Want to know how to save 600 calories and almost your total daily saturated fat allowance (25g) in your coffee break? Swap a Starbucks venti whole milk white chocolate mocha with whipped cream (625 calories) for a venti Americano with some hot skinny milk (about 50 calories).
That’s an extreme example, but the amount that coffee-shop drinks have contributed to our weight gain in the last decade or so is not to be underestimated.
A less exaggerated comparison would be to cut calorie intake in half by swapping a grande latte with semi-skimmed milk (150 calories) for a tall cappuccino with semi-skimmed milk (95 calories).
The difference is explained by the amount of milk contained in proportion to water: a latte (which is Italian for ‘milk’) contains much more milk than a Cappuccino (and an Americano or macchiato with a dash of milk contain even less).
Of course, milk is a nutritious drink but large, sweetened milky coffees arguably are not. Some coffee shops now show nutritional information on their websites, so do check them out if you want to compare one of your favorites and make a simple swap and cut down on calories.
Facts on Fluids – How to Stay Hydrated
Did you know that it’s important to drink about 1.2 liters (six to eight glasses) of fluid per day? Whether this should include just water or other soft drinks has been the subject of endless debate, but most dieticians agree that it can include soft drinks and moderate amounts of tea or coffee.
But just a large latte (223 calories), a can of soft drink (139 calories) and an afternoon cup of tea with a spoonful of sugar (34 calories) add up to almost 400 calories.
Swapping the latte for a filter coffee or Americano, choosing a diet drink or sparkling water and cutting out the sugar would save about 300.
If you want to save money, too, invest in a large, attractive bottle or carafe, fill it with tap water every day and make a rule to drink the lot by the time you go home.
Caffeinated vs Decaffeinated drinks
Too much Caffeine can give you the jitters and stop you sleeping: it raises your heart rate and may even give you palpitations. But as anyone who can’t get out of bed in the morning without a cuppa knows, it also stimulates the central nervous system: coffee or tea (black, green or white) will give you a little boost that can help you stay alert at the start of the day.
A study published by Harvard scientists in September 2011 found that women who drink two to three cups of coffee per day are less likely to suffer from depression.
There are no official guidelines for Caffeine consumption in the UK – except that pregnant women should stick to 200mg a day because a high Caffeine intake has been associated with miscarriage.
Those who suffer from high blood pressure or anxiety should also steer clear. How much is right for you is, of course, up to you, but diet experts suggest four or five caffeinated drinks per day, and that you should have the last one in the afternoon.
But do remember to bear in mind the different strengths of caffeinated drinks. An official UK survey of caffeine levels in drinks ranged from 1mg for the weakest tea to 255mg for the strongest cup of ground coffee. Don’t forget drinks like cola and chocolate or guarana all contain caffeine.
How much Caffeine is Contained in Common Beverages
The list below shows how much Caffeine contains in some popular beverages:
- One mug of instant coffee contains 100mg of caffeine
- One mug of filter coffee contains around 150mg of caffeine
- One mug of tea contains around 75mg of caffeine
- One can of cola contains around 45mg of caffeine
- One can of energy drink contains 85mg of caffeine
- One 55g bar of dark chocolate around 55mg of caffeine
- One 55g bar of milk chocolate around 25mg of caffeine