Americans have a drug problem: We’re hooked on caffeine. In fact, about 75 percent of American adults drink at least one cup of coffee each day. Several studies have shown that drinking coffee might help offset dementia and Alzheimer’s — unfortunately, these brain-boosting cups of java are simultaneously wreaking havoc on other parts of our bodies. Fancy frozen concoctions, added flavors teeming with sugar, and super-sized receptacles all mean that the average cup o’ joe has increased from 45 calories 20 years ago, to 330 calories today.
We drink coffee for the energy — but the real truth is that most people are already consuming too much energy, which is why there’s an obesity problem. (Think about it.) So adding to your energy excess by guzzling a calorie- and sugar-laden drink doesn’t make a lot of sense. In fact, ask yourself this: Is it a lack of incoming sugar that's causing you to be tired — or is it that you're consuming too much of it in the first place? Chances are, it's the latter.
We rounded up the five worst coffee creations in America — next time you need your caffeine fix, be sure to trade them in for the smarter alternatives. Making these simple swaps every day can help you lose 10, 20, or even 30 pounds in a year — without even dieting!
Worst coffee substitute: Rockstar Original
280 calories; 62 grams sugar
That’s the sugar equivalent of 32 jelly beans!
In the past five years, the number of people who consume sugar-packed energy drinks has more than doubled. While Red Bull still leads the pack, Rockstar has steadily increased in popularity — which is too bad. See, part of what makes this drink so explosively unhealthy is because it’s twice the size of a regular drink serving, meaning that if you down one of these, you’re getting a double serving of sugar and caffeine. That’s why it made our slideshow of The 20 unhealthiest drinks in America.
Drink this instead! Rockstar Coffee + Energy Light Vanilla Roasted
100 calories; 14 grams sugar
Worst coffee on-the-go: McDonald's large mocha
400 calories; 14 grams fat (8 grams saturated, 0.5 grams trans); 49 grams sugar
That’s the caloric equivalent of six Fudgsicle bars!
Most other options on the McCafe menu are reasonable beverages — this is the heaviest one we could find. Here’s a hint: Blame the chocolate. Mochas are little more than hot chocolate with espresso — which explains why this drinkable dessert is the wrong choice for your pre-work drive-thru breakfast.
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Drink this instead! Large cappuccino
180 calories; 10 grams fat (6 grams saturated); 13 grams sugars
Worst hot coffee drink: Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha
22 g fat (15 g saturated)
75 g sugar
That’s the caloric equivalent of six tablespoons of full-fat mayonnaise!
The problem here isn’t that you’ve ordered a Venti (the largest Starbucks size) — there are plenty of Venti options that don’t pack more calories than a Big Mac, or as much sugar as a half-dozen doughnuts. The key to ordering at Starbucks (and elsewhere) is to create your own drink: Start with a Caffe Misto, and ask for a squirt or two of sugar-free syrup as a way to add delicious flavoring, without the caloric overload.
Drink this instead: Venti Caramel Caffe Misto
130 calories; 5 grams fat (3.5 grams saturated); 12 grams sugar
Worst frozen coffee drink: Large Dunkin’ Donuts frozen cappuccino with whole milk
610 calories; 8 grams fat (5 grams saturated); 123 grams carbs; 105 grams sugar.
That's the caloric equivalent of four Hostess Twinkies!
The Coolatta might sound like an indulgent frozen treat, but the real caper is the harmless-sounding frozen cappuccino. Choosing skim over whole and a medium over large are always smart swaps, but in this case switching drink types altogether is the best option.
Drink This Instead! Medium Coffee Coolatta with skim milk
210 calories; 0 grams fat; 44 grams sugars
Worst summer treat: Cold Stone Creamery Gotta-Have-It-sized Lotta Caramel Latte
1,790 calories; 90 grams fat (57 grams saturated, 2.5 grams trans); 175 grams sugar
That’s the caloric equivalent of 10 slices of Pizza Hut Thin ’n’ Crispy Ham and Pineapple pizza!
Don’t be fooled because Cold Stone calls this outrageous beverage a “latte.” It’s a coffee-flavored shake, pure and simple. Only problem is that it’s loaded with almost as many calories as you should eat in an entire day. Avoid the entire shake line at Cold Stone. You’re safer with actual coffee, or a couple scoops of sinless ice cream.
Drink This Instead! Like It Milk Caramel Latte
280 calories; 11 grams fat (7 grams saturated); 31 grams sugar
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