10 Ways Your Coffee Is Making You Gain Weight, Say Experts
A cup of coffee. You know by now that it has that boost of caffeine to perk you up in the morning or get you moving again during that afternoon slump. But it's also rich in antioxidants to better your heart health, among many of the benefits you can get from that beloved cup of Joe. Yet with all the good that coffee can bring, your coffee habit might be leading to weight gain, without you even realizing it.
Sure, black coffee with a bit of milk is rather clean and lets you reap those benefits more easily. Once you start ordering those frappuccinos, lattes with whipped cream, and holiday drinks with candy canes, peppermint mocha, and pumpkin syrups, that good-for-you cup of java becomes a diet disaster. And that's when this daily drink becomes not so great for you.
To help you keep on track, here are 10 ways your coffee could be causing weight gain. While you're making healthier choices, be sure to try out these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.
It's high in syrups and sweet ingredients.
To avoid this happening, your best bet is to always keep your order simple and limit the sugary syrups, drizzles, and add-ins.
"The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 24 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men and some large-sized coffeehouse drinks can contain 80 grams," says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, and author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
You only drink Keto coffee.
While keto and paleo fans are big on bulletproof coffee—which is packed with coconut oil, butter, or MCT oil—they lack carbohydrates. So these coffee drinks are higher in fat and calories, which could lead to weight gain if you're not taking those calories into account.
"This fat bomb can pack 400-500 calories which still count towards your daily total," says Harris-Pincus.
It's too large.
Is a venti really necessary?
"Even items like sugary Frappuccinos can fit into a healthy diet in small amounts, where a tall is 12 ounces," says Harris-Pincus. Keep in mind a venti iced drink is 24 ounces and if you're choosing something sweet, it'll easily be far too high in sugar and calories.
"Stick with a small or tall and save the larger drinks for brewed or cold brew coffee," Harris-Pincus says.
You're drinking it as a meal.
"Coffee is not a meal," Harris-Pincus stresses. "Protein, fiber, and produce are the keys to a healthy, balanced diet to help keep you satisfied and manage hunger." And those aren't things you're going to get from a bad cup of coffee!
A high calorie, sugary, and fattening coffee drink can take the place of a nutritious meal without contributing needed nutrients, and it can cause sugar to spike too, which might increase cravings later on. And if it's minimal, the lack of calories could lead to overeating later, as well.
You always add whipped cream.
Another high-sugar item that isn't doing you any good? Whipped cream, according to Harris-Pincus. Whipped cream is simply excess calories and doesn't contain any nutrition. Plus, it's a gateway to adding on cocoa bits, drizzles, and other sweet items to go on top of that whipped cream coating.
You load up on artificial sweeteners.
Don't let these seemingly healthier options fool you. Spoiler alert: they're bad news!
"Artificial sweeteners (think Splenda, Sweet N' Low, and Equal) may seem like the perfect zero calorie addition to your morning brew; however, folks that use artificial sweeteners are more likely to consume more calories and be at a greater risk for obesity compared to those that do not use non-nutritive sweeteners," says Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN. Artificial sweeteners hold weight on you, and can make you crave more sweets.
You use a sweetened nut milk.
"The problem with ordering an almond milk latte or oat milk cappuccino at your local café is that baristas usually use the flavored versions that contain added sugars," says Schapiro. "High consumption of added sugars is associated with weight gain and increased risk for the development of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease," she says. It's best to only ask for a splash or DIY your own oat milk latte at home using an unsweetened version.
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You stock up on bottled coffees.
Grabbing these premade coffee drinks might seem like a quicker option, but they're not ideal as they're loaded up with one big culprit. You guessed it—sugar.
"Take the Original Iced Coffee from Dunkin', for example. Just one bottle contains 260 calories and 29 grams of added sugars, making this one of the worst beverages to jumpstart your morning with," says Schapiro.
You go with what's trendy.
The Whipped Coffee trend might have taken over social media, but it's not necessarily diet friendly. And that's something to keep in mind with any viral coffee trends you come across that you want to try out.
"This popular concoction contains instant coffee, sugar, and boiling water poured over iced full-fat milk, and although this coffee may taste great and make for an Insta-worthy picture, the excess calories, fat, and sugars in this beverage should be something to consider if your whipping this up regularly," says Schapiro.
You often order frappuccinos or cold cream.
We can't say it enough—you should stop sipping on frappuccinos (those are sugar bombs!) or cold cream drinks that have a thick, sweet topper often.
"The Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew may get you in the [holiday] spirit, but the creamy, cold foam is loaded with excess calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients," says Schapiro. With up to 360 calories, 48 grams of sugar, and little to no protein, this beverage is sure to drive up your blood sugar and have you reaching for more food soon after. Skip!