If your first thought of the day is Must have coffee, you're not alone. A Zagat study published in February says 82 percent of Americans drink it daily. Coffee can help prevent heart disease by providing more antioxidants than green tea or chocolate, but more than four cups a day can disturb your sleep patterns. Robin Waltenberger, clinical and community dietician at Akron General's Lodi Community Hospital, offers a few ways to do your morning brew right.
Avoid Sneaky Carbs
One 32-ounce Frozen Mocha Coffee Coolatta with cream from Dunkin' Donuts contains 990 calories (a McDonald's Big Mac has about 550). It also contains 141 grams of carbohydrates, which equals about 10 slices of bread, Waltenberger says. An 8-ounce cup of black coffee has just 2 calories.
Change it Up
Americans spend an average of $3.28 on coffee if they order out. Waltenberger suggests brewing your own batch at home because you'll know what's in it and save some dough in the long run. "You can take all that money and go away for the weekend," Waltenberger says.
Pare it down
The plainer the better, Waltenberger says. "We have the idea as a society if it's not sweet, then what's the point?" she says. But if sweet is your thing, go with a smaller size option or instead of drinking it every day, save your sugar-filled fix as a treat.