In 2022, it doesn’t take long watching the news or skimming the headlines to see yet another story about America’s obesity problem or how unhealthy people have become. Diabetes is on the uprise, quadrupling in the last three decades. The CDC recently remarked how alarming this trend is and has sent many health experts and researchers looking for the answer.
Does Flavored Coffee Have Calories?
The typical American diet is loaded with empty, and often hidden, calories and processed foods, which usually start with a sugary coffee drink first thing in the morning from a cafe or an at home latte maker. You don’t need to skip your daily caffeine fix to avoid all those extra calories, but getting that fix in the form of flavored coffee drinks is bad for your health and your waistline.
Typical flavored beverages, found at popular coffee hotspots like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, are loaded with artificial flavorings, colors sugar, cream, and syrup, which adds a significant amount of calories to your daily intake.
However, don’t panic at the thought of giving up your favorite breakfast treat just yet, there are still plenty of ways to have your morning coffee and skip all the extra calories.
Types of Flavored Coffee
Whether you prefer your coffee beans to come already ground in order to brew in a thermal carafe coffee maker, or you unlock their freshness immediately before your coffee drips with a grind and brew maker, Flavored coffee beans do not have as many calories or added sugar as flavored syrups do, but they contain plenty of other harmful additives that may make you think twice before switching from sugary syrup drinks to flavored beans.
Even as tempting as coffee beans flavored as Pumpkin Spice, Caramel Macchiato, Bavarian Creme or Chocolate Raspberry sounds, knowing the process of how the beans are flavored should be enough to deter most people.
All artificially flavored coffee beans are flavored through a process using propylene glycol, while it is claimed to be safe when consumed in small doses, there are warnings that propylene glycol is an irritant to the skin and mucous membranes with prolonged contact. Along with propylene glycol, you will also find sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate, which are precursors for carcinogens and highly toxic in large amounts.
Additionally, reputable coffee vendors have taken the precautions to require any employee working with these artificial chemicals to wear hazmat gear, but millions of people worldwide drink coffee made from these artificially flavored beans without a second thought.
Coffee beans are often heavily-flavored to mask a cheap and inferior product.
But, as most companies are driven by their bottom line, they use cheap coffee beans that would otherwise taste bitter and unappealing and add flavors meant to delight the taste buds and senses to hide the product.
One of the most popular ways to do this is by using coffee syrups and creamers.
Whether it is Coffeemate at home or that added pump of Starbucks’ sweet syrup, you are adding an exorbitant amount of sugar to your morning delight. Sugar is one of the worst things for your health, leading to health problems such as diabetes, ADD, heart disease and obesity related illnesses.
Coffee syrups are condensed and on average thirty times sweeter than white sugar.
Just one ounce of a favorite brand of caramel syrup adds 19 grams of sugar and 80 calories. One ounce would be equivalent to about four pumps of syrup, and there are coffee drinks on menus such as Starbucks that contain seven pumps of syrup.
Additionally, most syrups are made from high fructose corn syrup, and while this is still a hotly debated ingredient, the effect it has on your blood sugar alone should be enough to avoid it when possible. With the amount of sugar in flavored coffee, especially first thing in the morning, your body has to work extra hard to process all that sugar and release additional insulin to prevent your blood sugar from skyrocketing to dangerous levels.
Over time, your pancreas starts to wear out and is unable to meet the demands of insulin, which results in higher than healthy blood sugar levels. Artificial sugar is not the answer either, as they are full of chemicals and just as bad for your health.
What About Naturally Flavored Coffee?
No, this is not referring to learning to acquire the taste for unflavored and pure coffee, although that is an option for some people. By just switching the natural flavor profile of the beans you choose, you can learn to enjoy a more natural cup of coffee.
Dark Brazilian beans are naturally sweeter and hint at the taste of chocolate while some Ethiopian blends are more fruity and fragrant tasting.
Your coffee can still be something to look forward to when you choose companies that naturally flavor their coffee with ingredients like cocoa, honey, maple syrup, vanilla beans and cinnamon.
You can also find organic coffee beans that are flavored with natural ingredients without harmful chemicals like propylene glycol or potassium sorbate.
