cup of coffee. That means you’re sipping about 5 calories per 8-ounce cup of plain, black coffee. However, if you’re talking about café latte, cappuccino, café mocha or some other coffee drink that contains whole milk, whipped cream or syrup, then you’ll be adding significantly to the calories per cup. How much? It could be 60 calories or it could be as much as 600 per cup, depending on how much fat and sugar that beverage contains. In fact, some coffee drinks contain more syrup and milk fat than actual coffee!
Now, the questions is, do we need to worry about it? Again, it depends. What other favorites do you treat yourself too? How often do you let yourself order a coffee mocha with whipped cream instead of a non-fat cappuccino? Like anything else, find out what you’re consuming so you can make adjustments to other parts of your diet. (For example, you might skip the fries with lunch so you can have that latte later.)
Ask your coffee shop if it has nutritional information for its menu items. It might be hard to come by, as plain coffee (as well as tea) is exempt from the Nutritional Labeling Education Act because it has so few nutrients to begin with. Remember, a regular, old-fashioned cup of coffee has 6 or 8 fluid ounces, but some versions at your coffee shop might be 20 ounces- and that makes a difference in calorie count, too!
Author: Shari L. Gallup, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.