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Is Your Favorite Coffee Drink Making You Gain Weight?

Learn how to cut calories at your local coffee house

by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN  |  2891 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

There is no shortage of coffee houses in the U.S. Whether you live in a small city or large metropolitan area, you will find coffee shops on every corner with gourmet coffee drinks that are truly delicious and provide a caffeine rush as we move through our busy days. These gourmet coffee drinks entered the market place in the mid-1990's and have steadily been increasing in popularity ever since. They consist of espresso-based drinks such as lattes, espressos, café mochas, cappuccinos, and iced coffees. Just hearing the names tempts your taste buds. Seeing the coffee shops on every corner and often in your workplace makes it more convenient than eating breakfast. The sizes vary from 10 to 32 ounces and are often prepared with milk, cream, hydrogenated oils, fats, added sugars, and syrups in addition to the coffee making them much higher in calories than you might expect.

How is the advent of gourmet coffee affecting weight? A recent study analyzed the gourmet coffee consumption of 165 women attending Simmons College in Boston, MA. The researchers found that the gourmet coffee drinkers had a 206 calorie increase in a typical day and a 32 gram higher sugar intake than the non-gourmet coffee drinkers. This kind of calorie increase can lead to a gradual weight gain over time averaging about 20 pounds per year. Plus the sugar consumption can lead to blood sugar surges that, for some individuals, may cause the body to store more calories as fat. To top that off, the sugar and caffeine combination can end up stimulating your appetite leading to even more calories consumed during a typical day.

Wonder how many calories and sugar grams are in your favorite drinks? Here is a list to give you an idea. Oh, and just for reference, 250 extra calories per day will lead to a ½ pound weight increase each week or around 24 pound weight increase in a year. The recommendation for sugar consumption is 12 teaspoons or less per day.

Regular coffee drinks:

Medium brewed coffee – 10 calories, 0 grams sugar

Medium Caffe Americano – 15 calories, 0 grams sugar

Now for the gourmet coffees:

Medium Caffe Latte – 260 calories, 19 grams sugar (5 tsp)

Medium Caffe Mocha – 400 calories, 33 grams sugar (8 tsp)

Medium Caramel Apple Cider – 410 calories, 68 grams sugar (17 tsp)

Medium Caramel Macchiato – 310 calories, 34 grams sugar (9 tsp)

Medium Hot Chocolate – 350 calories, 40 grams sugar (10 tsp)

Medium Chai Tea Latte- 240 calories, 41 grams sugar (10 tsp)

Medium White Chocolate Mocha – 510 calories, 55 grams of sugar (14 tsp)

There is no doubt about it: Gourmet coffee drinks are good, but the reality is they are equivalent to eating a dessert. If you are trying to manage you weight then it is best to keep gourmet coffee drinks to a once in awhile treat rather than an every day habit.

About the Author

Meri Raffetto is a Registered Dietitian, and a columnist for Work It, Mom! and the founder of Real Living Nutrition Services, an online weight loss program that empowers people to make small changes s

Read more by Meri Raffetto RD, LDN

1 comment so far...

  • *sigh* it is so true. I was drinking a grande skim orange mocha or caramel machiato or whatever about twice a day. i decided that was way to expensive and went down to 1 a week. lost 2 lbs in that week. INSANE! but hey, save money AND lose weight? what a deal! ha!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 30th October 2007