If you’re anything like me, you need a big cup of coffee (or two, or three) in the morning before you can deal with people and get your day started. Thanks to growing research, we now know that coffee can offer us more benefits than simply being tolerable in the morning. Some studies show that coffee can help reduce our risk of type II diabetes, liver disease and even heart failure. Unfortunately, the way we prepare our coffee can often lead to weight gain (UGHHH).
And I’m just talking about the way we prepare it at home – we don’t need to get into the store-bought frappuccinos that provide us with a whopping 600 calories, 20 grams of fat, and 87 grams of sugar.
On its own, the magical beverage that prevents me from hitting thousands of people each day contains a mere 1 calorie per 8 oz cup and is fat- and sugar-free. Unfortunately, adding 1/4 cup of cream and 1 tablespoon of sugar adds 165 calories and 12 grams of both fat and sugar to your first cup of coffee. Multiply this by the 3 cups I like to drink, and we’ve added nearly 500 calories to our day – without even eating.
Side note: 500 calories each day can lead to a 1 pound weight gain in a week. No thank you.
Fortunately for me, I acquired the taste for coffee while I was studying abroad in Costa Rica. While visiting a coffee farm, I found that coffee on it’s own is very flavorful and milk and sugar hide the natural bold taste.
But what if you can’t stand the taste of coffee without the “fixins,” what can you do to prevent weight gain (or help with weight loss)?
Wean yourself off. If you’re used to having cream and sugar, take small steps to use less. For example, use 1/2 the amount of cream you’re used to and replace the other half with skim milk. Once you are acquired to this, use only skim milk. One day taste it without milk at all and see what you think.
Use an artificial sweetener, such as Stevia, in place of the sugar. (Make sure you only use half the amount of Stevia in place of your sugar, as Stevia is much sweeter.) And again, eventually taper it so you are using very little (or none at all).
Be adventurous. Try different add-ins that are calorie-free. My favorite are SweetLeaf Stevia products. The vanilla creme, English toffee, and chocolate are SO SO SO GOOD in coffee! You can find these in some grocery stores or online here. Just remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to these drops. Too much will ruin your beloved morning routine.
Buy flavored coffee. Coffee that comes pre-flavored has about 5 calories and no fat or sugar per 8 ounces. This gives you a taste different than plain coffee, without the crap you would usually put in it at home.
Whatever you decide, make sure your morning coffee doesn’t have more calories, fat and sugar than your lunch! It’s a simple mistake that can turn the health benefits of this delicious beverage into a nightmare for your body.