Confessions of a Coffee Addict

by: Danielle Ternyila

I consider myself a true coffee-lover. For as long as I can remember, my days begin with brewing myself a cup or pot. On the off-days I don’t do this, you can guarantee I’ll be in the Starbucks drive-thru or QuickChek line instead – and none other, because I have coffee-standards!

Coffee is celebrated every day in my little world, but its grounded pleasures are especially recognized October 1 for International Coffee Day. In honor of this day, let’s talk about some of our favorite caffinated beverages sometimes confused with true c-o-f-f-e-e!

We are all familiar with the wild assortment of drinks Starbucks, Dunkin, and other coffee shops offer. If you’re an avid customer, you’ve enjoyed your share of frappuccinos, lattes, and machiattos. After a few years working in one of my favorite coffee shops in college, I learned more about these and all the other goodies we love – including how they are made and what exactly we are consuming.

Don’t assume the milkshake-like consistency is any less caffeinated than the other menu items, but it is not coffee-based either. It can vary where you are ordering it, but one thing that remains is the large amount of fat, sugar, and calories. All the flavors are sugary syrups, then you add whole milk into that and you’re over 25-85 grams of sugar depending on your flavor of choice.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t need that many calories for just 12 ounces of coffee.

Lattes and macchiatos are among the most popular espresso drinks you can grab, but these vary in a lot of ways. Depending on the flavors and milk options, you can be consuming anywhere from 180 to 600 calories.

There is more to keep in mind than caffeine when enjoying these too. I know what to expect with these drinks: small latte gets 1 shot espresso, medium 2 and large 3, but if they’re iced, they each get an extra shot, and that large-iced is probably going to get 5 shots, which is an extreme amount of caffeine for 1 drink consumed within an hour. If I add in a flavor, I expect anywhere from 3-6 pumps of liquid sugar, whether it’s a simple syrup for sweetener, caramel, vanilla, or pumpkin.

If for some reason you’re in a rut where you can’t access true coffee, the best bev hidden on the menu is an americano. It gets its name from years ago during WWII. American soldiers were often caught pouring hot water in their espresso to water it down so it was more like the coffee they were accustomed to.

The best part about an Americano is the lack of calories! Similar to coffee, a black cup of coffee or espresso can have as little as no calories. When you add in creamer and sugar, it will vary, but if you can wean off those to black coffee, no sugar or creamers, you will be golden!

Tip! Slowly substitute out the less healthy add-ins with alternatives like almond milk and stevia. Add less and less now and then to get your tastebuds used to the simple pleasure of coffee on its own! If you really want to add a little flavor, consider mixing in some of your caramel protein shake. [Visit us in the Empowerment group on Facebook to learn more on this tip!]

One last thought to share on coffee. It can be a really great boost in the morning, but you still don’t want to overuse it. Coffee should be drank in moderation, which is another reason to shy away from some of those fancy espresso drinks. Caffeine has also been linked to anxiety, and so you should be mindful of how you feel and consider that when you pull up to your local drive-thru.

Decaf coffee can still be an alternative, and one I lean on when I know I’ve had enough caffeine but I still need something to sip to get me through the end of a long day. I don’t allow myself any caffeine later than 4pm as well since it’s effects can linger for several hours after consumption (potentially up to 10 hours or longer depending how much you consume). Just some food for thought!

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