It can be hard to eat healthy. Everyone has their weak spot. Maybe yours is the sweet stuff; chocolate, cookies, or ice cream. Maybe it’s fried food. Maybe it’s soda. But the truth is, often the most calorie rich foods aren’t in our diet and often, it’s more of a necessity than our guilty pleasure. Or, it can feel that way to the current generation of really busy people.
This generation is into coffee, and we often don’t realize how much our delicious daily habit is costing us in calories. Obviously, if you’re a three frapp coffee drinks a day person, you know the dangers of coffee when it feels more like you are eating a dessert. But you might be surprised by some of the calorie heavy concoctions on this list. If you’re a huge fan of coffee, but looking to make healthier choices, these are definitely the coffees to avoid!
1. Toasted Butter Cappuccino – 250 Calories
“Bulletproof coffee” has become much-lauded by fitness gurus. The use of butter, instead of milk is reported to provide a sustained burst of energy to counteract the usual caffeine high, and keep you going all day, thanks to the added protein.
Though toasted butter cappuccinos aren’t found at an average chain coffee shop, it’s become a huge trend on the indie coffee menus. Coffee lovers tend to believe that smaller local coffee places tend to be healthier. But buttered coffee is about 243 calories, and that isn’t even factoring in adding the delicious foam and steamed milk. It might be true that buttered coffee, or cappuccino, helps you burn fat faster and you can certainly help by using skim milk in your cappuccino, but the overall calorie count is still high enough to keep it firmly in the guilty treat part of your diet.
2. Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha – 340 Calories
Made with espresso, white chocolate syrup, steamed 2% milk and topped with whipped cream (of course!), the white chocolate mocha is easily one of the more fattening of Starbucks’ coffee drinks. If you want a lower-fat option, you can go for a skinny version, skip the whipped cream, use low fat or dairy free options instead of whole, or 2% milk, and try the low fat syrup option. You might also skip the mocha entirely, since it’s harder to find a low calorie alternative to the rich chocolate syrup Starbucks prizes itself on using. Don’t think switching to a latte will save you. Most Starbucks lattes come in even higher, at 360 calories a cup!
3. Cafe Breve – 478 calories
A cafe Breve is a bit like a latte. It’s espresso-based, usually with a strong and bitter base. Instead of steamed milk, it uses half-and half. Richer, creamier, and sweeter than the traditional latte, they’re also higher in fat content. Most cafes, from big chains to smaller neighborhood coffee joints serve a version of this, and the calorie count listed is for a 12 ounce cup.
Related: 10 Signs You Are Addicted to Coffee
4. Starbucks Pumpkin Spiced Latte – 510 calories
The Pumpkin Spiced Latte is a fall tradition, and one you almost have to indulge in whenever you can. After all, it’s only available a few months every year! And if we’re honest, it’s not as bad as some of the high calorie coffee drinks on this list. Still, at over 500 calories total for a grande PSL, you may want to avoid indulging too much. For some people, the pumpkin spiced latte is the smell of the season. If you really find this one hard to resist, you can go for a smaller size. Then you can go a little easier on your wallet, and your waistband!
5. Starbucks Iced Salted Caramel Mocha Frappe – 540 Calories
Salted caramel has always felt more like a fall food to me. But when the summer comes, everybody has their favorite Frapps. Full disclosure, in spite of the added ice, which health blogs have been telling me forever actually decreases the fat content in my coffee intake, it seems like frozen coffee drinks tend to have significantly higher calorie counts overall. They also tend to taste less like coffee. But if you’ve got a major sweet tooth, need your caffeine fix in the summer time, there’s nothing better than a Frapp. But if you want to hold on to that beach body, consider a smoothie instead!
6. Tim Hortons Mocha Iced Capp – 550 Calories
Tim Hortons may be newer in America, but over the border, Canadians have loved their Timmies coffee for years. And in the summertime, (yes, they have that in Canada) nothing beats the heat like a Tim Horton’s Iced Capp. If you know about Tim Hortons, you know they love their sugary treats, including delicious donuts, cookies, and other calorie rich desserts.
A regular Iced Capp with added chocolate syrup makes the mocha, and if you don’t think you’re getting a full dessert just from that, you can Supreme it, with extra whipped cream and chocolate milk! We strongly advise against adding to this high calorie deliciousness. Instead, try an iced coffee. They’re still made with cream and sugar, but they’re almost half the calories of a Mocha Iced Capp, and they’re using coffee from the pot, instead of pre frozen mixes.
