If you enjoy your java in moderation, your love affair with coffee may not be a bad thing, but the stuff you add to it can be. Coffee is a must-have for many people and if you'd rather not drink it black, there are healthier alternatives that won't sacrifice taste. Below are the four worst coffee add-ins plus cleaner alternatives that will enhance your coffee's natural flavor.
Non-dairy creamers are the worst things to add to your coffee because the top ingredients are often corn syrup solids and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which mimic the creamy texture of half and half. Corn syrup means sugar and empty calories, while hydrogenated oils are trans fats that have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. Try adding regular low-fat or skim milk or almond milk for a healthy natural creamer.
Flavor add-ins/ shots
Adding flavor shots like vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, mint, or pumpkin spice is a sneaky way pure cane sugar and artificial food coloring get into your coffee or lattes. For a flavor boost without the additional intake of sugar, try adding a few drops of vanilla, peppermint, or various nut extracts to get the same yummy taste. These are naturally sugar free and are most likely already in your pantry.
Zero-calorie sweeteners may sound attractive to those watching their weight. But more and more studies link lab-made sugar substitutes to serious health problems like impaired glucose metabolism, diabetes, heart failure, and more. Try using an all natural, zero-calorie sweetener like pure liquid stevia extract. These natural alternatives are becoming more common on grocery store shelves.
Despite the calorie count, pure sugar used in moderation can be better for you than artificial sweeteners. But if you're drinking several cups of coffee per day, those empty calories will add up fast. Adding just 2 tsp of sugar to each of your 3 daily cups equates to 48 grams of sugar total! If you are not ready to cross over to the dark side of drinking black coffee, progressively get yourself there by adding a few dashes of cinnamon for a natural sweetness. It may not taste like the sweet coffee you desire but it will reduce blood sugar levels and keep your sweet cravings in check.
If tea is more your thing, try adding honey instead of sugar because it is a natural sweetener with fewer calories. Honey also contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds, an added health benefit.
Doylestown Health nutritionist Audrey Fleck offers some food for thought when it comes to coffee consumption. "If you need to add a lot of sugar and cream to your coffee, you might not really like the taste of coffee and the only reason you are drinking it is for the sugar/cream."
About Nutrition Counseling of Doylestown Hospital
Doylestown Health's Nutrition Counseling offers personalized nutrition plans for those with a current medical condition or those interested in preventive health and weight loss. Doylestown Health Nutrition Services specializes in nutrition therapy for diabetes, weight management, cardiovascular disease, digestive and eating disorders, pregnancy, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
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