Coffee by itself... No.

 

A regular cup of brewed coffee has less than five calories and no fat. Coffee is chock full of antioxidants, and the caffeine in coffee has been shown to be a great performance enhancer in the gym. 

Plus coffee is awesome! I love the taste and social rituals surrounding coffee. I just bought a new grinder and french press and can't wait for Sunday morning, sitting outside with Christa in the cool, quiet morning enjoying a freshly pressed cup of hot coffee... Ahhhh

The answer to this question changes if you start to docker up your cup of morning coffee with sweeteners, syrups, and other additions... especially if you have 2-3 cups of coffee every morning.

I usually start my day with a 10oz cup of dark roast, brewed through my Keurig. I drink my coffee with half & half, no sugar. A few mornings ago I decided to measure the amount of cream I include in my coffee. I found that to get my coffee to a medium tan color I like, I needed 2oz (4 tablespoons) of half & half. 

How many calories are in 2oz of cream? 80 calories.

If I drink 3 cups of coffee throughout the morning, that's an extra 240 calories that typically I haven't considered in the past. 

What if you are someone who likes their coffee "light" and needs another ounce or two of half & half in your coffee? The calorie total of your coffee just went to 120 or 160 calories per cup... and all your adding is half & half!! Have three cups throughout the morning, and you just increased your daily caloric intake by 360 or 480 calories! 

Sugar adds another 16 calories per teaspoon. 

What is a coffee lover to do?

  • Nothing... your morning coffee is non-negotiable. You will continue to drink it exactly the way you love it. You would rather make adjusts elsewhere to stay within your caloric goal.
  • Cut back on the cream and/or sugar.
  • Use lower calorie substitutes for half & half... 2% milk, almond milk
  • Use lower calorie substitutes for sugar... cinnamon stimulates the same taste buds as sugar and can be a good alternative.
  • Don't drink coffee anymore... Just kidding! 

"Hidden calories" like these can pop up during your day and add up to a substantial percentage of total calories for the day. The more you know and can recognize these hidden calories, the more control you will have in reaching performance and nutrition goals.

Written By: Mike Doran