Does Sugar add calories to Coffee?

Many people enjoy adding sugar to their coffee, whether it’s a teaspoon of white sugar, a packet of raw sugar, a pump of flavored syrup, or a dash of honey. But does adding sugar to your coffee actually increase the calorie count? The short answer is yes – adding sugar to coffee does increase the total calories. However, the amount of extra calories depends on how much and what type of sweetener you add.

How Many Calories Are in Black Coffee?

Straight black coffee is very low in calories. An 8 ounce (240 ml) cup of brewed black coffee contains:

  • 2 calories
  • 0g fat
  • 0g sugar
  • 0g protein

So plain black coffee without any sweeteners is almost entirely calorie-free. The only calories come from the coffee beans themselves.

Calories in Added Sugars and Sweeteners

The calories start stacking up when you add sugar or other sweeteners to your coffee. Here are the calorie counts for some popular coffee sweeteners:

White Sugar

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar: 16 calories
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar: 48 calories

Raw Sugar

  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar: 15 calories
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar: 45 calories


  • 1 teaspoon honey: 22 calories
  • 1 tablespoon honey: 64 calories

Maple Syrup

  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup: 17 calories
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup: 52 calories

Agave Nectar

  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar: 20 calories
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar: 60 calories

Flavor Syrups

  • 1 teaspoon flavored syrup: 25 calories
  • 1 tablespoon flavored syrup: 75 calories

So as you can see, just a teaspoon of sugar can add 15-25 calories to your coffee. A few packs of sugar or pumps of syrup and your calorie count starts climbing rapidly.

Does Milk or Cream Add Calories?

Adding milk or cream to your coffee also increases the calorie count significantly. Here’s how much a splash of milk or cream adds:

Whole Milk

  • 1 tablespoon whole milk: 9 calories
  • 1/4 cup whole milk: 30 calories

2% Reduced Fat Milk

  • 1 tablespoon 2% milk: 5 calories
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk: 25 calories

Non-Dairy Milk

  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy milk: 4-15 calories*
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk: 15-60 calories*

*Calories vary based on milk type

Half and Half

  • 1 tablespoon half and half: 20 calories
  • 1/4 cup half and half: 80 calories

Heavy Cream

  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream: 50 calories
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream: 200 calories

As you can see, creamers and milks also add a significant number of calories to black coffee. So a coffee made with both cream and sugar could end up being a high-calorie beverage.

How to Enjoy Coffee Without Extra Calories

If you want to keep your coffee low in calories, here are some tips:

  • Drink it black or just add a splash of nonfat milk
  • Use a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia or Splenda instead of sugar
  • Limit creamers and use nonfat or low-fat milk instead of heavy cream
  • Go easy on the flavor syrups and savory additions like whipped cream
  • Ask for your specialty coffee drinks made with low fat milk, sugar-free syrups, and no whipped cream

With some simple substitutions and smart choices, you can still enjoy your coffee without all the extra calories from sweeteners, cream, and toppings.

How Many Calories are in Popular Coffee Drinks?

Many popular coffee shop drinks tend to pack in a lot of extra calories from added sugars, flavorings, cream, and toppings. Here’s the calorie count for some favorite coffee beverages:

Coffee Drink Calories (16 oz)
Caramel Frappuccino (Starbucks) 420
Mocha Swirl Latte (Dunkin’) 340
Frozen Caramel Coffee Coolatta (Dunkin’) 550
Medium Caffè Mocha (Starbucks) 360
Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha (Starbucks) 420
Medium Vanilla Latte (Tim Hortons) 140
Large Dark Hot Chocolate (Tim Hortons) 510
Frozen Hot Chocolate (McDonald’s) 510

As you can see, fancy coffee beverages can quickly amount to hundreds of calories, mainly from added sugar and cream. Your best bet is to customize your order and ask for low-fat milk, less sweetener, and no whipped cream. Or stick to simple black coffee if you’re watching your calorie intake.

Should You Drink Coffee if You’re Trying to Lose Weight?

Plain black coffee can be part of a healthy weight loss diet. Coffee itself is very low in calories, and it provides antioxidants and other health benefits. However, what you add to coffee can impact the calorie total and nutritional value.

