I'm trying to lose weight. Should I cut back on coffee?

Answer From Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

It depends on how you drink your coffee. A plain cup of brewed coffee has less than 5 calories and no fat. But if you add extras to your coffee, you also add extra calories. This is true both at home and at a coffee shop.

People who often have drinks with sugar are more likely to gain weight than people who don't have drinks with sugar. One study showed that adding just 1 teaspoon of sugar to a cup of coffee a day was linked to weight gain.

See how many calories these extras can add to your coffee:

  • Sugar: 16 calories for 1 teaspoon (4 grams).
  • Flavored sweetened syrups: 10 to 20 calories a pump.
  • Whipped cream: 73 calories for 2 tablespoons (1 ounce, or about 28 grams).
  • Heavy whipping cream: 101 calories for 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce, or about 30 grams).
  • Half-and-half: 40 calories for 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce, or about 30 grams).
  • Fat-free milk: 10 calories for 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce, or about 31 grams).

You might use plant-based milk in your coffee. Examples include soy milk, almond milk and oat milk. Many of these have added sugar. Check labels to see how many calories each adds to your drink.

When you're at your local coffee shop, check out the calorie count before you order. Some shops list the calories on the menu. Others list calories online. Some coffee drinks can have hundreds of calories.

Having a coffee drink with extras is fine sometimes. But when it comes to weight loss, all calories count. That includes calories in liquid form.

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June 07, 2024 See more Expert Answers