Black coffee is the one type of coffee that has almost zero calories. The USDA declares there are 2 calories in an 8-ounce serving of plain black coffee, but even for the most rigid calorie-counters, it’s not worth counting. Black coffee also contains minimal sugar, fats, and caffeine.
Coffee is naturally very calorically efficient, delivering tons of health benefits and energy at a cost of almost no calories. But not all coffee variants offer such great news.
Common additions such as milk, sugar, and other flavorings are the culprits behind turning a healthy coffee drink into a pack of calories.
In this article, I’ll review how many calories are there in common coffee drinks and which coffee can be best for you if you’re on a calorie-restricted diet. Keep on reading to know some interesting facts regarding coffee too.
How Many Calories Do I Need In A Day?
We all need calories to survive. They are, quite literally, energy.
The question is how many calories are needed by your body?
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines recommend an intake of 2,000 calories for healthy, adult women and 2,500 calories for healthy, adult men in a day. But of course, it’s very much dependent on your body and your lifestyle.
Regardless of how you slice it, whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a cool homebody, that rich white chocolate mocha is certainly a hard one to justify more than on a special occasion.
The following video explains very well how many calories your body requires in a day.
Can I Have Coffee If I’m Going On A Calorie-Free Diet?
You can have coffee even if you’re on a calorie-free diet. This is because coffee is naturally low in calories. Plus it’s rich in nutrients such as potassium, niacin, magnesium, and antioxidants — which can support muscle function, improve your digestive health, and lead to better heart health.
Weight loss is linked with a calorie deficit, which happens when you take in fewer calories than you burn. An effective way to achieve a calorie deficit is to consume fewer calories than your regular caloric intake.
Great news: no matter what type of diet you’re going on, coffee is SAFE for you!
Coffee is also a natural source of caffeine, which helps in improving your energy levels, boosting metabolism, and can aid in weight loss. Caffeine does that by:
- Appetite suppression. Caffeine is known to reduce feelings of hunger and your craving to eat something for a brief period. You can read more about this in detail here.
- Calorie burning. Caffeine increases your energy use even when you’re resting. It has been found to stimulate thermogenesis — one way your body extracts heat and energy by digesting food.
While plain coffee can help you shed some pounds, coffee with added cream and sugar can have the opposite effect on your weight loss journey. Therefore, watch out for the calories that you are taking in through your coffee drink.
How Many Calories Does Coffee Usually Have?
As coffee is prepared by brewing coffee beans, it is mostly water and therefore contains very minimal calories but no coffee has exactly zero calories.
That said, not all coffee drinks are low in calories. The following table outlines the approximate calorie count in different drinks prepared using coffee.
|Drink||Calories per 8 ounces (240 mL)|
|Iced black coffee||2|
|Cold press (nitro cold brew)||2|
|Brewed coffee from flavored beans||2|
|Coffee with 1 tablespoon of French vanilla creamer||32|
|Coffee with 1 tablespoon of skim milk||7|
|Coffee with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon half-and-half||38|
|Nonfat frozen coffee drink||146|
|Bulletproof coffee with 2 cups of coffee, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and 2 tablespoons of butter||about 325|
As you can see in the table above, espresso holds more calories than brewed coffee per ounce, this is because it’s more concentrated. However, a single shot of espresso only has 1 ounce (30 mL), with approximately 2 calories.
Furthermore, coffee drinks prepared with dairy and sugar tend to be much higher in calories than plain black coffee. It is also important to keep in mind that the calorie count in a milk-based coffee drink depends on the type of milk used.
Best No Calorie Coffee
Though not completely calorie-free, plain black coffee can be the best choice if you are looking for a coffee drink with almost no calories.
According to Mayo Clinic, black coffee is an ideal beverage for people who are fond of coffee yet conscious about their calorie intake, it contains even less than 5 calories in an 8-0z serving. Also, black coffee brewed from decaffeinated beans contains the lowest number of calories.
Furthermore, if you really want that caffeine jolt but can’t stand the bitterness of a hot cup of plain black coffee, you can always go for iced black coffee or cold press.
Both of these are less bitter as cold water doesn’t extract as many of the acidic compounds from the coffee beans as hot water does, so your final drink tends to be less bitter by far.
Also, if you are someone who just can’t drink plain coffee, either hot or cold, then you can even opt for coffee brewed from flavored beans. They are ordinary coffee beans that are infused with different flavors at the time of roasting.
All of these drinks carry a negligible number of calories while providing you with your much-needed caffeine fix.
However, keep in mind that these drinks are only low-calorie if you drink them black.
As soon as you add milk, sugar, or creamer to your coffee, you add tons of calories too.
- Sugar (1 tablespoon): 49 calories
- Milk (1 tablespoon): 8 calories
- Creamer (1 tablespoon): 30+ calories
- Half-and-half (1 tablespoon): 20 calories
- Heavy Cream (1 tablespoon): 52 calories
You 4x your calorie intake with a tiny splash of milk in it. Most people can’t get enough without adding a few splashes… and a little sugar too. That doesn’t leave your coffee being an almost calorie-free drink.
It is also important to keep in mind that you can only obtain the benefits of drinking coffee if you consume it in moderation. Excessive consumption can have irreversible side effects on your health.
This Breville espresso machine is definitely worth a look if you want to make great coffee at home:
How To Make Coffee Taste Good Without Adding Calories To It?
Following are some of the low-calorie hacks that can make your coffee taste good without actually adding more calories to it.
Add A Hint Of Salt
Though it might not seem right to some people, adding a pinch of salt to your coffee grounds does help in bringing out the natural sweetness in your cup, which makes it more palatable without putting in any calories. However, only a pinch of salt should be added to the grounds, too much salt can ruin the taste of your coffee.
Cinnamon is commonly used as a natural sweetener in many recipes. When you add it to your coffee, it adds a natural burst of sweetness to it without the calories of sugar. It is also high in antioxidants and provides many other health benefits too.
Add Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Unsweetened cocoa powder is another ingredient that can add flavor and tons of natural sweetness to your coffee, and it is also packed with antioxidants.
To make a low-calorie cocoa drink, sprinkle one teaspoon of cocoa powder into your black coffee to give it a chocolaty flavor that stands good on its own.
Add A Flavored Extract
Adding a flavored extract, such as vanilla extract, to your black coffee gives it a nice vanilla taste without the added sugar and calories.
To flavor your coffee with a flavored extract, just add a few drops of it to your coffee cup, or you can also add it to your coffee beans before brewing. The longer you will let the extract soak into the beans, the better your coffee will taste.
Try Flavored Coffee Beans
Flavored coffee beans are ordinary coffee beans that have been roasted and infused with flavors, such as chocolate, vanilla, caramel, etc. By doing that, it adds tons of flavor to the coffee, and that too without additional calories.
To Sum It All Up
Plain black coffee is naturally very low in calories and thus, is best for people who want to enjoy coffee without adding to their daily calorie count. However, many popular coffee drinks are prepared using high-calorie additions, such as milk, sugar, and creamer.
Though these add ons enhance the flavor of the coffee, they also turn it high in calories.
While enjoying these kinds of beverages in moderation may not be a concern, drinking too much of them regularly may not only lead you to consume too many calories but also affect your health negatively.
It is wise to keep a close eye on the calorie count of the coffee drink you consume regularly, especially when you are on a calorie-restricted diet.
And if you can’t stand the bitterness of the black coffee, refer to the low-calorie hacks, that I mentioned in the article, to make your coffee taste good without actually adding more calories to it.
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