If you’re hitting the dieting and watching every calorie, especially if you’re running with the 5:2 diet that I’m a big fan of, then every slight advantage you can muster is welcome. So a call for healthier coffee can really help mind them calories.

Coffee, in it’s unsweetened black form, is extremely low in calories (around just 2kcal!). Black coffee is also so bitter it makes me wince! So if you’re like me, you like a good helping of milk and a good sugar or two to make our beany friend far more palatable. But given that a standard latte is roughly 150kcal for full fat milk, just over 100kcal for skinny milk, and each helping of sugar is 16kcal, these numbers can really add up. My favourite coffee is getting close to 170kcal each (we won’t mention the caramel syrup…), and I like to have 3-4 cups a day. That’s more calories than the 5:2 diet allows in an entire day – wasted just on coffee!

So the first pro-tip is to change up your milk. Why? Well this is no surprise, so I’m not going to labour it very much. Skinny milk is much better than whole (duh!), while the likes of almond milk and soya milk trimming off even more. I worked out that I have roughly 150ml of milk in my coffee, and soya milk was by far the best tasting – I actually prefer this to normal milk now. And at a tiny 22kcal per 100ml for the light soya stuff, it’s a huge reduction from the 90kcal+ of whole milk.

Next up is reducing your sugar intake. The long-game edition of this pro-tip is to very slowly wean yourself off it. If you removed a few grains of sugar every time you had a coffee, within a few weeks you’d be on noticeably less sugar and it’s very likely you wouldn’t notice the difference. Unfortunately my brain doesn’t work that efficiently, and sometimes it tells me that I need the sugar, so I put in even more than usual.

So the next pro-tip is far more off-kilter: add a tiny pinch of salt, and use half the sugar you usually do. Why? There’s a ton of heavy science involved, but the main beef of this is that salt selectively blocks/reduces certain bitter tastes on the tongue. You only need a tiny bit of salt (pictured), so you’ll never actually taste it in your coffee. What it will achieve however, is the need for far less sugar to overpower the bitter. I should note though – your coffee won’t taste just as sweet by adding salt. The salt just blocks the bitter, so it’s easier on the mouth and will taste more like coffee. But I find that this is massively easier to get used to than trying to wean myself off my sugar very slowly.

Adding this salt to displace my sugar brings my coffee calories down to a tasty 41kcal. Essential when I’m on a 600kcal 5:2 diet day!

Coffee-salt

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