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How many calories are there in coffee?

Coffee is an increasingly popular drink and last year over one billion coffees were served in Australia and the majority of these are milk based cappuccinos or latte's. So if we are having more of them, what effect does a coffee have on your waist line? Read on to find out just how many calories a coffee has and by reducing your coffee consumption you'll help weight loss....

calories in coffeeThere is little doubt our coffee consumption has been on a steady increase for some time now. In 1940 Australia's per capita coffee consumption was 0.5 kilogram/person, in 1998 it was measured at 2.4 kilogram/person, a 380% increase. On the other side of the counter it's easier and more convenient to get a coffee, with new chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans opening everywhere. Indeed, in 2005 the number of coffee chain outlets increased 100%.

So it's clear our taste (or need!) for an coffee is rising and rising. We have previously looked at the effects of caffeine on training performance and on your health (see the article here) but what about our waistlines?

Calories in coffee: just how skinny is your skim milk latte?

The calories in a coffee come from: 1. the milk used and, 2. any sugar that is added. Let's look at the milk first, where the most common choices are full cream or skim milk.

The average or "medium" size coffee is approximately 400ml or about 1.5-1.75 cups. You can also get a "small" serve which is approximately 300ml and a "large" which we're guessing is around 550ml! Now the actual coffee is only 20ml per shot, and we'll assume you get one shot in a small, two in a medium, and three in a large. So the net milk content of each coffee is around 280ml, 360ml, and 490ml for a small, medium, and large serve.

Full cream milk contains approximately 65 calories per 100ml whereas skim milk has approximately 35 calories per 100ml. The difference between these in terms of calories is nearly half, so that's something to think about, especially when you also consider you are getting less saturated fat by choosing skim milk.

The big difference in calories at 100ml translates into even more when choosing your coffee size and milk type:

Coffee size Amount of milk (ml) Full cream milk calories Skim milk calories
Small 280 182 98
Medium 360 234 126
Large 490 318 172

You can see the big difference in calories consumed if you go for a full cream milk coffee versus a skim coffee. Also note the big difference between a small and a medium serve, and especially between a small and a large serve!

sugar in coffeeSugar in your coffee

Sugar in your coffee is another source of calories because each serve of sugar contains 15 calories. Have one sugar per coffee per day and you'll be adding 105 calories to your week. If you regularly consume two coffees per day and have two sugars then it's 420 calories per week, which is the equivalent of running for 60mins!

So a very easy and obvious way to reduce the calories in your coffee is to reduce or stop having sugar. If this sounds too hard, try gradually reducing the amount of added sugar over a few weeks rather than going cold turkey!

And don't be fooled into thinking 'natural' or brown sugar is any better than white sugar for calories: it isn't.

So what if you love/need coffee?!

If you really love your coffee and can't think of giving it up then what do you do?! Don't despair, we aren't expecting you to stop entirely, and there are some good options for reducing your calorie intake from coffee:

  • Go for a smaller serve coffee: if you change down from a medium to a small you'll save 50 calories for a full cream coffee and 28 calories for a skim coffee. Over the course of a week at just one coffee per day that's 350 calories and that's the equivalent calories to going running for around 45mins!
  • Go for a skim milk coffee: a lot of people like the creaminess of a full cream coffee but if you make the switch to a skim coffee you'll be decreasing your intake by 84 calories for small serves, 108 calories for medium serves, and a whopping 147 calories for large serves! Again, over the course of a week these numbers really add up!
  • Go for a no sugar coffee: as you can see above the calories from sugar can really add up. Start by reducing the sugar added eg from two to one, see how that goes and then try reducing even further. Another trick is to add the sugar yourself (baristas can be a bit liberal) and only use half or less of the standard sugar serve.
  • Go for a long black coffee: if you really want to reduce your calories from coffee then a non-milk coffee is the ultimate way to go. Be a real connoisseur with a short espresso shot or a long black. You'll definitely still get the pick me up effect from the caffeine but will save yourself thousands of calories each year!

To find out more about the calories in coffee, coffee, calories in a latte, or your individual nutritional needs contact us!


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