Not all coffees are equal, especially when trying to lose weight. Whilst you may be correct in thinking that caffeine can be your friend when it comes weight loss, the innocent cup of coffee could in fact be sabotaging your efforts.

Health on Female First

Health on Female First

Your daily cuppa can help boost your metabolic rate, stimulating thermogenesis and ultimately helping you burn more fat. Coffee also contains Chlorogenic acid, which helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates as well as stimulating the hormone Epinephrine, which helps break down the fat. However, before you start guzzling coffee all day long, the fat burning effect diminishes the more coffee you have, and you could in turn become intolerant to its effect, so it’s time to choose your coffee wisely and drink only a few cups (3-5 max) per day to enjoy all the benefits. It is also important to recognise that many of us are loading our cups of coffee with sugar – the leading cause of Type 2 diabetes, so try to avoid flavouring your coffee with syrups and lots of sugar to ensure you aren’t offsetting the health benefits coffee can offer. Nutritionist Sarah Flower looks at which caffeine choice is the healthier option, to kick start you on your weight loss journey:

Milky Coffees

These may taste divine, but they do you no favours when it comes to weight loss. They can be packed with sugar, not just from the added syrups but also lactose in the milk. For example, a Starbucks Latte Grande made with semi skimmed milk, contains 190kcals but also delivers 18g of sugar (4 ½ tsp). Using whole milk does not affect the sugar content, however it does boost the calories to 230kcals. Although there is a way to have your milky coffee without the guilt - simply swap to a plant-based milk such as almond milk, which reduces the sugar content down to 5g (just over 1tsp) and calories almost in half. Better still, opt instead for a plain Americano with a dash of milk on the side. This will dramatically reduce not only the sugar content but also the calories. A Grande Americano contains only 15kcals and no sugar.

Syrupy Coffees

A Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Grande, again made with skimmed milk, contains 250kcals and contains a whooping 33g of sugar (8 ¼ tsp). Sadly, unlike the milky coffee option above, switching to a plant-based milk with a syrup laden beverage, does not really make a huge amount of difference, as you will still be taking in 23g of sugar (5 ¾ tsp) and 170kcals.

The good news is companies are starting to take notice of the high sugar content in some of their beverages. Costa Coffee have some sugar-free syrups available upon request and you can also ask for Stevia (a natural sweetener) instead of granulated sugar.

Frappuccino Blends

These can be laden with calories and sugars. For example, Starbucks Grande Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino made with whole milk, contains 500kcals and a massive 83g of sugar (20 ¾ tsp). Semi Skimmed doesn’t fare any better, with only 10kcals less and no difference in sugar. Coconut milk has slightly less calories at 470kcals, but still has 82g of sugar (20 ½ tsp). Try taking out the whipped cream, as this does reduce the calories and sugar slightly (about 100kcals and 3 tsp sugar), but not enough to give this drink the green light.

Iced Coffees

These can range from iced coffee without milk right across the blend to a milky brew. Starbucks Almond Protein Cold Brew sounds healthy, made with plant-based milks and packed with protein, but it contains 270kcals and has 22g of sugar (5 ½ tsp). However, fa cool ice blend coffee is your caffeine choice try going for a standard cold brew coffee, with only 5kcals and zero sugar.

Skinny Coffee Club

As mentioned, coffee has the ability to enhance weight loss, but it is important that you choose a blend that offers the most weight loss benefits. For example, Skinny Coffee Club is a great beverage for anyone who wants to boost weight loss. It contains a blend of ground coffee, green coffee bean extract, green tea extract, spirulina and Garcinia Cambogia and Siberian ginseng, all of which work together to help speed up the metabolism, reduce appetite and burn more fat. I also love Siberian ginseng, the ultimate adaptogen herb which also helps balance the adrenals. It is recommended that you drink one caffeinated coffee in the morning and one decaffeinated in the evening. The evening blend contains spirulina, chlorella and fennel. Fennel is a wonderful herb which helps combat bloating and other digestive problems.

If caffeine causes any problems (digestion, anxiety, insomnia) then it is advised to cut down or cut out – it all depends on how caffeine affects you and the amount of caffeine you are consuming per day. If we drink too much, especially when combined with weight loss pills or energy drinks that contain a lot of caffeine, the fat burning effect diminishes and you could become intolerant to its effects, so it is actually better to choose your coffee wisely and drink only a few cups per day to ensure you enjoy all the benefits. We are also in danger of stimulating our metabolism too much and putting more strain on our heart, causing irregular heartbeat and even seizures. If you suspect you have adrenal stress, caffeine is not going to be your friend and can make you shaky and anxious due to an overstimulation of adrenaline. Caffeine can be addictive, so it can be difficult to withdraw, causing tiredness, headaches and even a flu-like feeling as you detoxify. We also need to account for the caffeine from other sources such as tea, green tea, energy drinks, diet pills, not just the caffeine from coffee.

by Sarah Flower, a nutrionist for Skinny Coffee Club (

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