If you’re like most people, a cup of freshly brewed coffee is a standard part of your morning wake-up routine. But caffeinated coffee could be contributing to weight gain, depending on how you take it and how often you drink it. Coffee add-ons like cream, sugar, and other flavorings can supply saturated fat and empty calories.
How can you keep your coffee South Beach Diet–friendly? Try to limit yourself to 1 or 2 cups of caffeinated coffee a day and opt for a sugar substitute and reduced-fat milk if you like it sweet and light. Beware of specialty coffees from cafés and coffee shops, which are often made with sugary syrups or other flavorings that can stall your weight-loss efforts. Your best bet: Prepare your coffee at home, so you know exactly what’s in it. Here are more ways to take your cuppa on the Beach:
If you enjoy flavored coffee . . . Most flavored coffee gets that flavor from extracts or spices that have been added to the beans during roasting. These flavored beans have negligible amounts of sugar added. Be careful at coffee shops, though: Many use sugary syrups to flavor their coffees. If you want a flavoring, opt for one with no-sugar-added, but count it toward your daily Sweet Treat limit of 75 to 100 calories. If you’re following the South Beach Diet Gluten Solution Program, be aware that some varieties of flavored instant coffee and some brands of flavored regular coffee contain gluten in the flavoring base.
If you enjoy your coffee with milk . . . Choose fat-free or 1% milk, or unsweetened almond milk. Avoid 2% and full-fat milk. Remember to count the amount of milk you use in your coffee toward your daily serving of dairy; you can enjoy up to 2 cups on Phase 1 and up to 3 cups on Phase 2 each day.
If you enjoy your coffee with cream . . . Opt for sugar-free and fat-free creamers (with no more than 2 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons) and limit your intake to 2 tablespoons per day.
If you enjoy your coffee with sugar . . . Ideally choose a natural sugar substitute, such as stevia (Truvía), agave nectar, or monk fruit natural no-calorie sweetener (Monk Fruit in the Raw, Nectresse) rather than regular sugar. Most are calorie free except for agave nectar, which should be limited to 1 tablespoon maximum daily (since it’s 1.5 times sweeter than sugar, you’ll need a lot less than that in your coffee!).
If you prefer decaf . . . One or 2 cups of decaffeinated coffee or decaffeinated, no-sugar-added flavored coffee can be enjoyed on all Phases of the South Beach Diet. The same guidelines for milk, creamers, and sugar substitutes described above apply for decaffeinated coffee as well.