If you don’t want to make your coffee at home or are just not ready to give up your Starbucks’ coffee just yet, opting for a smaller sized coffee and choosing options with less syrup or flavoring can significantly reduce your intake of sugar and calories.
Does Hazelnut Coffee Have Carbs? Plus, Other Nutrition Facts:
Hazelnut coffee, whether through artificially flavored beans or added syrup, is one of the most popular flavor choices of coffee. While black hazelnut-flavored coffee won’t add any extra sugar or calories, coming in at about five calories per cup, choose organic or naturally-infused coffee beans to avoid artificial flavors and chemicals.
However, once you start adding flavorings to your coffee, the calorie count, and carb counts, can quickly soar. By adding just a tablespoon of hazelnut coffee creamer to your coffee, you increased the calorie count to approximately 35 calories per cup.
With the demand for healthier options on the rise, you can choose soy or almond milk based creamers that have less sugar and calories to still give you that milky and creamy coffee you desire.
Stay away from cafe coffee as one sixteen ounce cup of hazelnut macchiato can add up to 250 calories with 50 calories of that coming from fat, and that’s without the additional whipped cream option.
How Many Calories are in Flavored K-Cups?
If you are environmentally-conscious, you may want to skip the K-cups as even the designer of the pods regrets his invention due to not understanding the environmental impacts.
However, for those who still choose the convenience of a Keurig coffee maker, knowing the calorie count can be helpful.
While a regular K-cup of black coffee only nets about 2-4 calories on its own, there are flavored K-cups that are around 60 calories per cup. The easiest way to check which K-cups contain the additional calories is by comparing the back of the nutrition label. If there is no ingredient list or nutrition panel, then it is just coffee.
Does Coffee Contain Natural Sugar?
Flavored coffee beans do not usually contain any significant amount of carbohydrates unless sugar was added during the infusion or flavoring process.
The best way to know if your favorite flavored coffee beans have carbs is to check the nutritional panel and list of ingredients.
If there is any sugar or high fructose corn syrup on the ingredient list, then, yes, that type of flavored coffee does have carbs. Additionally, flavored instant coffee powders almost always have carbs.
Most coffee syrups will have some carbohydrates as well, usually averaging between 8-12 grams per serving. The average serving size most coffee syrups brands use is about one tablespoon.
While a regular cup of black coffee does not contain any natural sugar, people with blood sugar issues should be aware that coffee, even without sugar, can still have an impact on your blood glucose levels.
If you have diabetes, regular black coffee can make your blood sugar levels rise.
Although, for people without blood sugar problems, black coffee may increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin and reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
How to Flavor Coffee Beans at Home?
If you are ready to give up that Caramel Machiatto in the morning, you can still enjoy flavored coffees in the comfort of your own home by infusing beans with flavor naturally. The first thing to do is select a bean with a flavor profile that matches with the flavors you want to add. A chocolate flavor profile won’t match very well if you’re going for a cinnamony vanilla taste.
A quick and easy way to flavor your coffee is simply adding spices to your grounds as they are brewing. Common favorites include pumpkin pie spice blend, apple pie spice blend, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
Pure extracts are another great way of adding flavor, you can add it to the grounds of your beans for a more subtle flavor or right to your cup of brewed coffee for maximum flavor impact, and there is a whole world of flavors available in pure extract form. Popular extracts include peppermint, raspberry, banana, cinnamon, maple, vanilla, orange, and chocolate. You can even blend your extracts such as raspberry and chocolate for a custom-made flavor that’s just right for you.
You can also make your own flavored syrups, while it will add some calories, sugar, and carbs, you can control how much you put in to keep it within moderation. Simple syrups are simple to make, just simmer down two cups of sugar to two cups of filtered water and add in your flavoring of choice, let it simmer for about twenty minutes, and you will have a versatile syrup you can add to your coffee anytime you choose. Utilize your favorite milk or dairy alternative and the best milk frother you can find, and you can really get creative at home!
Watch: Does Flavored Coffee Have Calories Video Review
Avoiding unnecessary calories and sugar can have a positive and beneficial impact on your health, and by including healthier options; you can still enjoy your coffee and have a better quality of life.