Coffee and Health

Faithful Families PRINT


This was originally posted by the NC Expanded Food and Nutrition Education program.

Did you know, a plain cup of brewed coffee has only 2 calories and no fat. However, if you like to add flavored creams, sugars, etc., the calories quickly add up. See how many calories just 1 tablespoon of these extras can add to your coffee:

• Heavy whipping cream: 52 calories
• Table sugar: 49 calories
• Half-and-half: 20 calories
• Fat-free milk: 5 calories

When purchasing coffee at a local shop, be sure to check out the nutrition information before you order. Some coffee drinks are more like dessert and can have hundreds of calories. Occasional indulgence is fine. But remember all calories count — even calories in liquid form.

Recent studies have found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Studies have also shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression.

However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee (boiled or espresso) has been associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And some studies found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific, and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Although coffee may have fewer risks compared with benefits, keep in mind that other beverages, such as milk and some 100% fruit juices contain nutrients that coffee does not.