Healthful, Tasty Coffee Drinks

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by Michael Totten

For the dieter, the key to choosing a healthy coffee drink is to know where the calories are hiding. Black coffee alone is calorie-free. As well, many studies are showing that coffee has health benefits. In moderation, coffee can half your risk of getting gallstones or Parkinson's disease, slash diabetes rates by up to 54 percent and even reduce your chance of colon cancer by 25 percent. It can even preempt an asthma attack. However, lay on the flavorings and the foamed milk, and you may quickly find yourself with a calorie nightmare.

The easiest way to chop the coffee calories is to keep it simple. Add skim milk and a sugar substitute to taste and you will easily stay below 50 calories. A dash of cinnamon or nutmeg will add flavor without additional calories. A sugar-free shot of hazelnut extract or a few chocolate shavings won't break the calorie bank, either. Two tasty alternatives for sweetening coffee are honey and maple syrup, but they do add extra calories.

Smaller sizes of the same coffee drink have fewer calories than larger sizes. Coffee houses often don't display their smaller cups, so you may have to ask about what smaller sizes are available.

You can also ask the coffee house to reduce the number of flavoring shots. A single shot of standard flavored syrup may have up to 80 calories, and some drinks have as many as four shots. Sugar-free syrups are also available for many flavors. When ordering a flavored coffee, always taste it before adding any extra sweetener or milk.