We live in a world where there’s a huge health divide. While it’s far from true that people are either health conscious or have complete disregard for their physical well-being, there is a definite spectrum with fitness fanatics with a great diet at one end, and overweight couch potatoes at the other who will always choose to jump in the car to get to the shop that’s a two minute walk away.
Fortunately, the vast majority of people aren’t at the wrong end of that scale. Most people sit somewhere in the middle, know they could do a bit more exercise, but at least stretch their legs from time to time and get outside in the fresh air. They’ve probably also got a reasonable handle on what they should be eating too, even though we’re all guilty of giving into temptation every so often with the treats.
It’s that latter category we’re going to talk about today, focusing on a regular question that gets asked here – what’s the calorie count in a coffee?
Why Is Calorie Count Important?
Generally speaking, to be healthy we need to broadly match calories going into our bodies with those we use up through the day. Too few and we lose weight, too many and the pounds start to appear. It goes hand in hand with a previous post we’ve got here on our blog about whether coffee can help with weight loss for exactly that reason, even if countless weight loss experts will try to overcomplicate things with their schemes that they charge handsomely for.
Of course, there are times when you want a calorie deficiency or surplus. The obvious cases are needing to eat more if you’re underweight or less if you’ve gained a few too many pounds over time. There’s a myriad of health conditions that apply to individuals that might mean they need specialist help from doctors, so we’re talking very generically here.
Why Coffee Is Said To Be Great On Diets
Coffee itself has very little in it in terms of energy, in fact it’s got very little at all from a nutritional standpoint. That’s the reason that it’s so often touted as a great option when dieting. However, as is so often the case in life, all things are rarely created equal. Coffee is no exception, as lots of us enjoy a large latte in the local coffee shop. Clearly, full fat milk is going to make a considerable difference compared to a shot of espresso, so it’s easy to see how people get confused.
So, with the common misconceptions addressed, let’s take a look at the calorific potential of common coffee varieties…
|Coffee||Size (ml)||Approximate Calorie Count (kcal)||Per 100ml (kcal)|
|Cappuccino (full fat milk)||500||190||38|
|Cappuccino (semi skimmed milk)||500||150||30|
|Cappuccino (skimmed milk)||500||110||22|
|Latte (full fat milk)||500||275||55|
|Latte (semi skimmed milk)||500||215||43|
|Latte (skimmed milk)||500||160||32|
|Flat White (full fat milk)||400||220||55|
|Flat White (semi skimmed milk)||400||175||44|
|Flat White (skimmed milk)||400||130||33|
As you can see, the milk added to black coffee makes a massive difference to the calorie count, but the type of white coffee has an impact too. In general, the higher the ratio of milk to coffee, the higher the calories will be, assuming you’re drinking the same volume. It’s worth pointing out that the flat white is typically slightly smaller than the latte or cappuccino option, but still packs more energy content than a straight espresso per hundred millilitres.
Calories In Syrups
Where the count really soars is when you start ordering fancy varieties of coffee with syrups squirted in. If you’ve been to Costa or Starbucks around Christmas, you’ll almost certainly have seen these festive specials appear, and they can be almost irresistible. The problem is, some can approach a hundred calories per squirt on the dispenser, so larger drinks can double in calories or more compared to standard coffee offerings. Of course, we all head into Christmas with our eyes wide open about what damage we’re likely to do to our waistlines, but it’s surprising just how much the syrups add.
Here’s some low sugar coffee syrup alternatives from Amazon to try as an alternative if you use them at home:
Bulk Zero Calorie Barista Syrups, Sugar Free, Caramel, 1000 ml
Skinny Food Co French Vanilla Sugar Free Syrup 1L - Zero Calorie Coffee Syrup For Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Fruit, Protein Drinks - Vegan-Friendly, Gluten-Free & Fat-Free - Sugar Free Coffee Syrups
Matteo's Sugar Free Coffee Flavoring Syrup, Salted Caramel, Delicious Coffee Syrup, 0 Calorie, 0 Sugar Coffee Syrups, Keto Friendly, 25.4 Oz, 1-Pack
Sweet Freedom Caramel Syrup for Coffee & Drizzling - Only 13 Calories Per Teaspoon - For Frappes, Cocktails, Pancakes & Porridge - Healthy Baking - Vegan & Plant Based - 350g, Pack of 1
Matteo's Sugar Free Coffee Flavorin Syrup, Mocha, Delicious Coffee Syrup, 0 Calories, 0 Sugar coffee syrups, Mocha, 750 ml, 1-Pack
The Last Word
Unlike many other places on the web that talk calories, we’re not going to preach that you should only ever drink black coffee – that really isn’t what were about. What we want to do is educate and let you make your own mind up.
If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, then a daily trip to Costa or Starbucks may well still be fine (although probably isn’t helping), but now you can see the difference that adding the word skinny to cappuccino or latte can make when you order.
Remember too that all the coffee shops make their drinks in a slightly different way, so while the numbers above will be a decent guide, they’re never going to be 100% accurate. In fact two coffees made the same way by the same barista one after another will almost certainly vary in their energy content, so it’s not worth obsessing over – just be aware of what you’re consuming and don’t be too hard on yourself. Most true experts believe that everything is fine in moderation – even the odd full fat latte!