Most of us, at one time or another in our lives, have obsessed over calories. Usually, it’s because we’re carrying a bit of excess poundage, and resolving to start counting our calories in order to lose weight. Less frequently, people may actually be trying to add calories to their diet in order to gain weight. Either way, the key lies in adjusting your calorie intake. So where does coffee fit into your weight management plan? Does coffee have calories?
The short answer is “No.” Coffee, in and of itself, has no calories. As soon as you adulterate black coffee with anything else, though, there’s the possibility that you may be adding calories to your brew. If you’re trying to gain weight, then by all means, add anything you like to your coffee – chocolate, whipped cream, sprinkles, flavor shots or whatever go nuts with it!
Later on, we’ll talk about the things you add to coffee that can boost its calorie content – for good or for ill, depending on whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, or simply maintain your existing weight. Before we get to that, though, let’s take a look at what calories are, and what they do.
What Is a Calorie?
A calorie is actually a unit of measurement, not something that in and of itself causes you to gain weight. It is the amount of heat that is required in order to cause a gram of water to heat up by one degree Celcius. When you’re trying to lose weight by counting calories, what you’re really doing is trying to reduce the amount of energy that your body has available to burn. Your body needs to burn calories in order to give you energy, and you get those calories from the foods and beverages that you consume. So does your coffee have calories that your body can use for energy?
Again, the answer, if you’re not cluttering up your coffee with cream, sugar, and other additives, is “No. ” Now, of course, you’re wondering, “If coffee has no calories, how is it that when I drink coffee, I get a burst of energy? ”
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Can You Get Energy Without Calories?
Does black coffee have calories? No, but unless it’s decaffeinated, it does have caffeine. That’s what gives you the energy jolt. Caffeine is a very powerful stimulant, and you can get a similar energy boost from anything that contains caffeine – tea, cola drinks, and hot chocolate, to name a few consumables. However, this is not “stored” energy. You’ll get a temporary lift from caffeine’s stimulating properties, but caffeine is not stored, long-term, in your body the way that calories are. You could think of calories as that boyfriend that stays around and loves you and looks after you no matter what, and caffeine as your “one night” guilty pleasure.
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So I Need Calories in Order to Survive?
Yes, you do. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that all calorie sources are good ones. You may have heard the term “empty calories.” This expression is used in the context of foods that provide calories, but little (or nothing) else. Sugary drinks, for instance, provide a great deal in the way of calories, but give you nothing at all in terms of the nutrients that your body requires in order to be healthy, and to build and maintain supple muscles and strong bones.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s the “empty” calories that you want to get rid of. Hardly anyone is ever going to gain weight by consuming a healthy diet, heavy on vegetables and lean protein, a sensible amount of grain products and dairy, and a piece or two of fruit in any given day. Hardly anyone is ever going to lose weight on that type of diet either. We often forget, though, that we often drink our calories in addition to eating them. So if you’re foregoing plain water in favor of sodas, juice drinks and too many cocktails, then you could be consuming far more calories than your body needs, and most of them will be of little or no value nutritionally.
Want to know what’s in that juice beverage you drink because you think it’s good for you? Maybe 10% juice. The rest is water and sugar. So you will be taking in calories, but you won’t be taking in much of anything else that has any actual value.
Obviously, too, if you’re loading down your coffee with cream and sugar, or non-dairy flavoring agents, you’re adding calories that do nothing more for you than cause you to put on weight. If gaining weight is your goal, then in moderation, a few empty calories may not be all that bad. They’re not all that good either, though, nutritionally speaking. The cream will give you a certain amount of nutritional value, but the sugar will deliver nothing at all that’s desirable.
How Many Calories Do I Need?
There’s actually quite a range in the number of calories most people need in order to maintain their body weight. For the average American, it’s anywhere from a thousand to two thousand calories per day. Generally speaking, a man will need more calories per day than a woman, but much can depend on your body weight and your lifestyle. If you’re very active, you’ll need more calories than someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ll find it useful to know that the general rule of thumb is that it takes about 3,500 calories more than your body needs to make up a pound of excess weight. If you don’t burn off those calories through exercise, then the old saying “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” applies. It’s simple math, really – to gain weight, you take in more calories than your body needs. To lose weight, you take in fewer.
Does Coffee Have Calories That Will Help Me Burn Calories?
It’s surprising how many people ask this question in all seriousness. They reason that coffee contains caffeine, which gives you energy, and sugar also gives you a burst of energy, so they’re getting a kind of “double whammy. ” Sugary coffee, they figure, will help you to work out harder and longer, and this may be true at the beginning of your workout. It doesn’t take long, though, for the “rush” to wear off, and then you’ll lose energy toward the end of your workout. So in the final analysis, you gain nothing.
