Would You Like a Muffin Top With that Coffee?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The mid-afternoon coffee break. For some, it's enjoyment. For others, it's a necessity in order to function until the end of the day. A plain cup of coffee or tea won't break the bank when it comes to calories (less than 10 calories per cup). But the more "fancy" your order becomes, the faster the calories and fat can skyrocket. A recent study looked at what kinds of drinks people opt for during their afternoon visit to the local Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.

Researchers from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stood outside of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts between 2 and 4 p.m., asking patrons for details about their orders as they exited the stores. The results were published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

According to the study, "Approximately two-thirds of purchases at Starbucks and one-fourth of purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts were blended coffee beverages." The average blended coffee contained 239 calories per serving, which ends up being about 12% of a 2,000-calorie diet. Both stores have a wide range of options, depending on your preference and calorie budget. But there are some drinks you probably want to avoid altogether. For example, Starbucks Strawberries and Crème Frappachino Blended Crème (the large size with whipped cream) has 580 calories per serving, and Dunkin' Donuts large Vanilla Bean Coolata has a whopping 860 calories per serving.

So if you're dying for a pick-me-up but don't take your coffee black, what can you do? A few easy ways to save fat and calories would be to get the small size and/or opt for non-fat instead of whole milk. Also check out the nutritional info of your favorite drink before you order, since many places have it available in the store. Then you can decide whether you'd rather drink your calories, or save them for a scoop of ice cream later on. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I'd definitely opt for the dessert.

What do you think?

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I can't quit coffee... Report
I love tea! I love coffee= make that an I used to love coffee!
Because of my heart, I now drink decaf, which I think isn't as tasty as a regular cup a joe. I know it's in my mind, but it also helps to cut my liquid limit, so its a good thing for me. Report
I love my coffee thank you for this artical. Started drinking half folg because of caffine not to bad its hot and on the cold days I want somthing hot!! Report
I have had serious caffeine addictions throughout my working life, and each time I try to quit it is very hard but completely worth it. It takes a week or two of painful withdrawal to become bright-eyed and happy again, but it saves so much money, helps with sleeping and being healthy, and doesn't make me so fat! I used to order a venti soy iced sugar-free caramel latte, thinking this was somehow healthy, but I didn't realize the soy milk itself was packed with a ton of calories and sugar. Then I tried switching to the matcha green tea frappuccino, which I didn't know had the same problem as well as having pumps of simple syrup in it! So, now I stay away from Starbucks and put on a nice kettle of tea in the morning on weekends and am much happier for it! Report
Cinnamon is a great no calerie additive to coffee and has lots of health benefits as well. I usually drink my coffee black but when I just 'have to have' something special, I add a bit of cayenne pepper and unsweetened cocoa to the coffee. It's yummy! Report
non fat latte is a good way to get your dairy in but the baking at Starbucks is a nightmare! There supposed low fat coffee cake is so loaded with sugar you are better off eating 2 chocolate bars. Probably healthier too if you pick dark chocolate Report
I used to drink a "specialty" coffee from Starbucks every day (my office was upstairs from it). I noticed very quickly that my pants fit tighter, and I started packing on the pounds. Now that I stopped drinking coffee I don't crave it anymore, and find that I have enough energy even without the coffee. It's just the addiction to it that makes you so tired without it, your body starts to rely on it and doesn't know how to have enough energy without it. You can get enough energy from exercising and eating right, and once you start exercising you'll sleep better and won't need that morning coffee! Report
Half and half is my weakness. I drink at least 1/2 cup a day in multiple cups of coffee. And its worth it! Anything else can be eliminated or cut back to make room for that perfect color of tan in my coffee cup. Report
I am a caffeine addict. I used to drink 1-3 large Rockstars per day for a year just to keep me going in the restaurant business. It came to a point where it wasn't working for me anymore so I quit intake of caffeine for a month, (I did experience caffeine withdrawals) so that caffeine could have an effect on me again. I turned to coffee instead. Getting a coffee from Starbucks everyday is so expensive, even if it was just a regular black coffee. I bought the Bialetti stovetop espresso pot for $30 from Whole Foods and bought a Peet's Italian Roast bag for $8. I work on that Peet's coffee bag for a little over a month and I use gobs of it a day. I'd say that's the best money saver, it tastes good with a dash of vanilla soy milk and it's strong. Report
I love our local roasters breakfast blend, I use 1/4 tsp sugar and 2% milk. Every morning. Except on Friday and Saturday which, of course, I drink it all day. Report
860 calories in one cup of coffee? Insane. Report
If you absolutely can't drink black coffee, add splenda and a little bit of skim milk, or get a tall latte w/sugar free syrup and skim milk, it will be approx 80 cals and still a good pick me up w/out all of that extra fat and calories! Report
It was getting to expensive to drink Star Bucks on the regular. I cut my coffee intake to 1-2 per day and am satisfied with drinkin Taster's Choice instant flavored coffees (Vanilla & Hazelnut). The flavor is tasty enough that I can drink it black. Report
Just got an e-mail this am from a friend who said there is MSG in Starbuck's coffee...MMM, don't drink it and I agree with you...dessert please. Report
I love Starbucks coffee! From time to time I'll treat myself to an iced black coffee (no sugar, no milk) with whipped creme and cinnamon on top. The whipped cream isn't a big deal if you don't have the added syrups, etc. :)

