Is that morning beverage you are drinking coffee or a hot fudge sundae in disguise?
The majority of Americans, myself included, rely on a coffee beverage to kick start their mornings, especially hectic workdays. The problem is, with the proliferation of gourmet coffee outlets purveying increasingly indulgent coffee beverage variations, one can consume the calorie equivalent of two full meals in a single coffee drink!
Now, coffee on its own has zero to ten calories. Add some half-and-half (half heavy cream and half whole milk), that is twenty calories per tablespoon. Some chains use light cream—that is thirty calories per tablespoon. If you let them add the cream instead of ordering it on the side, they will add four tablespoons, or 120 calories. Flavored coffees often use either a sugar-based syrup or worse, high fructose corn syrup. Either way, that’s another sixteen calories per teaspoon. A large flavored coffee with cream is approximately 340 calories, 54 grams of carbohydrates—46 grams of that is sugar, 12 grams of fat, and over one-third of your recommended daily saturated fat limit (7 to 8 grams).
Gourmet coffee beverages usually include espresso coffee (zero calories), but liberally use whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and/or flavored syrups to entice bleary-eyed hungry consumers. A large flavored latte (espresso with steamed whole milk) with whipped cream will cost your waistline 450 to 700 calories, 20 to 27 grams of fat, and 52 to 99 grams of carbs—eek! No matter how easy it is to burn calories on the Cybex Arc Trainer, you don't want your coffee to make your workout a wash!
Fortunately, chain restaurants and coffee outlets are required to post and make available the nutrition information of their foods and beverages. If you are tempted to treat yourself to a little more than the typical “cup o’ joe” with a modest serving of cream and sugar, at least educate yourself about what you are about to consume so you know how to fit it into your healthy food plan and appropriate daily calorie requirements.
Fitness Enthusiast and Guest Blogger