As long as you take your java black and without sweetener, you shouldn't worry about the caloric impact of coffee. Black coffee calories are minimal and offer much more than caffeine and comforting flavor. The long-term effects and positive health benefits have been extensively studied.
Use a coffee calorie calculator to monitor the nutritional value of your coffee and anything you add to it.
Read more: How Many Cups of Coffee Can You Drink a Day?
Know Coffee's History
Cultivation of coffee probably began in Ethiopia, according to the National Coffee Association, but the earliest record of coffee growing comes from Yemen in A.D. 600. Moslem nations forbade the export of coffee plants, but an entrepreneurial Arab smuggled viable beans to India in the 1600s. The Dutch smuggled the first living coffee plant to Europe in 1616 and started the first European-run coffee plantation in 1696 in colonial Java. Smuggling provided stock for major plantations in Latin America as well.
French naval officer Gabriel Mathieu de Clieu raided the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris for a clipping from the king's tree. De Clieu nursed and defended the plant all the way to Martinique, where his plantation grew to 18 million trees by 1770. Brazilian agent Francisco de Melo Palheta obtained Brazil's first planting stock by romancing the wife of French Guiana's governor in 1727. Massive Brazilian plantations brought coffee within the reach of the average person by 1800.
Black Coffee Calories (and More)
The USDA National Nutrient Database states that one cup of regular black coffee brewed from ground beans is calorie-free and 1 fluid ounce of rich black espresso contains only 3 calories. One teaspoon of regular instant coffee powder also carries just 4 calories.
Sweeteners and flavorings deliver the calories in rich modern coffee drinks. There are also increased calories in coffee with milk products in them. For example, adding 2 tablespoons of half and half to your beverage adds 40 calories and 3.5 grams of fat. If you sweeten your coffee, be aware that 2 teaspoons of sugar adds 30 calories to your coffee total.
Bust the Coffee Myth
Coffee may have wrongly earned a reputation as an unhealthy vice, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Early studies linked coffee drinking to heart disease and the development of cancer, but more extensive research did not uphold the first findings. By following initially healthy coffee drinkers for as long as 24 years, researchers determined that moderate coffee consumption of six or fewer cups daily does not affect mortality rates. For most people coffee creates no serious health risks.
Current studies imply that coffee may prevent some diseases. Coffee may protect coffee drinkers from developing Type 2 diabetes. Coffee could also prevent cirrhosis or cancer of the liver, and lower the risk of cardiovascular illness. Since coffee contains many hundreds of active compounds, Harvard's School of Public Health suggests that actual effects on individuals vary. Harvard based its findings on an 8-ounce serving containing 100 mg of caffeine, but consumers choose the actual size and strength of the coffee they drink.
Read more: 14 Legit Ways Coffee Can Boost Your Health
Drink Coffee in Moderation
Individuals with blood sugar problems or high blood pressure might find that coffee exaggerates those health issues. Though the role of coffee or caffeine in miscarriage isn't proven, pregnant women are advised to limit intake to two 8 ounce cups a day, according to Mayo Clinic.
While it has several health benefits, one component of coffee oils called cafestol can elevate levels of LDL or unhealthy cholesterol in the blood, according to a small study published in July-August 2013 by Nutrition. However, more research is needed in this area.
- National Coffee Association: "The History of Coffee"
- Harvard School of Public Health: "Ask the Expert - Coffee and Health"
- US National Nutrient Database: "Black Coffee"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Beverages, Coffee, Brewed, Espresso, Restaurant-Prepared"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Beverages, Coffee, Instant, Regular, Powder"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Half and Half"
- USDA National Nutrient Database: "Pure Cane Granulated White Sugar"
- Nutrition: "Paper-Filtered Coffee Increases Cholesterol and Inflammation Biomarkers Independent of Roasting Degree: A Clinical Trial"
- Mayo Clinic: "Mayo Clinic Q and A: During Pregnancy, Stick to the Basics to Ensure Good Nutrition for Baby"
- National Geographic: Coffee