I always like to start off my mornings with a hot cup of coffee to wake up and get a little energy boost. Most caffeinated beverages tend to receive a bad rep these days, but there are a few things to know when ordering a coffee drink. By itself, in moderation of course, drinking coffee regularly can be quite good for you. Unroasted, unprocessed coffee beans are a great source of antioxidants, provide small amounts of vitamins and minerals, and may reduce risk of several health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, neurological dysfunction, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Disease. Just be sure not to drink too much. Less than 400 milligrams per day, which is about 4 freshly brewed 8-oz cups, is a reasonable limit.
On the other hand, coffee drinks can be slightly hazardous to your health because of all the hidden ingredients. Most creamers and syrups contain high amounts of added sugars or saturated fats. While a regular 16-oz Starbucks Dark Roast coffee has approximately 5 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g added sugars, and about 260 mg caffeine, a Java Chip Frappuccino has about 470 calories, 12 g saturated fat, 66 g of added sugars, and only 110 mg caffeine. That’s just a 16-oz! Keep in mind that an occasional treat from time to time is okay, but don’t make this your instant go-to every morning.
So what are some alternatives? Simply using skim milk or almondmilk as a creamer substitute can add a bit of flavor to your coffee to make it less bitter. You can also add a drop or two of vanilla extract, honey, pure maple syrup, or a dash of 100% stevia. A good cup of coffee can still taste great without all the extra calories.
To sum up, coffee itself is not bad, but it can be dangerous if it has a large amount of additives or if consumed in excess. Moderate coffee consumption can still be part of a healthy diet, but it may be a good idea to speak with your doctor about your personal limit.