This leads us to another misconception when it comes to burning calories by consuming them. You may have heard that there are some foods that actually have “negative calories,” because the effort expended in eating them actually burns off more calories than the food contains. This isn’t true. You might not gain any weight if you sit around and munch on celery sticks all day, but you won’t lose any weight either. If you really want to lose weight, put the celery down and go take a brisk walk. There is absolutely no such thing as “negative calorie” food.
Now, you might be thinking that if the answer to the question “Does coffee have calories?” is “No,” then by definition, making a pot of coffee and going through the motions of drinking it would mean that you’re burning energy without taking any in, so coffee must be a “negative calorie” food. The fact is, though, that for the sake of the handful of calories you might be off-loading by doing this, coffee still can’t reasonably be considered to be “negative calorie.” Besides, by not exercising, you’re harming your metabolism, training it to work at a lower level, and thus making it more and more difficult to burn off the calories that you consume in other foods and beverages.
You don’t burn calories by consuming them, and negative calorie foods are a myth. Period.
Does Black Coffee Really Have No Calories?
Sometimes it seems as though for everything we believe to be true, there has to be a caveat. So, it’s only fair to let you know that depending on the variety of bean, there could actually be a calorie or two in a cup of black coffee. This is such a low amount, though, that the USDA considers coffee to be calorie-free. So unless you’re one of those people who obsesses over whether you can afford to have an eighth of a teaspoon of mustard on your single lettuce leaf – in which case you have some pretty serious issues you should be dealing with – you don’t have to worry about the calories in your coffee. Even if you drink a lot of coffee, this really doesn’t add up to much at all. So even if you’re counting calories like crazy, there’s no reason to remove black coffee from your diet.
How Many Calories are in Coffee if I Add Stuff to It?
Here’s where things become problematic. Does coffee have calories if you make it with anything other than beans and water? You bet it does! And if you’re in the majority of coffee drinkers, chances are that you do add something to your brew. Only about a third of coffee drinkers actually take it black.
So does a bit of cream and sugar hurt you?
No, it doesn’t. Not in a single cup of coffee, anyway. Most of us don’t stop at a single cup, though. In fact, the average person drinks 3.2 cups of coffee every day. If you add cream and sugar to your coffee, you’re adding calories. How many calories are in a cup of coffee with cream and sugar? About 70. So that’s 224 extra calories in any given day, if you’re an average coffee drinker, or 81,760 per year. Divide that by 3,500 (the number of calories needed to make a pound of weight), and you could gain more than 23 pounds in a single year! Now imagine if you’re one of those people who drinks 6 or 7 cups of coffee in the run of a day, and loads them down with cream and sugar. How many calories are you consuming? You probably don’t even want to think about it!
Of course, the converse is also true. If you stop putting cream and sugar in your coffee, you could lose 23 pounds in a year, even if you do nothing else in terms of managing your weight!
So again, does coffee have calories? It has as few or as many as you want it to have. If you’re concerned about the calories your coffee habit is adding to your diet (and if you’re one of those people who is consuming untold amounts of coffee with cream and sugar every day, you probably should!), you might consider substituting artificial sweetener for the sugar, and if you can’t tolerate the thought of black coffee, consider skim milk as a substitute for cream. Skim milk doesn’t make for a brew that looks as nice as a cup of coffee made with cream or whole milk – in fact, it’s going to look pretty horrible, kind of like brown river water – but it will taste pretty much the same.
Does Flavored Coffee Have Calories?
These days coffee beans are available in so many different flavors, from hazelnut to vanilla nut cream to chocolate cherry and even blueberry cobbler! You’d think that anything so flavorful would be loaded with calories, wouldn’t you?
You’d be wrong. Flavored coffee gets its unique taste by means of flavored oils (some natural and some synthetic, depending on the brand of coffee) used to coat the beans. The oils in and of themselves do not contain calories, so you can enjoy the not-so-guilty pleasure of flavored coffees as often as you like without having to worry about piling on the pounds.
Here, though, the issue is also not the coffee itself, but what you add to it. If you want to enjoy the taste sensation of flavored coffee, but you’re still determined to add cream and sugar, then you’re going to be adding calories. Why not just try the flavored coffee on its own and see how it works for you?
If you brew your flavored coffee at home, you can always be sure of controlling how many calories you’re adding. However, if you buy your flavored coffee at your local coffee shop, you need to be careful. Many of the “shots” offered contain fat and sugar. You can ask if sugar-free shots are available, though. If they’re not, then you’re going to have to assume that the shot does contain calories, so it might be best to limit yourself to occasional flavored treats as opposed to making them part of your daily routine.
