If you made shedding a few pounds one of your goals for the new year, you are probably looking for ways to cut excess calories. The following looks at whether you can make coffee a part of your new healthy lifestyle.
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Is Coffee Fattening?
The simple answer to this question is no. A cup of black coffee only has 2 to 5 calories and contains no sugars, fats, or carbohydrates that can affect your waistline. Coffee is also the leading source of antioxidants for most Americans. These compounds play a vital role in protecting us from everything from heart disease to cancer, which means that coffee has a rightful place in any healthy diet.
Both regular and decaffeinated coffee can also help reduce hunger cravings, which can help you eat less. Caffeine also increases the amount of free fatty acids in the bloodstream as well as the amount of adrenaline and neurotransmitters that improve mental focus. This means that a cup of coffee can help increase the duration and effectiveness of your daily workout. Coffee may also have a slight impact on the rate at which your body oxidizes fat and burns calories.
Where You Can Go Wrong:
To avoid accidentally packing on the pounds, it is important to avoid drinking your daily calorie allotment. Condiments, such as sugar and cream, can add anywhere from 20 to 50 calories per tablespoon, which can quickly add up. If you drink four to five cups of coffee a day, you can easily drink the calorie equivalent of a cheeseburger.
Calorie Counts of Common Coffee Condiments:
- Heavy whipping cream contains 52 calories per tablespoon.
- One tablespoon of half-and-half has 20 calories.
- A tablespoon of sugar will set you back 49 calories.
- Non-fat milk only has 5 calories per tablespoon.
The majority of people underestimate the amount of cream and sugar that they pour into their coffee. If you add extras to your coffee, it is a good idea to measure the amount that you actually use to get an accurate estimate of the calorie count of your cup of joe.
The big culprits are the fancy coffee drinks, including lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and macchiatos. These drinks are loaded with syrups, sugar, and whipped cream. While they are certainly delicious, these drinks can easily contain up to 400 calories. Even two of these drinks a week can add up to 12 pounds over the course of a year.
Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain:
One of the negative effects of coffee is anxiety and feeling “wired.” This can make it difficult to sleep if the coffee is consumed late in the day. Studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation can decrease energy and slow metabolism, which can cause weight gain. You are also more prone to eat unhealthy foods in an attempt to stay awake.
Drinking coffee is a social activity that allows us to reconnect with family and friends. The coffee is frequently served alongside pastries, desserts, and other fatty foods, which we often consume without thinking. This means that while coffee itself does not cause weight gain, it may be combined with things that can cause you to add on extra pounds.
What You Can Do:
- Drink coffee in moderation, preferably only two to three cups a day.
- Do not drink coffee late in the afternoon to avoid sleep disruptions.
- Limit your intake of high-calorie coffee drinks. These drinks should be a rare treat rather than a daily or even weekly occurrence.
- If you do not like your coffee black, try to opt for low-calorie condiments, such as cinnamon, fat-free milk, and stevia.
- Avoid the temptation to eat mindlessly while drinking a cup of coffee.