Coffee has a way of filtering its way into a person’s morning routine until it becomes a habit. And for many, “habit” may not even be a bold word. Call it what you will – ritual, addiction, obsession – borderline caffeine addiction is widely seen as manageable, if not beneficial. Several studies (perhaps done by hopeful coffee lovers) suggest ways that Java can be healthy. As we’ve reported in the past, coffee can help you live longer, give you better vision, and even boost your metabolism.
“Caffeine can improve weight loss efforts,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD. “Coffee can be beneficial in providing the body with antioxidants, acting as a diuretic, and improving bowel movements in people with digestive problems. It can also help increase energy, which is a necessary factor in exercising, which can lead to weight loss. “
But these potential health benefits depend entirely on how you take your cup of joe.
We are not here to get poetic about right and wrong ways of consuming coffee; If you have an affinity for funnel cake-flavored frappuccinos, who are we to stop you? However, if you are looking for coffee for weight loss, one thing to watch out for is how you consume it. We spoke to a few of our favorite dieters and figured out the worst coffee habits to avoid when making coffee for a flat stomach. Then be sure to check out our list of the 112 most popular lemonades, sorted by toxicity, for more drinking tips.
Coffee itself is naturally rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, but the addition of sugar negates these inherent beneficial properties. A sugar-coated coffee becomes flammable and the nutritional deficiencies of the added sweetness quickly outweigh any benefits the caffeine can offer. Also, as Clara Lawson, RDN, explains, the amount of coffee many Americans drink in a day would easily lead to the recommended sugar intake being reached if that coffee is too sweet.
“Women should stick to 6 teaspoons of sugar and men to 9 teaspoons of sugar to maintain a healthy weight and prevent disease,” Lawson says. “So if you drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee with artificial sweeteners, you will ruin your body to a great extent.”
The solution here? If you don’t want to forego adding sugar to your coffee, just watch your sugar intake beyond the java habit.
If you are committed to the Frap life (say, for example, the aforementioned Allstar Funnel Cake is calling your name) that’s fine, but you can’t count on your cup of coffee to lead you to a flat stomach.
“Unusual forms of coffee like lattes and mocha are very high in sugar, which can exceed your daily caloric needs,” explains Lawson. “Some of the fancy ingredients that are worst for your stomach include lots of sugar, whipped cream, and chocolate syrups.”
Fortunately, however, Lawson has a simple solution.
“For a leaner stomach, making your coffee at home is a good idea so you can avoid all of these fancy ingredients that eventually build up and add to your waistline,” she says.
You can also try making healthier versions of your favorites at home with these 12 Tastiest Homemade Coffee Drinks from a Nutritionist.
Coffee, as we currently consume it, is so inextricably linked to cream and sugar that one is rarely offered without the other. But in the same way that sugar can mess up your ever-growing abs, milk jugs will likely do the same thing.
“By adding high-calorie and high-fat dairy products, you increase the chances of your regular coffee drink causing weight gain,” said Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD.
Many popular creamer not only use the calories, but also questionable ingredients that turn a fairly natural drink – coffee – into a more artificial and therefore less healthy drink.
To wean yourself from the milk jug, you could start by replacing it with milk.
“Taking coffee with skimmed or whole milk only gives about 30 to 40 calories, while consuming coffee with creamer provides about 120 calories,” says Lawson.
Or you could even swap it out for one of these 12 healthy new coffeemakers on the shelf.
The more you drink sweetened and flavored coffee, the more that sugary and dimensional flavor profile becomes part of your morning habit. As Best explains, “The worst coffee habit for losing weight and achieving a flat stomach is to rely on sweet and flavored coffee.”
If you can’t drink unflavored coffee or sugar, there may be an added risk of ruining your other hard work in the kitchen and gym.
“These extra ingredients are only there to increase calories and fat,” says Best. “It’s best to choose black coffee or naturally sweetened varieties.”
A natural sweetener that we particularly love and that can also help smooth out your stomach even further is cinnamon. Give it a try the next time you brew a pot.
This popular after-dinner duo is pretty iconic, but sadly not that healthy. In the same way, relying on coffee with cream and sugar leads to bad habits that allow your brain to associate coffee with sugary snacks could be detrimental to your pursuit of a flat stomach.
“While pairing your coffee with a pastry or other dessert won’t hurt your flat stomach, if you do it occasionally, it’s something you do a lot, but it’s one of the worst things you can do to your stomach,” says Lawson.
Of course, the safest way to avoid these weight gain risks is to switch to black coffee and drink it along with other nutritious foods.
Not a fan of straightforward Java yet? For tips on how to make black coffee tastier, this is the only way you should make it in our When It Comes To Coffee article. Then subscribe to our newsletter for even more healthy tips!