Does a Flavored Coffee Drink Have Calories?
This is where you really get into piling on the calories. A “coffee drink” isn’t actually “coffee.” It is something that has so many ingredients, in addition to coffee, that it can no longer properly be termed “coffee.” Coffee drinks are usually made with a combination of calorie-laden ingredients like whole milk and sugar, and then topped off with a generous dollop of whipped cream. In fact, they’re so loaded with calories that you shouldn’t even think of them as drinks at all – they’re actually sort of runny desserts!
When you’re considering consuming coffee drinks, remember that the nutrition leaflet is your best friend. Anywhere you go, be it Starbucks or Tim Hortons or McDonalds, or any other outlet that offers food and beverages, if you ask for nutrition information, they will give it to you. This can help you to keep your calories under control.
How Many Calories are in Iced Coffee?
Iced coffee is, at its essence, nothing more than coffee that has been chilled, and then served over ice. So if you’re wondering how many calories are in iced coffee, the answer is the same as it is to the question “How many calories are in coffee? ” As they say on those legal shows on television, “Asked and answered!”
Coffee that’s black and served over ice has no calories (or at most the 2 that the USDA considers to be allowable before your drink is considered to no longer be calorie-free), unless it’s sweetened with sugar as opposed to artificial sweetener, and contains no other additives. Once you start adding sugar, chocolate, milk, whipped cream and whatever else, then you’re no longer drinking iced coffee – you’re drinking a treat that contains every bit as many calories (and sometimes more) as a traditional dessert. So don’t think you’re doing yourself any favors if what you want is to have something sweet – you’re probably just as far ahead to have a piece of pie or cheesecake, because it will carry the same amount of guilt.
One thing you can say about iced coffee is that it can be very refreshing on a hot day, but if you want to cool off without blowing your diet, there are things you can do to ensure that you’re not adding a ton of calories. First, forego the chocolate – there’s simply no such thing as calorie-free chocolate, no matter what anybody tells you (low-cal, but not no-cal, and keep reading for more on that) so tell the barista not to use sprinkles. Second, if you can’t get calorie-free syrup, ask for just half a shot – you can cut a few calories that way, but realistically, you’re just going to be mitigating the damage, not offsetting it entirely, so proceed accordingly. Third, if you can live without the whipped cream (which usually isn’t even real whipped cream, just an oleaginous product made to resemble the actual dairy product), you can chop off at least a hundred calories by foregoing it. Fourth, ask for skim milk as opposed to whole. There’s not a huge benefit from substituting skim, but if you’re really obsessing on the calories, every little bit helps.
For that matter, you might want to forego the coffee shop entirely and make your iced coffee at home. For a single serving, start with a cup of cold coffee, and add a packet of sugar substitute. Add a quarter cup of skim milk, 1 ¼ cups of crushed ice, and whirl in a blender for a minute or two. To switch it up a bit, you can add sugar free chocolate syrup or maple flavored syrup. A bit of natural vanilla extract or cinnamon can also add a flavor burst to your iced coffee.
How Many Calories in Iced Coffee Mixes?
If you love iced coffee at home, but don’t have the ambition to make your own, there are numerous mixes available. But how many calories do they contain? The answers might surprise you, so let’s take a look at some of the most popular mixes and bottled offerings, and see how they stack up in terms of calories.
How Many Calories are in Iced Coffee From Dunkin Donuts?
In Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee Original, you’ll get a total of 290 calories in a 13.7 ounce bottle. If you look at the label, most of the calories will come from skim milk and sugar. 54 calories will come from fat, and 18% of your daily recommended allowance will come from saturated fats.
Now, to put this in perspective, for you to burn off the 290 calories you get in this treat, you would have to walk for 78 minutes, run for 28 minutes or bike for 40 minutes.
How Many Calories are in Starbucks Iced Coffee?
A serving of Starbucks Via Iced Coffee (which they kind of sneakily base on half a packet) will give you 50 calories. So, the whole packet will give you 100 calories. The good news here is that none of those calories come from any kind of fat. You’ll need to walk for about 29 minutes, run for 9 minutes, or bike for 13 minutes to burn off the calories.
How Many Calories in Tim Hortons Iced Coffee?
In a Tim Hortons Mocha Iced Coffee, you’ll find 210 calories in a 10.1 ounce bottle. You’ll need to walk for 57 minutes to burn off the calories, run for 20 minutes, or bike for 29 minutes to burn off the calories.