7. Starbucks Brown Sugar Shortbread Latte – 600 calories
Thank goodness the Brown Sugar Shortbread Latte is a seasonal treat! All Starbucks Seasonal Lattes tend to be heavy with sugar, rich flavors, and, of course, whipped cream. They are rich and decadent high calorie coffees, perfect for keeping you warm and bringing a smile to wind-chilled faces. And they add to your expanding waistline! As always, Starbucks offers low-fat options, with skim milk and non-dairy alternatives, sugar free syrups, and you can always skip the whipped cream. However, not all of Starbucks flavors actually have sugar-free options, and the brown sugar shortbread is pretty much meant for those people who have an overactive sweet tooth!
8. Caribou Coffee Turtle Mocha – 640 Calories
I love turtles. Pecans, caramel, and chocolate. What could be better? Pecans, caramel and coffee, of course! Only… maybe not so good for your health. If it’s not the healthy helping of whipped cream, the big calorie culprit is likely to be the Snickers bits on top! I’m a big fan of Caribou Coffee, but the Turtle Mocha is a little (actually, a lot) on the overindulgent side.
9. McCafe Mocha Frappe – 670 Calories
We’ve picked on Starbucks a few times in this list but they are not alone. Frappes are another popular option for dessert coffee lovers. They’re basically a smoothie, with an espresso or shot of coffee, and a lot of, you guessed it, whipped cream. The Starbucks frappe has become a bit of an institution, in a crazy variety of flavors and combinations for everyone. It’s a great treat on a hot day.
Many other coffee chains have imitated the Starbucks Frappe, and none have been as successful, but the McDonalds Frappe comes close. Because it’s not as full of flavors and sugars of as the Starbucks version, you might be tempted to believe that it’s less fattening than the Starbucks version. But don’t let that fool you. The rich chocolate syrup, heavy, creamy milk, and whipped topping is still a huge source of sugar and fat. It’s definitely rich enough to think of as a dessert more than a drink.
10. Dunkin Donuts Frozen Mocha Coolatte – 990 Calories
It may be true that America runs on Dunkin Donuts, but at 990 calories, something tells me it’s not running very far, or very fast! Even with the caffeine injection, there’s really no excuse for this rich, creamy high calorie dessert coffee drink. It may be a great option for a decadent treat on a summer day, but all that chocolate and dairy is definitely more about the sugar rush than the caffeine high! To make it a little more respectable, go for a small instead of a medium, and swap out the cream or whole milk for skim milk. That’ll cut your calorie count in half, which means you can feel less guilty about indulging!
11. Krispy Kreme Mocha Dream Chiller – 1050 calories
We all love a Krispy Kreme, right? These donuts are the best thing you’ve ever eaten, and as soon as you’ve had them, you know you have to have more. They’re definitely a place to stay away from when you’re watching your calorie intake. And for something so sugary, so delicious, and so addictive, they’re also really not the place you want to go to for your coffee!
The Mocha Dream Chiller, another coffee and chocolate concoction that looks like it’d be perfect for the summertime comes in at a whopping 1050 calories! That’s a lot of cardio for a single cup! Honestly, if you’re going to go that big, you might as well just get coffee flavored ice cream. And while we’re on the subject…
Related: 15 Best Uses of Coffee Grounds
12. Baskin Robbins Caramel Cappuccino Blast – 1300 Calories
Let’s be honest here, if you’re getting your takeout coffee at the ice cream store, you already know the coffee is secondary. But plenty of ice cream chains, including Baskin Robbins and Dairy Queen, make milkshakes and ice cream treats with real coffee, giving it a richer, and more sophisticated flavor than a coffee flavored ice cream. It’s a fantastic combination, with strong coffee, rich ice cream, and delicious sweet caramel. It’s not exactly the healthiest option for your daily caffeine intake, though, so try not to indulge too much, or too often.
Coffee helps you burn energy, increases your heart rate, and has even been found to provide overall health benefits. However, a lot of coffee drinks nowadays are more about the desert part than the actual coffee. Though it’s true that traditionally, iced or chilled coffee tends to be even lower in calories than hot coffee, there’s so much sugar, whipped cream, flavor and cream injected into common coffee drinks, you may as well just eat ice cream! Most specialty drinks, cold and hot, are well over 500 calories for a standard size. And it’s not just at Starbucks where you will find these high calorie coffees!
If you’re looking for ways to cut back on your favorite sweet coffee beverages, you can always switch to a smaller size. For a more drastic change, choose iced coffee over frapps, which are loaded with extra flavor syrup, dairy products, and whipped cream. Go for skimmed milk over whole milk and cream, or switch to a non-dairy alternative if you can, such as coconut or soy milk. Remember, no matter how much you need the caffeine, there are always ways to cut back the calories, while still enjoying your coffee routine!