National Coffee Day 2016: Your Morning Brew May Be Chock Full Of Sugar And Calories

More than half of the adults in America drink coffee every day, and consider it one of the most important routines of their morning. But while the caffeinated pick-me-up has become a staple in adulthood, it can quickly propel you into a sugar-laden downward spiral.

Nearly a third of all coffee drinkers sweeten their cup of joe with sugar or some other form of sweetener, and others are so addicted to the beverage they would rather gain 10 pounds than have to give up coffee for the rest of their lives, according to a recent poll. We consume roughly 400 million cups of coffee each day, and 146 billion each year, which makes the United States the world leader in coffee consumption. This has led many dietitians and doctors to question — what are you putting in your coffee?

Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has looked into the ingredients and nutritional content of sugar-loaded coffee drinks. Starbucks Frappuccinos, which CSPI affectionately refers to as “a milkshake for grownups,” load about 600 calories into 24 ounce drinks, most of which come from the 19 teaspoons’ worth of added sugar and more than 10 grams of saturated fat thanks to the whipped cream. McDonald’s tried its own version called the McCafé Frappés, which are basically sugar, cream, whole milk, coffee extract, whipping cream, and a chocolate or caramel drizzle. If you pull up to the window for a medium, you just ordered yourself 550 calories, 14 teaspoons of added sugar, and 14 grams of saturated fat.

Coffee Dessert Your coffee could quickly turn into a dessert when you add too many toppings. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

It’s shocking, perhaps, to learn that a cup of brewed black coffee only contain 2 calories and no fat. But according to the Mayo Clinic, once you dress up your coffee with you favorite additives, you’re also adding up the calories. Avoiding unnecessary coffee calories by sticking with a plain coffee or add a splash of low-fat milk is still a safe beverage to start your morning off with, so long as you steer clear of the sugar jar.

According to Harvard School of Public Health, moderate coffee consumption may be responsible for a reduction in many disease risks, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and even Parkinson’s disease. So, while it’s important to keep consumption down to a moderate level, it’s equally, if not more important to make sure you’re not indulging in dessert on a daily basis. 

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