You really have to wonder if that sweet treat is worth the effort needed to burn off the calories, but hey, it’s up to you.
How Many Calories are in Coffee Creamer?
Sometimes you have to wonder whatever happened before Nestlé invented Coffee-Mate, the non-dairy coffee creamer that has become so ubiquitous that we no longer even refer to other brands as anything other than “Coffee-Mate,” in the same way that we say “Band-Aid” to refer to all brands of adhesive bandages, and “Kleenex” to identify all brands of facial tissues. Presumably, we left containers of milk or cream in the office fridge until they went off and some poor, unsuspecting soul spewed a mouthful of coffee all over the break room after taking in something that should have long since been poured down the sink.
Today, we can just leave a jar of Coffee-Mate or other non-dairy creamer on the break room table, and it can sit there practically forever. Coffee-Mate now comes in flavors to please any palate, not just the original cream substitute. So if you have a huge hankering for flavored coffee, then Coffee-Mate can deliver what you need. But does it contain calories?
The ingredients in Coffee-Mate include hydrogenated vegetable oil and corn syrup solids, so yes, Coffee-Mate does contain calories, and the flavored varieties are higher in caloric content than the original. The original variety contains about 25 calories, while the flavored varieties usually contain around 30 varieties. You can, however, buy fat-free Coffee-Mate, which contains only 8 calories.
Can Something That Has No Calories Be Good For You?
We talked before about how coffee has no calories, unless you add things to it. We also talked about foods and beverages that may or may not contain calories, but might do you no good at all nutritionally. Can coffee, which contains no calories in its original state, actually be good for you, or could it harm you?
The current research would seem to suggest that enjoying coffee, in moderation, will do you no harm, and could even be very good for you. Coffee contains anti-oxidants, which can protect against free radicals. Because of this, it’s believed that coffee drinkers might actually have a lowered risk of certain types of cancer as well as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions.
Could coffee harm you, though?
Well, theoretically, coffee could harm you. Excessive coffee consumption, especially in young people, has been linked to osteopenia (weak bones). There is also research to suggest that excessive coffee consumption could lead to early death.
There is a caveat, though. You have to take coffee consumption in context with other habits. Many people who drink a lot of coffee are also more likely to smoke, and be generally slack when it comes to getting enough exercise. The research on coffee drinking has also included people who smoke and neglect their health. So it’s hard to say whether it’s coffee that actually leads to an early death, or other lifestyle factors that can lead to early death in people who consume too much coffee.
One thing that is known, though, is that caffeine has been linked to higher blood pressure readings. The Mayo Clinic conducted a study that showed higher blood pressure readings in people who consumed coffee. The catch here is, though, that the study was done on people who did not usually drink coffee, and who already had high blood pressure. So take that in context – there’s really nothing out there to suggest that if you don’t have high blood pressure to begin with, coffee consumption is going to raise it to a dangerous level.
Coffee consumption has also been linked to a higher risk of heart attacks in young adults. Again, though, take this study in context – although the study showed that young adults who had mild hypertension were four times as likely to have heart attacks after consuming the equivalent of four cups of coffee as young adults who drank no coffee, the risk of a young adult having a heart attack at all is slim to none. So drinking coffee raises the risk by what? Slim to sort of?
Caffeine is also linked to breast cysts. Women who consume up t 250 milligrams of caffeine per day are apparently 1.5 times as likely to develop breast cysts than those who don’t. Take that, though, in the context that even in women who develop breast cysts, they hardly ever lead to breast cancer, and that should tell you that the risk of incurring any harm from drinking coffee, as it relates to diseases of the breast, is pretty low.In fact, it really doesn’t sound like much of a risk at all.
Caffeine has also been linked to incontinence. A University of Alabama study revealed that women who drink a lot of coffee are more likely to develop incontinence than those who don’t. Again, context is everything. Your risk of becoming incontinent is already low. Drinking coffee might raise that risk a bit. In other words, don’t think that just because you enjoy your morning java, you’re going to be embarrassing yourself in public – chances are that you won’t.
Caffeine is also linked to indigestion and insomnia. To us, this seems like a bit of a no-brainer. If you consume coffee on an empty stomach, then yes, you probably are going to feel a bit off. And caffeine is a stimulant, so it could keep you awake. The answer here is obvious – don’t drink coffee if you haven’t eaten, and don’t drink it before bed. If you’re sleep deprived, coffee isn’t going to help you get the sleep you need, and could even lead to serious problems if you think that caffeine is going to help you stay awake while you’re behind the wheel or operating machinery. Don’t drink coffee if you can’t sleep, and don’t rely on it to keep you alert if you’re not sleeping – it’s just that simple.
