Report

8 Worst Coffee Drinks in America

These fancy drinks are hard on your wallet—and your waistline.

Report

8 Worst Coffee Drinks in America

These fancy drinks are hard on your wallet—and your waistline.

Some days you make the coffee. Other days the coffee makes you.

And let’s face it, when you’re paying upwards of $4 for a pick-me-up to get you through a rough day, you’re not going to order the small black, hold-the-sugar cup ‘o joe. Although research shows that drinking coffee can aid rapid weight loss efforts and lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, coffee drinks—the sugary ones with fancy names that take longer to order than they do to slurp down—can have the exact opposite effect on your health. In fact, the nutrition stats on some java jams are arguably worse for you than a fast-food meal. Though a greasy burger and fries is hardly the most virtuous lunch choice, the combo is considered a meal, which is more than we can say for an empty-calorie latte you could suck down at a red light.

The good news is you can indulge your need for a bit of caffeinated decadence without totally blowing your diet. You just need to know what sips to avoid and what to drink instead—and here, we reveal just that!

DUNKIN’ DONUTS

dunkin donuts coolattas

Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta with Cream, large, 20 oz.

990 calories, 47 g fat, 29 g sat fat, 141 g carbs, 130 g sugar

Dunkin’ Donuts markets this caffeinated abomination as “caramelicious.” More like calorie-licious! The frozen drink packs more sugar than you'll find in 65 of the chain's sugar-raised munchkins, and a mind-numbing 990 calories. In fact, for the same calorie punch, you could order a shmorgezboard of DD delights, including a Bacon Egg and Cheese on a Croissant, an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie AND a Chocolate-Frosted Donut with Sprinkles—and you'd still have 60 calories to spare! Nearly three cups of cream and sweetened condensed milk turn an innocent frozen coffee into a 24-ounce high-fat dessert. As a general rule, cool it on the caloric Coolattas and indulge in a creamy iced coffee instead. Even if you order a large you’ll keep 790 calories, 26 grams of fat and over 112 grams of sugar out of your cup and off your frame.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

Iced Coffee with Cream and Half Sugar, large, 20 oz.
200 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 22.5 g carbs, 17.5 g sugar

STARBUCKS


Whole Milk White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream, venti, 20 oz.

620 calories, 27 g fat, 17 g sat fat, 79 g carbs, 75 g sugar

How’d you like to start your day with seven pastries worth of sugar? That’s what you’ll be slurping down if you get to the bottom of a venti whole-milk white-chocolate mocha with whipped cream. The “espresso with white chocolate-flavored sauce and steamed milk" beverage packs 620 calories and an astonishing 75 grams of sugar—more than you’ll find in seven of the coffee chain’s chocolate croissants. Are your hands shaking yet? Dodge 430 calories and 61 grams of sugar with a frothy whole-milk cappuccino instead. No, that’s not a typo. Research suggests that high-fat dairy can lower the risk of obesity. The “why?” has yet to be answered fully, but one hypothesis is that substances in milk fat may positively affect the metabolism.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

Whole Milk Cappuccino, venti, 20 oz.
190 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g sat fat, 16 g carbs, 14 g sugar

CARIBOU


Breve with Whipped Cream, large, 20 oz.

650 calories, 60 g fat, 37 g sat fat, 20 g carbs, 2 g sugar

Oh America, we’ve done it again: taken a culinary creation from elsewhere like the caffè latte–Italy's "milk coffee”–and made it, well, entirely less healthy. A cafe breve is the American variant. It replaces milk with steamed half and half, so even a small one will double the calories and fat on your order—at least! Caribou’s large version serves up a gut-busting 650 calories and 60 grams of fat, 37 of which are saturated—that’s more than you’ll find in 12 McDonald’s hamburgers. Mamma mia! While high-fat dairy has been linked to weight management, consumption of any macro- or micronutrient must be considered in the context of an overall balanced diet. And calories still count. The good news is you can still get a creamy and very generous 20 fluid ounces of caffeine at Caribou for a fraction of the nutritional price tag. Order yourself a large macchiato—a 120-calorie espresso drink topped with steamed low-fat milk foam and whipped cream, and you’ll save 530 calories and nearly 50 grams of fat.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD

Macchiato with 2% Milk and Whipped Cream, large, 20 oz.
120 calories, 12 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 3 g carbs, 2 g sugar

MCCAFE

mcdonalds mccafe mocha frappe

McDonald’s Frappe Mocha, No Whip, large, 22 oz.

