You drink it in the morning, you drink it in the afternoon. You drink it with friends and alone at your desk. In fact, you’re rarely seen without it. And while the drink we should be talking about here is water, in fact it’s coffee that you can’t seem to get enough of. We’re sure you’ve wondered what the constant caffeine intake is doing to your sleep, but what about your waistline? Does coffee have calories?
It’s a fair concern considering how much many of us put down each day. Between the free coffee deals at 7-Eleven, donut giveaways at Dunkin (are you supposed to not get a coffee if you’re there anyway?!) and Starbucks Happy Hour, it’s easy to let your coffee-drinking hours expand into the afternoon and evening. So how much is each cup, or 8 ounces, setting you back in terms of your diet? We break down the calories in coffee and what you need to know about them.
Does coffee have calories? Does black coffee have calories?
Mostly when you're wondering does coffee have calories, what you really mean is does black coffee have calories? Like basically everything else on Earth other than water, yes, coffee has calories. But whether they’re worth worrying about is another issue entirely. Coffee is made with roasted coffee beans, which are actually the seeds of the coffee plant and not actual beans. Still, as you might know if you’re an avid calorie counter, seeds have calories — and a pretty good amount.
It’s only natural then, that yes, coffee packs some calories into each cup. But since you’re not actually taking in much of the coffee grounds, it’s minimal. An 8-ounce cup of black coffee — emphasis on the black part — will cost you only 5 calories out of your daily caloric budget.
But does your coffee have calories?
That’s another questions entirely. How do you take your coffee? That’s where you need to start. Unless you’re drinking black coffee — or coffee with only a non-nutritive sweetener (artificial sweetener) such as stevia or Equal — that number could be a lot higher.
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Like milk but not sugar? Depending on which milk you choose, a 16-ounce latte will set you back anywhere from 100 (almond milk) to 230 calories (whole milk). A cappuccino, which uses slightly less milk, will cost you anywhere from 80 calories (nonfat milk) to 140 calories (whole milk or coconut milk). And that’s before you talk about adding any sweetener. Add in any flavoring or syrups, and you’ll watch that count climb. A 16-ounce nonfat mocha will still cost you 250 calories, with flavored lattes only fractionally behind at 220 calories.
So while the calories in plain coffee are there but not really worth counting, you should track additions you make to your cup if you’re counting calories or trying to lose weight. If you can’t give up the milk or sweetener just yet, make sure you’re switching from higher-fat milks to lower-fat options and from regular sugar or syrups to sugar-free versions. Both swaps will help you save some calories from your morning cup while you get used to sipping stronger coffee.