If you’re like us, you take your morning brew with lots of cream and sugar. A coffee with sweet caramel syrup is like the grownup version of sugary cereal (btw what’s your favorite cereal?), and it’s the only thing that can get us out of bed in the morning! We like to put rich, full fat cream in our coffee too, even though we know it’s probably not as good for us as whole or skim milk.
Full fat cream and sugary syrups are extremely delicious in coffee, but they add unnecessary fat, sugar, and calories to your breakfast unfortunately. If you’re trying to wean yourself off of cream and sugar like we are, then keep reading this article! Hearing about all of the negative health consequences that we might experience from loading up on cream and sugar definitely helps us cut back.
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How Much Calories Are in Cream and Sugar?
The average cup of black drip coffee is only 5 calories! Can you believe it? Coffee is almost as low in calories as water!
When you start adding things to coffee, though, the calories can add up really fast.
Just one tablespoon of full fat cream is around 50 calories.
So if you have two cups of coffee in the morning with just one
tablespoon of cream per cup, that’s around 110 calories, yikes! That
adds up fast. I don’t know about you, but we definitely put more than one tablespoon of cream in each cup!
Now let’s talk sugar! One teaspoon of sugar or one pump of syrup is about 20 calories. So if you have a coffee with one teaspoon of cream and one teaspoon of sugar, it’ll clock in at around 75 calories. Those two cups of coffee that were 110 calories just became 150 calories.
That may not sound like a lot, but if you’re trying to battle the bulge, every
calorie counts! Instead of those two coffees with cream and sugar, you could
eat a banana with half a tablespoon of peanut butter and drink two cups of
black coffee for around the same number of calories. That might fill you up
until lunch, but those two coffees with cream and sugar definitely won’t!
If you need something creamy in your morning coffee, try whole milk or half and
half instead. There’s only 9 calories in one tablespoon of whole milk and 20 in
a tablespoon of half and half. They’ll give your
coffee that richness you’re craving without completely breaking the calorie
You should try going light on the sugar, too, because consuming too much of it may increase your risk of getting diabetes.
Sugar Increases Risk of Diabetes
Experts believe that over consumption of sugar is a major cause
of weight gain and chronic diseases like diabetes. While adding a teaspoon or
two to your morning cup of coffee doesn’t seem like a big deal, consider it in
the overall context of your diet.
Just about everything these days has added sugar. Sugar gets added to
peanut butter, ketchup, marinara, barbecue sauce, bread and even salad
dressing. You name it!
The average American gets a whopping 17% of their calories from sugar! To put that in perspective, we’re only supposed to get a max of
10% of our daily calories from sugar. That’s a big difference!
Food manufacturers are adding a ton of extra sugar to their products to make
them taste better and of course sell better, so we have to reduce our
sugar intake in any way we can. If you don’t have time to read all of
the labels at the grocery store, it might just be better to cut the
obvious sources of sugar out of your diet, like the two teaspoons of sugar in your morning coffee.
Cream Packs on the Fat
Cream’s high calorie count isn’t the only reason why it’s unhealthy. Full fat heavy cream has a fat content of 36% or more depending on which brand you buy. To put that in perspective, just one tablespoon of the stuff contains 5.5 grams of fat!
Cream’s high calorie count isn’t the only reason why it’s unhealthy.
Full fat heavy cream has a fat content of 36% or more depending on which
brand you buy. To put that in perspective, just one tablespoon of the
stuff contains 5.5 grams of fat!
Healthy fats are good for you, but sadly, most of the fat in heavy cream is saturated. Consuming too much saturated fat
can cause you to develop high cholesterol. The American Heart
Association recommends that you consume no more than 13 grams of
saturated fat per day. If you have just one tablespoon of heavy cream,
you’re almost halfway there!
If you can’t kick your cream habit, try to choose a lighter one like half and
half, which contains 1.1 grams of saturated fat and 1.7 grams of fat in total.
It’s lower in calories, much healthier for your heart, and doesn’t taste that
Healthy fats are good for you, but sadly, most of the fat in heavy
cream is saturated. Consuming too much saturated fat can cause you to
develop high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends that
you consume no more than 13 grams of saturated fat per day. If you have just one tablespoon of heavy cream, you’re almost halfway there!
If you can’t kick your cream habit, try to choose a lighter one like half and half,
which contains 1.1 grams of saturated fat and 1.7 grams of fat in
total. It’s lower in calories, much healthier for your heart, and
doesn’t taste that much different!
Don’t Switch to Low Fat or Sugar Free Creamer
You might think that coffee creamers are a good alternative to full fat cream.
They’re lower in calories and they still taste pretty rich, so they’re a great
way to scratch that itch for heavy cream without packing on the pounds… right?
Coffee creamers are lower in calories, and they do taste great, but that all comes at
a cost. Creamers have a lot of artificial ingredients and additives to give
them a sweet, sugary taste without all the sugar and a thick, rich mouthfeel
without using real cream.
Sucralose, which is the main sweetener in Splenda, is a common ingredient in coffee creamers. Sucralose is a controversial sweetener because some studies have found that it increases your risk of getting cancer. It may also harm your gut bacteria and elevate your insulin and glucose levels. If you want something sweet, definitely go with real sugar, not Splenda.
Additives like carrageenan and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils make your creamer taste richer without adding any real cream, but they have a lot of drawbacks. Carrageenan may cause digestive problems, which is not what
you want out of your morning coffee! Coffee already causes digestive
issues for some people, so adding a carrageenan laden creamer to it is
probably not a good idea if you want to make it to work on time.
Partially hydrogenated oils bring some trans fats to the party, which raises your bad
cholesterol. If you consume enough trans fats, it raises your risk of
developing heart disease. Since cream is something you put in your coffee every
day, it’s probably best if it doesn’t have harmful trans fats.
Even though cream and sugar pack extra calories into your coffee, they’re definitely
a healthier choice than a lot of coffee creamers! If you can’t give up your
cream and sugar, you can at least take comfort in the fact that you could be
making worse choices.