Our daily coffee is such a necessity for many of us, whether that cup in the morning or an afternoon pick me up. Maybe you’re someone who enjoys sipping on coffee all day long, so the question arises, “How many calories are in coffee?”
The answer will vary depending on how you prepare your coffee once it’s brewed, but let’s first look at black coffee.
A cup of black coffee without any added sugar, creamer, syrup, or milk will have about two calories in it. Of course, adding anything to your cup of coffee will increase the number of calories consumed, especially if you’re buying from a coffee shop.
Let’s dig a little deeper into how you might prepare your coffee at home or buy it from your local coffee shop to see how the calories add up. You may be surprised by what you see.
While black coffee does not contain any fat or cholesterol, you will be drinking some calories, even though it is minimal. If you choose to drink your coffee black with nothing added to it, you’re consuming anywhere from 2 to 5 calories for an eight-ounce cup.
These calories come from the protein and carbohydrates found in the coffee. About sixty-five percent of the calories found in black coffee are from protein, while about thirty-five percent of the calories are from carbohydrates. It’s important to note that this is not a significant source of protein for our bodies.
What Else is Found in Black Coffee?
We’ve already discussed how there are some proteins and carbohydrates found in coffee but are there any other vitamins or minerals? The answer is yes. Black coffee contains potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and significant amounts of Vitamin B3.
Check out the table below for how many milligrams of each mineral in an 8-ounce cup of black coffee contains.
How Do You Take Your Coffee?
While numerous people drink their coffee black, some enjoy sprucing it up a little. There are tons of options out there on what to add to a cup of coffee from sugar, artificial sweeteners, honey, syrups, cream, milk, and flavored creamers.
The choices are endless, and each come with their own added calories. Let’s look at the calories of some of the more popular options people use.
Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
One of the primary ways people sweeten their coffee is with white sugar. Adding sugar enhances the coffee’s natural flavors and reduces any bitterness the coffee may have. When adding a teaspoon of sugar to a cup of coffee, you will be adding 16 calories. Sugar in moderation is part of a well-balanced diet, but be cautious of adding too much sugar into your daily diet.
Next on our list is artificial sweeteners. Some of the more popular options include Sweet’n Low, Equal, Splenda, all of which have zero calories. Sweet’n Low is made from dextrose and saccharin and has quite the aftertaste. Equal is made with Aspartame, and it is all artificial. Splenda is a sucralose sweetener that is one hundred times sweeter than sugar.
Stevia is another zero-calorie sugar alternative but is not an artificial sweetener. Instead, it is a natural sweetener derived from the leaves of the plant species Stevia Rebaudiana and is sweeter than white sugar.
Next, we have honey, my husband’s favorite way to sweeten his coffee. Honey is a great natural and healthy sweetener. However, it is going to add some calories to your coffee. With 1 Tablespoon of honey, you will add 64 calories to your drink.
Maple Syrup is another option, and I’m not talking about Aunt Jemima. Natural maple syrups have many health benefits and have 52 calories for a single Tablespoon.
Cinnamon is a common ingredient used to sweeten coffee and has zero calories.
Many of us love all the vanilla-flavored whipped cream our local coffee shops put on our coffees, but this can add a lot of unwanted calories. Instead, try adding a little bit of vanilla extract. This won’t necessarily sweeten your coffee, but it will add some nice vanilla flavoring. For 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract, you will only be adding four calories.
The last sweetener we will look at is nutmeg. While nutmeg is something you may have in your spice cabinet, it can also be used to sweeten your coffee. It is a healthy option that contains manganese and only four calories in one teaspoon.
Adding Milk to Your Coffee
The use of various kinds of milk in coffees is very common when preparing one’s favorite cup of coffee because it optimizes flavor and reduces bitterness. Since milk is made up of fats and proteins, this enhances a coffee’s mouthfeel and changes the texture to a more thick and smooth cup of coffee.
Now, everyone likes a different amount of milk in their cup of coffee, so to make things easier, we’re going to see how many calories are in a tablespoon of various types of kinds of milk. If you prefer to put in more, you can multiply the number of calories by how many tablespoons of milk you typically put in your coffee.
Flavored coffee creamers are a favorite among many people. Some popular flavors include vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, caramel, and pumpkin spice. Although there are many different brands and flavors, most dairy-free creamers are made with water, sugar, and vegetable oil.
A majority of these creamers are heavily processed and loaded with sugar, not something we like to hear when you’re counting calories or watching what you put in your body.
One tablespoon of flavored creamers will add approximately 20 calories to your coffee.
Half-and-Half and Heavy Cream
The last coffee additive we will discuss is half-and-half and heavy cream. Half-and-half is made from cream and milk and contains about 10 to 18 percent fat content. If adding 1 Tablespoon of half-and-half to your coffee, you will be adding about 20 calories.
Heavy cream is made of high-fat cream and contains 36 to 40 percent fat. If adding 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream to your coffee, you will be adding about 51 calories.
Compare to Starbucks Favorites
When ordering your coffee drinks at Starbucks or any coffee shop for that matter, they will usually allow you to customize your drink, therefore allowing you to cut some calories. Plus, you can always ask your barista for some assistance and suggestions on getting a good cup of coffee with not so many calories in it.
Here is just a shortlist of some popular drinks from Starbucks and how many calories each has.
If you were to drink an 8-ounce black coffee, you would only consume about 2 to 3 calories. Depending on what you add to your coffee, sugar, milk, flavored creamers, or half-and-half will determine your overall calorie intake.
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