You should also know that if you’re trying to get pregnant, and you drink more than two cups of coffee per day before conceiving, you have a slight risk of miscarriage.
And finally, some people are very sensitive to caffeine, and may experience hives and develop pain after drinking coffee. However, this type of sensitivity is very rare, and not likely something that you should worry about.
Does coffee have calories? No. Does it have other substances that might cause you concern? Maybe. But if you’ve been reading the content above, and mentally going “No, no, no, no…” ticking off the risk factors and determining that none of them apply to you, then it’s a pretty safe bet that you can consume coffee without having to worry about any adverse effects.
One other thing that you should think about if you consume coffee is that it’s not all that good for people who suffer from anxiety disorders. This is because caffeine is a stimulant, and can work to aggravate an already “jittery” mindset. So if that sounds like you, you’re probably better off to avoid coffee, or at least stick to decaf.
Does Coffee Have No Calories But it Contains Drugs???
Now you’re getting it. We’ve been talking about caffeine in the previous section, and caffeine is, most definitely, a drug. You’ve probably heard people say that they’d love to be able to “mainline” coffee – just put it in a syringe and just inject it directly into their bloodstream. Of course they’re joking – we hope – but the fact is that caffeine is a drug like any other. Maybe it’s not a life-threatening drug, usually, like cocaine or heroin, but it’s still a drug.
Realistically, not too many people actually have a life-threatening addiction to coffee. But if drinking excessive amounts of coffee is making you unhappy, then it’s an addiction. If you feel that you’re drinking too much coffee, you can cut your intake by substituting other beverages throughout your day – perhaps you might have your morning coffee, and then instead of that 10 am cup, substitute a glass of water or some herbal tea. Or find something else to do when you find yourself reaching for the coffee pot – take a walk, talk to a co-worker, or play a game of Bejeweled Blitz on your computer or phone.
Remember, coffee should be a pleasure that you’re choosing, not something that’s controlling your life.
Back to Our Original Question
Does coffee have calories? You know by now that your coffee is only going to contain as many calories as you want it to contain. If you drink black coffee, then the answer to the question “Does coffee have calories?” is “No.” If you take your coffee with cream and sugar, or in the form of an iced drink with shots, milk, sprinkles and whipped cream, then the answer is “Yes, big time!”You can sabotage your diet in a huge way with adding things that you really don’t need to your iced coffee.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then drinking black coffee could help a bit, assuming that you’re not sabotaging your diet in other ways. At worst, black coffee is a beverage that contains no calories. At best, it’s an energy-delivering drink that might help you through your day without feeling the need for sweet treats and other calorie-laden consumables that might send you over the edge into diet hell and cause you to pile on unwanted pounds. At worst, it won’t do any harm to your diet regimen.
If you feel the need for a flavor burst (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), then you can drink flavored coffees or add artificial sweeteners to your brew without having to worry about adding calories. You can also add spices to your coffee that will deliver flavor without calories.
Coffee without calories is always possible – drink it black, pour it over ice with artificial sweetener and spices, or use a flavored roast. You have all kinds of options that are available to you without having to worry about the question “Does coffee have calories?”
Coffee doesn’t have calories. There’s nothing whatsoever in brewed coffee that has any calories at all, but coffee drinks do most indisputably almost always contain calories, especially when you buy them at coffee shops like Starbucks, Tim Hortons and McDonalds. If you want all the benefits of coffee without any of the disadvantages, then drink it black, whether you drink it hot or over ice. If you want a wonderfully pleasing treat, then by all means add milk, chocolate, shots, whipped cream, sprinkles and whatever – just don’t think that what you’re getting if you do that is going to be diet-friendly. It’s not. It’s going to blow your diet right into the next galaxy, and enough said!
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The Final Word
Now you know everything you need to know about the question, “Does coffee have calories? ” You know that pure black coffee has no calories at all, but if you put “stuff” in your coffee, then your calorie content is going to go up, and could even go right through the roof depending on what, and how much, you add to your coffee.
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Do You Know How Much Caffeine is in Coffee?
How Much Caffeine is in Coffee Alternatives? The Answers May Surprise You!
How do you take your coffee? Black as tar? Strong as a mixed martial arts fighter? Hot as this year’s Dodge Charger? Cold as your mother-in-law’s heart? Do you love it just as it is, or whipped up into a frothy confections that’s more like a dessert? How you take your coffee is up to you. The answer to the question “Does coffee have calories?” is also up to you. So all we can say on that is, take your coffee any way you want – just take it!
Last update on 2020-07-05 at 07:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API