10 Coffee Drinks Worse Than a Candy Bar
Worst coffee drinks
We've all been there: 4 o'clock rolls around and you're dying for something to help get you through an afternoon energy slump. Your head knows that a healthy snack will perk you up—carrots and hummus, an apple with peanut butter—but your heart is craving one of those warm, lip-smacking seasonal coffee drinks with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. Even nutritionists enjoy an occasional not-so-healthy treat, so should you go for it? Sorry, but probably not: most of these coffee concoctions contain more fat and sugar than sweet treats you can actually eat—and many rack up more calories than a small meal. Read on for the 10 coffee calorie bombs you should avoid, and the less-sinful ways you can satisfy your cravings.
Dunkin Donuts Sugar Cookie Latte
230 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 saturated), 35 g sugar in a small
Even a small has 230 calories, plus it's loaded with less-than-desirable ingredients: high-fructose corn syrup, four artificial colors, and something called “sugar cookie flavored swirl syrup.” Why bother?
Have this instead: Drink a cup of coffee with whole milk and pair it with an actual sugar cookie. You can skip the scary ingredients and still clock in at 205 calories.
McDonalds McCafe Mocha
340 calories, 11 g fat (7 saturated), 42 g sugar in a small
Along with a caffeine jolt, knocking back a McDonald's McCafé Mocha will give you a
sugar buzz: a small contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons, or nearly twice what the American Heart Association recommends for the entire day. Artificial flavors and colors also lurk inside this treat.
Have this instead: Sip a small café au lait made with whole milk and savor an ounce of good-quality dark chocolate. You get your caffeine fix, and you get to eat chocolate, all for less than 200 calories. Plus, dark chocolate is rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Seattle's Best Birthday Cake Latte
310 calories, 15 g fat (9 saturated), 35 g sugar in a small
Honestly, we're not really sure what a birthday cake-flavored coffee even means. But we'll probably never find out, since a small one has 310 calories—nearly as many as an actual
cupcake, with frosting, which clocks in at 342 calories.
Have this instead: If you have a cake craving you just can't shake, then skip the coffee concoction and have a cupcake instead. Yes, we know—342 is more than 310, and neither of these choices is healthy. But if you're going to indulge, wouldn't you rather eat a cupcake with frosting than sip an artificially flavored coffee drink?
Caribou Coffee Gingersnap Cookie Mocha
420 calories, 24 g fat (15 saturated), 43 g sugar in a small
The American Heart Association recommends that an average person following a 2,000-calorie diet limit their saturated fat intake to 11 to 13 grams a day. With just one indulgent order at Caribou, you'd exceed that by 2 grams. Even if you cut the whipped cream from your order, you're still looking at 8 grams of saturated fat, not to mention 320 calories, 42 g of sugar, and 13 grams of total fat.
Have this instead: Instead of drinking coffee laced with “gingersnap syrup,” have a—you guessed it—actual gingersnap. In fact, have two. You're still taking in only around 275 calories, and no fake syrups.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf White Chocolate Latte
330 calories, 9 g fat (8 saturated), 41 g sugar in a small
It's a stretch to call
white chocolate "chocolate" since it doesn't actually contain any of the antioxidant-packed treat. White chocolate is made of cocoa butter (the fat from the cocoa bean), plus milk solids, milk fat, sugar, and vanilla.
Have this instead: White chocolate is far from health food, but everything in moderation: If you really want it, then you may as well treat yourself to two Pepperidge Farm Tahoe white chocolate and macadamia cookies. That will only set you back 260 calories and half the sugar of the latte.
Starbucks Eggnog Latte
380 calories, 18 g fat (11 saturated), 38 g sugar in a Tall
A 12-ounce eggnog latte at Starbucks has 380 calories—the size of a small meal. And those 38 grams of sugar don't even include whipped cream.
Have this instead: Stir a little nutmeg into a container of vanilla rice pudding and spoon that up for less than 200 calories. Even if you serve your dessert with a cup of coffee with whole milk, you're still coming in below 250 calories. And did we mention that you get to have pudding?
Peet's Coffee & Tea Eggnog Latte
450 calories, 20 g fat (14 saturated), 52 g sugar in a small
Eggnog replaces the milk in this latte for a
holiday treat so sugary that our teeth hurt just thinking about it. Even if you replace the straight eggnog with non-fat milk, your drink will still set you back 335 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 10 teaspoons of sugar.
Have this instead: Try this lightened up recipe for eggnog—made with low-fat milk, it clocks in at just 148 calories per serving.
Dairy Queen Caramel MooLatte
520 calories, 16 g fat (13 saturated), 70 g sugar in a small
This is really more milkshake than coffee drink; but then again, it is called a latte. With nearly 18 teaspoons of sugar, the concoction racks up three times more sugar than experts recommend you consume in an entire day.
Have this instead: Satisfy your caramel cravings by savoring a half-cup of Haagen-Dazs Sea Salt Caramel Gelato. It's definitely an indulgence, but still—it contains about half the calories (270) and sugar (29 grams), and is made with ingredients we recognize.
Krispy Kreme Mocha
320 calories, 9 g fat (6 saturated), 46 g sugar in a small
No, we weren't expecting a doughnut shop to be healthy. But this drink has 320 calories and 46 grams of sugar, and that's before you even think about a
doughnut to dunk in it.
Have this instead: Drive right on by this place, and have yourself a cup of coffee with whole milk and a slice of sprouted-grain toast slathered with a tablespoon of Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. You get your coffee fix, and chocolate, and something satisfying to sink your teeth into (that won't leave you hungry and spiraling down on a sugar crash 20 minutes later), all for around 200 calories and less than 10 grams of sugar.
Au Bon Pain Peppermint Latte
240 calories, 7 g fat (4 saturated), 38 g sugar in a medium
Peppermint coffee already sounds like an odd combination to us—and with 240 calories and 38 grams of sugar, we'd just as soon not explore it.
Have this instead: We'd rather have 2 pieces of Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark with Dark chocolate, which has 133 calories and 11g of sugar. Plus, hello, it's chocolate. Or you could quiet your yen for peppermint by having a candy cane—they're just 60 calories apiece.