Here are some tips for enjoying coffee while trying to lose weight:

  • Choose black coffee or coffee with a splash of nonfat or low-fat milk
  • Avoid adding sugar, flavored creamers, and heavy cream
  • Flavor your coffee with cinnamon instead of sugar or syrups
  • Limit fancy blended and flavored coffee drinks loaded with sugar and calories
  • Be mindful of your total daily calorie intake, including calories from coffee add-ins
  • Drink coffee in moderation as too much caffeine may cause anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, and restlessness

Enjoying coffee sensibly can definitely be part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Just be careful with added sweeteners, creamers, and coffeehouse drinks high in sugar and fat. Pay attention to how your body reacts to caffeine to avoid any negative effects.

Healthier Ways to Prepare Your Coffee

If you want to keep enjoying your daily coffee while avoiding excess calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, here are some healthier preparation tips:

Brew It Black

Simply brew coffee without any cream or sugar. You can boost flavor by using good quality coffee beans and cold brewing to reduce bitterness.

Add Low-Fat or Nonfat Milk

Add just a splash of low-fat cow’s milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk like almond or oat milk. This gives a creamy texture with minimal calories.

Use Low-Calorie Sweeteners

Try zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, or Splenda to lightly sweeten without the added calories. Or add a sprinkle of cinnamon for flavor.

Whip up “Healthy Creamed Coffee”

Blend hot black coffee with nonfat evaporated milk and a banana or dates for a lower calorie creamer option.

Enjoy Iced or Cold Brew Coffee

Iced and cold brew coffee tend to be less bitter, allowing you to enjoy them black or just lightly sweetened. Cold brewing also reduces acidity.

Flavor with Spices

Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, or pumpkin pie spice for flavor without adding cream or sugar.

Limit Fancy Coffees

Occasionally enjoy specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, but try asking for low fat milk and less sweetener. Stick to small sizes.

With these tips, you can still savor your morning Joe and get health benefits without increasing your calorie intake or derailing your diet. Be creative and find ways to enhance coffee flavor without excess sugar or fat.

Health Benefits of Black Coffee

Coffee, when consumed black and without sweeteners or creamers, provides many notable health benefits:

  • Provides antioxidants – Coffee beans contain polyphenol antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation.
  • May help prevent chronic disease – Studies link regular black coffee intake to lower risk of certain cancers, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Supports brain and liver health – Coffee’s antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage that can impair brain and liver function.
  • May boost metabolism – Black coffee contains chlorogenic acid that may mildly increase metabolism.
  • Promotes weight loss – Unsweetened coffee suppresses appetite and calorie intake, which can promote weight loss.
  • Enhances exercise performance – Caffeine improves alertness, focus and endurance during exercise.
  • May reduce depression risk – Coffee consumption has been linked with lower rates of depression in women.

Of course, excessive coffee intake can cause issues like anxiety and sleep disruption for some people. But for most people, a moderate intake of black coffee without sweeteners provides a range of health benefits with minimal calories.

Tips for Cutting Calories in Your Coffee

Here are some helpful tips to lower the calories and fat in your daily coffee, while still enjoying rich, delicious flavor:

  • Choose skim or low-fat dairy milk instead of whole or heavy cream
  • Use a sugar substitute like stevia or a small amount of honey
  • Opt for just a splash of milk instead of filling your cup
  • Whip coffee with milk using a frother instead of syrups or creamers
  • Choose a medium or small latte instead of a large size
  • Ask for an extra shot of espresso to enhance flavor instead of extra pumps of syrup
  • Order plain espresso drinks instead of sweetened lattes or cappuccinos
  • Avoid flavored syrups, sweetened whipped cream, and buttery caramel drizzle toppings
  • Make your own coffee drinks at home so you control the ingredients

With some easy swaps and smart choices, you can prepare coffee drinks that minimize calories without sacrificing taste.


Adding sugar or cream to your coffee does increase the calorie count, sometimes substantially. Just a teaspoon of sugar contains around 15-20 calories, while cream or milk can add 25-50 calories per serving. Flavored syrups and coffeehouse blended drinks can pack hundreds of extra calories from added sugars and fat. To keep coffee low in calories, the healthiest way is to enjoy it black or just lightly sweetened with stevia or a splash of skim milk. But an occasional latte or cappuccino won’t sabotage a healthy diet as long as your total daily calorie intake stays on track. Black coffee offers a number of health benefits with minimal calories as long as you avoid pumping it full of cream and sugar. With some adjustments, you can still enjoy your daily coffee while maintaining a calorie deficit to lose weight.

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