Which is healthier in your coffee? 10%, 3.25%, or 1%? Science Inside!

One group of people thinks you should put 1% or skim milk into your coffee to save calories, the other group says you should use cream because you don’t have to use as much and will thus save calories. Most people trying to lose weight should consider coffee with no dairy (or sugar) doesn’t have any calories. However since black coffee isn’t to everyone’s taste we must know the truth of the matter. coffee-1.jpg

For those of you that care to double check my math the nutritional information per millilitre is as follows:

 10.00%3.25%1.00%
Calories 1.33 0.64 0.44
Carbs (g)
0.07 0.05 0.05
Fat (g)
0.10 0.03 0.01
Protein (g)
0.03 0.03 0.04

I present to you three empty glasses each weighing 308g coffee-2.jpg

Into each of those glasses we put 244g of black coffee. This happens to be Folgers Classic Roast brewed 24tbsp for 12cups of water. coffee-3.jpg

Then I added each of the dairy products of one of the glasses until each glass was the same colour. Of course it wouldn’t be possible to add to the same taste because as any coffee drinker will tell you, they’ll never taste the same, and who tastes as they add when making a coffee? Nobody that’s who. coffee-4.jpg

In order to make them the same colour I added different amounts of dairy as outline in this table:

 10.00%3.25%1.00%
Cup Before (g) 552 552 552
Cup After (g) 574 596 611
Amount Added (g) 22 44 59

That means each added the following:

 10.00%3.25%1.00%
Calories 29.26 28.16 25.96
Carbs (g)
1.54 2.20 2.95
Fat (g)
2.20 1.32 0.59
Protein (g)
0.66 1.32 2.36

So there you have it, if you’re trying to cut calories to lose weight switching from 10% to 1% in your coffee isn’t going to save you 2.39 calories per 6oz cup. If you’re trying to build muscle by increasing your protein intake you might want to consider 1% if you don’t mind the taste.

Some people would also argue that cream is more satiating and thus you will drink less, and thus consume fewer calories, I don’t know if that’s true or not, I just keep drinking until there isn’t anymore coffee. If you’re concerned about your weight switching to black coffee will save you way more calories than switching dairy additives. Also switching from sugar to a zero-calorie sweetener will reduce calories further (although given the alleged health side effects it might not be worth it.)

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