The #1 Worst Order To Make at a Coffee Shop, Says Dietitian
Whether you're headed to your local neighborhood cafe or the Starbucks across the street, if it's a delicious cup of coffee you're seeking, you'll always have plenty of menu items to choose from.
Most cafes offer a variety of beverages like hot coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, iced coffees, cold brew, tea, and sometimes even juice. And while having a wide selection is helpful for finding the perfect cup of Joe, it can be intimidating if you're trying to stick to something on the healthier side.
"Coffee is a drink that is naturally low in calories and is chock-full of antioxidants, but if you aren't careful, adding too many high-fat and high-sugar ingredients can make your otherwise healthy drink not a great choice," says Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, registered dietitian and author of The First Time Mom's Pregnancy Cookbook and Fueling Male Fertility.
Because of this, Manaker says that one of the worst orders you can make at a coffee shop is a frappuccino-style drink or blended beverage. Read on to learn why these orders may not be the best choice for your health, and for more coffee-related tips, check out The Best Coffee Creamers for Belly Fat—Ranked!
Examples From Popular Coffee Chains
Let's look at something blended off the Starbucks menu, since it's one of the most popular coffee shop chains across the country. They have many blended beverage choices, but one of the worst is their Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino.
Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino
"Drinks like these are loaded with sugar and added fat, which are not the best things to have in large quantities when you are focused on supporting your health," says Manaker. For example, if you look at the saturated fat content of this drink, 17 grams is almost as much as is recommended to have in an entire day.
The sugar count is horrendous as well. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar a day per men and 25 for women. This drink is more than double the recommendation for men and triple for women.
Even if you were to downsize to a grande (16 ounces), you'd still get 55 grams of sugar and 15 grams of saturated fat. If you're craving something cold and blended, you're better off ordering a tall (12 ounce) Espresso Frappuccino, which has only 1 gram of saturated fat and 28 grams of sugar.
Starbucks isn't the only coffee chain with questionable menu items. In fact, the Dunkin' Donuts Frozen French Vanilla Swirl Coffee is even more shocking in its nutritional value.
Dunkin' Donuts Frozen French Vanilla Swirl Coffee
While the saturated fat and total fat count are actually mild in this coffee drink, the sugar count is at a whopping 132 grams! This is over three times the recommended daily value for men and more than five times the daily value for women.
The CDC says that the consistent consumption of too much added sugar can potentially contribute to things like weight gain, obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. When we are consuming this much sugar in just one drink, without taking into consideration the other things we consume that day, we aren't doing our health any favors.
How to choose a healthier coffee
Aside from the heavier amounts of calories, fat, and added sugar that often come in these coffee shop blended beverages, the fact that they're harder to make alterations to is another factor that makes them some of the worst orders to make.
At the end of the day, getting a black coffee and adding just a little bit of cream and sweetener is going to be one of your healthiest options at a coffee shop, but we understand that sometimes you want more of a sweet treat. If that's the case, stick to a place like Starbucks where you can order a hot or iced latte and make your own changes to it.
For example, you can order a Grande iced vanilla latte at Starbucks (which has 2 grams of saturated fat and 28 grams of sugar), but you can order it with half the amount of vanilla syrup to cut back on your sugar content and still enjoy a sugary beverage. If you truly want the blended coffee drink, feel free to treat yourself. But remember you have other healthier, equally delicious options as well.