Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Coffee calories: Sabotaging your weight-loss goal?

I'm trying to lose weight. Can I still drink coffee or will it add too many calories to my diet?

Updated: 10-16-2010

Answer

It depends on the type of coffee you drink. A plain cup of brewed coffee has only two calories (and no fat). But if you dress up your coffee with extras, whether at home or your favorite coffee shop, you also add on extra calories.

See how many unwanted calories that 1 tablespoon of these extras can add to your coffee:

  • Heavy whipping cream. 52 calories
  • Table sugar. 49 calories
  • Half-and-half. 20 calories
  • Fat-free milk. 5 calories

So if you're dieting or watching your weight, carefully read product labels as you consider how to flavor your coffee.

When you're buying brew from your local coffee shop, it's especially easy to go overboard on calories (and fat and sugar). Before ordering, check out the nutrition information provided by the coffee shop, either in person or online. Some coffee drinks are more like dessert and can have hundreds of calories. Occasional indulgence is fine. But remember that when it comes to weight loss, all calories count — even calories in liquid form.

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