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Coffee calories -- how does yours add up?

December 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
A plain old cup of Joe is only five calories, but most people order drinks with all kinds of extras at their local coffee house. Calorically, how much does all that cost?Four hundred and fifty calories: That's about what you're going to get if you order a monster mocha that's full-fatted with whipped cream.

Many of us only order a coffee with maybe a pump of syrup or a couple of packets of sugar, and we think our coffee is calorie-free. But depending on the size of your coffee or how many you're drinking, those calories can really add up.

First up, let's look at the fat and calorie count in your dairy choice. Skim, low fat, and whole milk are going to differ per dash or splash. Keep in mind a quarter-cup is a mere 3 tablespoons -- a common amount added -- but if you are having a latte, you'll be adding a cup's worth, which offers 90 calories for skim and 150 calories for whole milk. A substantial difference.

If you're a sugar-lover, it's 16 calories per teaspoon; a packet tacks on about 11 calories. But watch out -- let's say you have three packets in your cup and you have three coffees a day, that's a stealthy 100 calories in your diet you most likely didn't plan on.

If you add syrup, you're pumping 35 calories a hit. Most coffee houses pump twice. So if you are ordering out, ask for just one pump or try the sugar-free version.

Of course, whipped cream is the high-point winner in terms of unsuspecting fat and calories. Topping a drink adds 60 to 100 calories, depending on how generous the barista is, and nearly all of the calories come from fat. If you can enjoy your coffee without whipping it up, you will make a big fat difference in your day.

So for something that starts at a mere five calories, you could be drinking down a whole lot more than caffeine.


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