I also make it at home with reduced fat whipped cream and it's a good afternoon treat with very few calories. Report
I drink a lot of coffee, but only black, no milk, no sugar version. 2 kcal per cup at MOST, do not see a single reason to get rid of this habit, especially since I genetically have low blood pressure (i.e. too low, which is just as big a problem as high blood pressure) Report
I love Starbucks! But couldn't believe how many calories were in some of my favorites. We bought a cappuccino machine last year, and make our own drinks. I use 1% milk with a little flavored creamer to make my favorites. If we ever do go to starbucks I will get the skim milk, and no whip, and not the venti like I used to . I am shamelessly addicted to coffee, & am thankful to have some healthier options. Thanks for the good information, as always. Report
I love starbucks and I have a coffee with skim milk and fat free syrup. This comes to 90 cal. for a big one. I don't find that too much for my coffee in the a.m. Report
not a big coffee drinker so I can take it or leave it. It seems I need lots of sugar and cream when I do have coffee so I am better off without it. Report
love coffee, but I'm a Dunkin Donuts fan. Use to be a Starbuck's until I found out how many calories in my mocha latte, so I only have the regular coffee now, and since I don't care for Starbuck's regular I'll take either DD or Mcdonalds, or Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Ever tried their Southern Pecan mmmmmmmm Report
Love the smell of coffee on a cold day but can't stand the taste! No matter how much sugar and/or cream added to it, it still tastes horrid. I'll take an orange & spice green tea please! Report
I give myself a treat now & again! I love my skinny latte. Report
Personally, I'm not a coffee gal. I get crazy from caffeine since I just never ever consume it. I used to like coffee in High School and before I went vegan I liked Frappachinos. I still like coffee flavored things. I get a divine mocha soy ice cream, for example. Mmm.... coffee flavor.

My sweet hot drink of choice is cocoa! Make it with original almond milk (60 calories in a cup) and some GOOD dark cocoa powder (I like Lake Champlain's Organic Fair Trade cocoa mix) and you have a really nice occasional treat. Even better with some Dandies or Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallows and a dash of cinnamon. Mmm. Report
Sugar free syrups help too! I love my coffee on those really rough mornings, but I only get it non-fat and sugar free. I even only go to the shop in my area that carries my favorite flavors in sugar free. Report
I love coffee, but luckily my craving for it is satisfied by regular coffee with some skim milk or non fate creamer in it. Report
Well I don't drink coffee.
the only things I go to starbucks for
is a flavored hot chocolate. and
a sweet treat. But as far
as dunkin dounuts, I have not been in months. Report
I'm a tea drinker, but I do have to be careful on the added treats. I'm happy I gave up the diet coke...water for me please! I have to keep practicing that one. Report
I've started drinking tea with Truvia during the day and only have 1 cup of coffee with cream in the morning.
I don't drink coffee at all... very liberating, honestly. I know a lot of people who claim they can't function without it.

Usually a light snack will pick me up just fine. When you don't rely on caffeine, you don't get as big a crash. :D Report
I have never ordered anything more exotic than a sugar-free soy latte - and that was only once. When I want coffee, I want it to taste like coffee, not a candy bar. Report
First of all... I'm too cheap for Starbucks... LOL.
I make my coffee at home. When I feel in the mood for a latte, I put 1/4 cup low or non-fat milk and a spash of vanilla extract in a mug and warm it in the microwave. Then I 'froth' it with a wisk (make it as foamy as desired) and pour hot coffee in the mug. Then sprinkle cinamon on top. So, we now have a mock vanilla latte for less than 50 calories.
Or - McDonalds SugarFree/Fat Free Vanilla Latte/Capaccino - is good when I'm not at home... It only has 110 calories for the large... Report
I don't drink coffee or tea (never have, except the occasional iced tea on a hot day), but I am always shocked at the SIZE of the iced coffees that I see other people drink. Kind of like the McDonald's Super-Size Coke I used to drink prior to my gastric bypass. Now, soda never passes my lips.

