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How Many Calories in Coffee?

Just how many calories are in a cup of coffee?  Not many it turns out.  A cup of black coffee has anywhere from one to five calories.  Espresso is no different.  When you think about what goes into a cup of black coffee, it actually starts to make sense.  Coffee is mostly just water, with the bitter flavors and oils of coffee contained within it.  Most of the mess of calories that you typically associate with a high-coffee diet come from the things you add to the coffee.  Sugar, creamer, and other products rack up the calories and turn a healthy beverage into an unhealthy mess.


Since the first Starbucks opened in 1971, espresso-based drinks have become commonplace in coffee shops around the United States.  With the rise of American espresso, flavored lattes and other coffee beverages are increasingly the typical sight on the menu in the local shop.  Beverages have become sugary monstrosities, containing everything including milk, and flavoring, and whipped cream.  Common café creations may have anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories!  Even in the home, it’s not common to see people load up their coffee with huge amounts of creamer and sugar.  Consequently coffee has become perceived as less and less healthy by the general public.  Many diets go so far as the shun coffee shop visits from their program.

Believe it or not, coffee actually has a few health benefits.  The most obvious benefit of coffee is its energizing effects.  Coffee is known as the fuel of the working man, and for good reason.  The stimulating effect of coffee allows you to keep working and bettering yourself.  Beyond this, coffee is loaded with antioxidants.  Coffee has on of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any major food.  Evidence suggests that antioxidants may have a role in preventing diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke.  Coffee has also been shown to lower the risk of type II diabetes.  For those looking to lose weight, coffee increases the metabolic rate of the body naturally.  Because of the energizing effects of coffee, having a cup before you hit the gym can be beneficial to your workout.

Counting Calories

So how do you cut down the calories you take in at the coffee shop?  The easiest answer is to not drink anything but black coffee or straight espresso.  Both of these beverages are healthy and easy to fit into any diet.  If you’re not into the taste of straight coffee, there are a few things you can do to alleviate some of the caloric load.  Many coffee shops carry flavoring that is sugar free.  While debates rage about just how healthy sugar-free substances are, they will definitely be lower calorie than their traditional sugary counterparts.  Ask your barista if the shop carries such flavorings.  In the home, buying low calorie creamers will help minimize the dairy calories.  Half and half is generally lower, but many half and half creamers are loaded with sugary flavors to turn your coffee into a sludge.  Most common flavors will come in a regular and a low calorie equivalent.  Go for creamers with no added flavors, or simply one with less calories.

One of the big calorie-adders is any dairy-based products that are included in coffee beverages.  Milk is one of the biggest killers.  A lot of those fancy lattes you see are loaded with milk to give it that creamy texture.  Milk can add the majority of calories to your cup of coffee, sometimes making up half of the overall caloric content.  In order to cut the caloric load, requesting skim milk or 1% milk can go a long ways.  For an even better solution, many coffee shops will make their drinks with soy milk as opposed to dairy milk.  While this is intended for those who are lactose intolerant, soy milk tends to have less overall calories.


In summation, coffee is actually an incredibly healthy beverage.  It’s what you put into it that decides how healthy it is.  Make wise choices with your coffee for those with health on the mind.  Most diets can work coffee into them easily.  Just plan you coffee dosage ahead of time when you step foot into the shop or brew coffee at home.