On one hand, many coffee connoisseurs are often settled on a preferred morning beverage. Maybe you like it black, or with a touch of milk or cream and sugar. Or maybe you have a complex daily order that makes your barista roll their eyes. Either way, it's just coffee—it's not like it's going to impact the overall picture of your daily calorie intake. Right?
Well, it's actually not as simple as believing that a plain hot coffee or americano with skim milk contains 5 to 10 calories. Unfortunately, due to all of the endless options for flavors and coffee styles at popular fast-food and coffee chains, customers can order a variety of pick-me-up concoctions without truly understanding what's really going into the beverage.
For starters, your favorite coffee drink may contain a huge chunk of your daily recommended calories in just one cup. Frequently consuming certain beverages may lead to an overconsumption of calories, which we all know can lead to weight gain. And while the energy boost from a sweet, refreshing coffee drink might be appealing, all those empty calories (which don't contribute much nutritional value) can also leave you hungry and craving more sugar.
Many of the beverages on this list also include more additives, chemicals, and high-fructose corn syrup than the companies that make them would like you to know. According to Better Health, the lengthy list of extra ingredients could have possible side effects, such as digestive disorders, nervous disorders, respiratory issues, and even skin problems.
Remember, everything is fine in moderation, and restrictive diets are harmful. But before you order that Venti Frappuccino, you might want to read on for our breakdown of 8 of the worst coffee beverages to drink right now.
Dunkin' French Vanilla Swirl Frozen Coffee with Cream – Medium
A permanent and popular frozen coffee beverage at Dunkin', the French Vanilla Swirl Frozen Coffee with Cream contains the highest amount of calories of any drink on the menu. How many, you ask? A medium-sized drink packs a whopping 860 calories. You might as well be conquering a box of donuts all on your own.
Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Cold Brew Coffee Chillatta – Medium
Not only is this coffee beverage just 200 calories away from the chain's Cinnabon Classic Roll, but it's also a major sodium bomb. Most people require only 500 mg of sodium daily, meaning a medium Cinnamon Roll Cold Brew Coffee Chillatta gets you halfway there with every sip. It's important to keep in mind that a high sodium diet can result in high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
McDonald's Caramel Frappé – Medium
This blended coffee beverage—which is similar to the notorious original at Starbucks—isn't the best option when it comes to nutrition, nor does it pack a big caffeine punch. McDonald's Caramel Frappé is very high in calories per serving, plus, the ingredients list includes additives like high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavoring, and caramel coloring. Since there's less than 1g of caffeine in the mix, you'd be better off sticking to Mickey D's Iced Caramel Coffee, which has a more palatable 190 calories per serving.
Starbucks Iced White Chocolate Mocha – Medium
When a coffee beverage is milk- or cream-based, you have a greater chance of consuming more calories, fat, and carbohydrates. The two main components in the White Chocolate Mocha sauce from Starbucks are sugar and condensed milk, in addition to an average 12 oz of milk that the latte recipe calls for. In other words?
Panera Iced Chai Latte – Medium
By comparison with the rest of this list, Panera's Iced Chai Latte isn't extremely high in calories. However, after taking a closer look at the ingredients list, there are a few red flags. The Chai Tea base Panera uses contains countless acid additives and artificial extracts to reach the desired flavor palette (for example: tannic acid, pepper extractives, cardamom extractives, and citric acid). We don't recommend consuming those things as part of your daily caffeine ritual.
Tim Hortons Mocha Cold Brew
Luckily for cold brew-lovers, Tim Hortons carries much better options than this particular beverage. The Mocha Cold Brew is quite the sugar rush, and it packs an average of 200 more calories than any other cold brew drink on the menu. Maybe it's the cocoa foam or maybe it's the mocha sauce, either way, the result is a chocolatey, high-calorie mess.
Krispy Kreme Hazelnut Latte – Medium
A nutty, rich latte is a delicious way to start your day, but preferably not this one from Krispy Kreme. While there are minimal ingredients, the Hazelnut Latte is high in calories per cup and 60g of the calories come strictly from fat. The excess sugar and fat, in addition to the 210 mgs of sodium, mean this drink won't be doing your body any favors. Weight gain, high blood pressure—take your pick.
Starbucks Caramel Macchiato
This Starbucks staple is enjoyed by many, both iced and hot, but it's not a fantastic choice when it comes to calories and excess sugar. The Caramel Macchiato throws a caffeine punch due to the top layer of the beverage being espresso. But the recipe uses five full pumps of vanilla syrup and a generous caramel drizzle, adding on 34 g of sugars and 13% of the drink's carbohydrate content.