January 18, 2019

Just when you think you couldn’t love coffee any more…

By: Stephanie Ineman, MS, RDN, LD

Coffee: It’s what gets me going in the morning.  I don’t dare leave home without it for my morning commute.  That first sip is like magic; the smell, the warmth, the taste.  It’s a remarkable sensory experience signifying the start of my day, but it also deserves some recognition on a nutritional level.  Go ahead and grab yourself a cup of coffee and read on…

Coffee has at least 1,000 natural compounds in the bean and another 300 created in the roasting process, including caffeine and powerful antioxidants.  Research has shown that modest coffee consumption (3-5 8oz cups/day) may be associated with liver disease prevention, improved cognitive function in older adults, sharper memory, increased athletic endurance, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and longevity.1 Pretty amazing, right?

Keep in mind, caffeine affects everyone differently and if you usually drink decaf, three cups may leave you feeling jittery and anxious.  Body weight, gender, heredity, and metabolism can all play a role in your response to caffeine.

Unfortunately, most people just don’t drink black coffee and adding flavoring and sugar begins to diminish the nutritional level.  The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars to 6 teaspoons daily (24 grams), and men should limit to 9 teaspoons (36 grams).2   A large latte from your favorite coffee shop can have up to 5 pumps of flavored syrup.  With each pump consisting of approximately 5 grams of sugar, it adds up quickly!  I know math isn’t everyone’s favorite subject, but that’s 25 grams of added sugar in just one cup of coffee!  Don’t let your morning cup of coffee rob you of your entire allotted sugar for day.

What’s a girl (or guy) to do?  Don’t be afraid to be a little picky! Ask for 1-2 pumps of syrup instead of 5, skip the whip, hold the chocolate shavings, request nonfat milk, or light on the cream.  You can even opt for an “Americano” that doesn’t use any steamed milk at all and just add a splash of milk or cream and 1 pump of syrup for a little flavor to make your taste buds happy.

I try to make my coffee at home to save a few bucks and limit visits to the coffee shop once a week as a treat.  If you get bored with the standard automatic drip, try pour over coffee, flavored coffee beans, French press, single cup espresso/coffee pods, cold brew, or use an old-fashioned percolator.  The type of brew impacts the flavor, so you just might find that perfect cup without adding as much cream or sugar!

Alright, I’m on my last sip of joe and I’ve justified my love of coffee enough for one day.  If you still aren’t keen on coffee, stay tuned for my next blog all about tea!



  1. National Coffee Association. n.d. Coffee, Caffeine & Health. Retrieved from http://www.ncausa.org/Health-Caffeine. Accessed 27 March, 2018.
  2. American Heart Association. Added Sugars. February 2017. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Added-Sugars_UCM_305858_Article.jsp#.WqqLOujwbIU. Accessed 27 March, 2018.