600 calories, 22 g fat, 14 g sat fat, 92 g carbs, 84 g sugar

How do you take your coffee: Cream? Sugar? Perhaps a little hair growth gel? Wait, what?! We kid you not. Check out the ingredient list for McDonald’s Frappe Mocha and you’ll find polysorbate 80—an emulsifier that also has a reputation for topically stimulating hair grown in men who are going bald. You’ll also find Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1—artificial colors that have been linked to hyperactivity in children; but what really gives us brain freeze is why these colors are in the drink at all. After all, it’s brown. As for nutrition, we’re talking 600 calories—that’s without whipped cream—and 84 grams sugar. That’s more than you’ll find in six of Mickey D's apple pies. Scrap the frappe and its creepy ingredients, and dodge nearly 500 calories by ordering a medium McCafe Iced Coffee with Caramel Syrup instead. Yes, it’s a size smaller, but it serves up just as much coffee as a large frappe. Cutting the syrup by half saves you additional calories and sugar, and is a trick you can use at any coffee joint.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

McCafe Iced Coffee, Light Cream, No Sugar, 1/2 Caramel Syrup, medium, 22 oz.
80 calories, 7 g fat, 4.5 g sat fat, 3 g carbs, 15 g sugar

AU BON PAIN


Coffee Blast, large, 24 oz.

690 calories, 29 g fat, 21 g sat fat, 119 g carbs, 112 g sugar

Ironically, if you Google the term “blasted,” the search engine spits back an example of the informal expression of annoyance that reads, “make your own blasted coffee!” And once you learn about Au Bon Pain’s Coffee Blast, you might want to. To begin with, the first ingredient listed for the coffee drink is ice cream. The second is a “coffee mix,” a blend of HFCS, cane sugar, xanthan gum, oh, and “coffee extract.” Not to mention, the Blast has an astonishing 119 grams of carbs—which is more than you’ll find in nine slices of Wonder Bread, and more sugar than seven of the fast-casual bakery’s apple and cinnamon croissants. Treat yourself to a medium iced caffè latte with whole milk instead. A cool and creamy 140 calories, the drink boasts only two ingredients: whole milk and espresso. Opting for this over the Blast saves you 550 calories, 22 grams of artery-clogging fat and 100 grams of blood sugar-jolting sugar.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

Iced Caffè Latte with Whole Milk, medium, 16 oz.
140 calories, 7 g fat, 4 g sat fat, 12 g carbs, 12 g sugar

PEET’S


Milk Chocolate Almond Mocha with Whole Milk and Whipped Cream, large, 20 oz

600 calories, 24 g fat, 16 g sat fat, 80 g carbs, 76 g sugar

How do you make a steamy espresso even more delicious? Why, you add sugar of course! However dangerous to your waist, there’s something irresistible about flavored coffees like mocha (an espresso blended with steamed milk and chocolate syrup). Made with milky sweet chocolate, toasted almond syrup and crushed Italian Amaretti cookies, Peet’s remix of the already-indulgent beverage serves up more than 600 calories and as much sugar as nearly 10 of the chain’s oatmeal raisin cookies. Without fiber and protein to slow digestion, drinks that are largely simple carbohydrates like this one have a high glycemic index (GI)—a measure of how quickly blood glucose rises in response to a food or drink. One way to lower the glycemic load and still get your sugar fix is to order an equally-as-decadent medium Caffè Mocha instead. The slightly sized-down swap will save you nearly 400 calories and 18 grams of fat.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

Caffè Mocha with Soy Milk, medium, 16 oz.
215 calories, 5 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 35 g carbs, 27 g sugar

KRISPY KREME

krispy kreme lotta latte cooler

Lotta Latte Chiller, small, 12 oz.

670 calories, 28 g fat, 24 g sat fat, 29 g carbs, 60 g sugar

Krispy Kreme is best known for their calorie-packed donuts, so we weren’t too surprised that a 670-calorie coffee drink also found its way onto their menu. Made with ice, coffee and artificial sugar-based flavoring, and topped with fat-filled whipped cream, the Lotta Latte Chiller contains as many calories as 14 of the chain’s doughnut holes! Not to mention, the Chiller packs as much of the sweet stuff as 15 Domino sugar packets—and we’re just talking about the small size here. The large, 20-ouncer carries nearly double that amount. Save yourself 570 calories and half a day’s fat by opting for the Iced Original Kreme Latte instead. Nine of the 28 grams of sugar come from the milk, making this one of the best flavored options on the menu for your health and waistline.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

Iced Original Kreme Latte with 2% Milk, 12 oz.
170 calories, 3.5 g fat, 2.5 g sat fat, 28 g carbs, 28 g sugar

TIM HORTONS


Mocha Iced Capp with Cream, medium, 16 fl oz.

550 calories, 28 g fat, 19 g sat fat, 1 g trans fat, 72 g carbs, 62 g sugar

Dubbed the “ultimate drink of summer” by the coffee chain that created it, this calorie- and sugar-filled beverage is definitely not something you should sip on if you want to look your best on the beach. And besides wreaking havoc on your figure, it’s also hazardous to your health. It’s laden with dangerous trans-fats, a chemically altered type of fat that’s been linked to coronary disease and metabolic syndrome. Ditch the scary additives and a fair share of the calories and sugar by opting for the Iced Mocha with Cream instead. It serves up a similar creamy texture and refreshing taste without blowing your diet. We suggest going with a small because ounce-for-ounce it’s actually the same size as the medium Iced Capp.

DRINK THIS INSTEAD:

Iced Mocha with Cream, small, 16 fl oz.
210 calories, 9 g fat, 7 g sat fat, 0 g trans fat, 29 g carbs, 23 g sugar

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