I saw a colleague that I hadn't seen in a while, and I complimented her on how great she looked and asked her how she had lost the weight. She said that she'd simply stopped drinking her daily latte and dropped 10 pounds in a month! Hearing that makes me very glad I don't drink my calories anymore. Report
Luckily I don't like the taste of coffee. I much prefer tea.
I'm mainly a tea drinker (decaf), but sometimes I get a dunkaccino as a treat. Report
I usually have 2 8-oz cups of coffee in the morning and sometimes 1 in the afternoon, with skim milk and no sugar. I used to drink an insane amount of coffee, back when I was a smoker and only eating one (huge, unhealthy) meal late in the day. I had to cut back on the caffeine when I quit smoking, and it was easy to cut out the calorie-laden lattes entirely after I started eating small, healthy meals throughout the day. Report
Chai tea latte is my fav now- slightly healtheir than my grande mocha frap with carmel on top of the whipped creme. The 2nd was wonderful tasting, but when I saw how many calories I was choosing to drink it floored me. Chai latte isn't perfect - but it serves as an occasional treat. When I have to go there for meetings, etc- I have been getting english breakfast tea. It's one of if not the cheapest thing on the menu, and you can continuouly refil with hot water to refresh your drink. Report
I have one 16 oz cup of home made coffee with milk in the morning. That's it. On a rare occasion I'll have a coffee drink (I like the pumpkin latte) but I count that as a treat, the same way I look at a piece of cake. Report
I get a Skinny Caramel Latte from Starbucks almost every day. A grande only has 130 calories and no fat. However, going to Starbucks to read for my dissertation or do my grading is an important part of my day, so I would find a way a budget it in no matter what. Report
A few years ago, I drank anywhere from 2 - 5 or 6 cups of coffer per day. Around that same time, I couldn't figure out why I was having problems with my tummy & and a few other health related things. So I went to the doctor & found out that I was fibrocystic & he told me to stop with the coffee. Well I stopped drinking coffee cold turkey & except for every blue moon or two, I haven't had coffee since.... I don't get that sick feeling on my stomach & my bosom doesn't hurt all of the time anymore!! Thank God I don't do Starbucks - way too expensive for me & far too many calories!! Report
At DD or Starbucks, I like a large iced latte, skim, no sugar...
I can't tell you the number of times I get questioned or a strange look.

It doesn't help that it's a 1-2/mo thing for me! Report
I looked up my normal order at Starbucks after I started on SP, and I was shocked to see that it had over 800 calories! I recall turning to my husband and saying, "That's half of all my calories for the day now, I wouldn't be able to eat!" So, now it has been modified down to 300 calories, (non-fat milk and tall instead of Venti) and it is included in my calorie count as a snack if I have one. Some days I'm on the run, and I'd rather drink my snack, sometimes I'd like that yogurt or granola bar. Everything in moderation! Report
Calories was one of the reasons I switched from a Latte to an Americano - I still have a flavor added, but by cutting the milk, I cut back some calories, saved a lot of money, and still enjoy a great cup of coffee. I don't do the blended drinks at all because they're just too sweet and rich. Report
I'm not a coffee drinker. The first few times I got a Starbucks gift card from a friend, I gave them away. Then I discovered their chai, and fell in love! Thankfully I like it best with non-fat milk, and I now buy the Tazo chai mix at my grocery or Target store so I can have it at home. But, it's still a treat to get it from time-to-time at Starbucks - my husband refills my gift card as a gift at Christmas, Anniversary or Birthday. I have the perfect glass mug at home that holds 175 calories worth of chai - so I know what I'm taking in. Maybe Tazo will come up with a lower-sugar variety some day. Report
I'm with you, Jen. Don't care for coffee, but love the desserts! Report
I used to be a huge Starbucks caramel frappacino drinker (with whipped cream, of course) but when I discovered the calorie count, I was floored. Now I occasionally go for a tall non-fat latte, which is only ~100 calories. Report
No coffee for me after my 2 cups in the morning with splenda and fat free coffee mate. SO DONE with Starbucks. Report
I love my coffee. Drink Decaf black and no sugar. On occasion I will stop at racetrac for a cappuchino. They have a sugar free caramel that I love. Need to check out the calories in it. But only stop like once a month so hope I am safe. Report
Love coffee- was proud that I passed by Starbucks today while at the mall and didn't stop! I also saved a few bucks too! Report
I just love coffee, especially Tim Hortins'. I do drink sometimes 2 coffee in the morning, and one in the afternoon. I use splenda, and coffee mate in mine. i never do get any of the treats, that go with it. ie. muffins, doughnuts, etc. Report
I don't care for coffee. I'm trying to drink tea, but I'm basically not a tea drinker either. Report
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