Calorie count in fancy coffee drinks can come as a jolt

That morning cup of coffee: heavenly elixir, ambition in a cup. Plenty of us can't face the day without it.

A touch of sugar and a spot of cream make coffee even more delightful. But more than that can create a real calorie jolt.

Now that many shops are selling coffees with lots of rich add-ons -- flavored syrups, whipped topping, lots of half-and-half, cream or even ice cream -- a fancy coffee concoction can rack up as many calories as a bacon-and-egg breakfast.

For example, a 16-ounce Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino with whipped topping and caramel sauce weighs in at 430 calories. In contrast, three fried eggs with three slices of bacon is 417 calories.

Here are some other calorie totals in 12-ounce drinks:

  • A Mocha-Espresso at Krispy Kreme is 292 calories.

  • A latte at Krispy Kreme is 240 calories. A skim milk latte at Starbucks is 120 calories.

  • A whole-milk mocha at Starbucks is 220 calories, but the skim milk version is 170 calories.

    In contrast, a plain old cup of coffee with one teaspoon of sugar (16 calories) and two tablespoons of half-and-half (40 calories) is a comparatively feather-light 56 calories.

    It's the rich add-ons that send the calorie count soaring, Kathie Covard, a clinical dietitian at South Bend Clinic, says.

    Coffee in itself has almost no calories. But two tablespoons of flavored syrup such as mocha or hazelnut adds 80 to 100 calories. One tablespoon of cream adds 50 calories; one tablespoon of half- and-half adds 20 calories.

    A cup of skim milk has 85 calories, but a cup of whole milk has 150 calories. A puff of whipped topping can run around 100 calories.

    And the iced or frozen drinks are big fat traps, too. A lot of them use ice cream at around 300 calories per cup.

    Among the 16-ounce cold or frozen drinks are the Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino at 280 calories, the Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolata With Cream at 350 calories, the Iced Mocha at Einstein Bros. at 210 calories, and the Einstein Bros. nonfat latte at 90 calories.

    Here are some of Covard's tips for keeping java calories under control:

  • Buy the smallest size available. A regular cup of coffee is 6 or 8 ounces, but a coffee-shop beverage might be 20 ounces.

  • Ask for skim milk in drinks such as latte and cappuccino. Switching to a cup of skim from whole milk saves 70 calories in a drink.

  • Use a sugar substitute rather than sugar and save 16 calories per teaspoon of sugar.

  • Pass on the flavoring syrups and save about 50 calories.

  • Nix the whipped cream topping and save about 100 calories.

  • Consider the impact to your waistline before ordering drinks made with whole milk, half-and-half, cream or ice cream. They will push the drink toward the 400-calorie mark.

  • If you like flavors such as mocha, chocolate or hazelnut, buy flavored coffee beans and brew your own drink. The flavoring adds almost no calories.

    Make your coffee drink an occasional treat. Have a small skim-milk latte or cappuccino in place of a dessert or an order of french fries. Drink water the rest of the day.

    Find out the calorie count of your favorite beverage. Many of the commercial makers have their products listed on a Web site, such as www.starbucks.com or www.dunkindonuts.com.

    The Ladies Home Journal contributed to this article.


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