Nutritionist Keri Glassman, who regularly shares her expertise on Access Hollywood and Access Hollywood Live, is answering your nutrition, diet and health questions.
Want to know how celebrities are getting their fabulous post-baby bodies? And, if their diet plan is right for you?
This week’s question…
“I recently read about the most expensive Starbucks drink ever ordered and it didn’t sound very safe. Is the average cup of coffee OK to drink or should I steer clear altogether?” – Meghan R. from Houston, Texas
A man in Florida recently broke the record for the most expensive Starbucks coffee ever ordered: a whopping $83.75! Apparently that’s the price you have to pay to get 99 extra espresso shots in your grande latte.
Imagine the amount of winter squash you could have hauled home from the farmers market for that price! His massive mug held 7,500 milligrams of caffeine and at least 85 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than two of the coffee cakes staring at you from behind the bakery case. Obviously, you don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that his drink was not a smart choice.
While this story certainly has shock value, it shouldn’t scare you away from the coffee shop altogether. We love our java and thankfully our bodies do too. Coffee is a rare treat because it has zero calories, carbohydrates, or fat but is still full of beneficial compounds like caffeine, antioxidants, and diterpenes. Yes, that is a real word.
For many, caffeine is probably the most important thing in existence once that alarm clock goes off. It’s a stimulant that provides a boost in alertness and focus that rivals an ice bath, and the boost is not just in our heads: it can jolt our whole body. That’s right, coffee is an ergogenic (exercise booster) that can help maximize your workout, so bottoms up before your next Soul Cycle class if you want to ride ahead of the pack.
Even though the perk ups may seem like reason enough to make coffee a habit, regular coffee drinking can keep you healthy in other ways too. The powerful antioxidants in the beans help prevent damage to the body that can lead to diseases like cancer and heart. A cuppa joe is like kryptonite to those free radicals that cause inflammation.
Diterpenes aren’t just vocabulary words to impress people at a party. For all of you Turkish and Greek coffee lovers (sorry filtered coffee drinkers, this one’s not for you), you get added benefits of these compounds founds in the beans.They may protect against some cancers, and they have antiviral, antimicrobial and antiinflammatory properties.
So, what’s the downside? While all of the above sounds great, there are a few things to stop and think about before you begin guzzling down mega size coffees.
As you may have experienced before, excessive caffeine can give you the jitters, cause sleep deprivation and increase your heart rate. Imagine what 101 espresso shots feel like! (Luckily, the Florida man reportedly shared the Starbucks drink, let’s hope it was with many, many of his nearest and dearest.)
Having coffee daily makes you crave caffeine, and skipping a day can lead to some pretty grueling headaches and tired muscles. This can be OK, if you stick to one to two cups per day. Try not to go above this. So think before you drink, and be cognizant of your daily intake.
Calories in your cup can add up quickly if you muck ‘em up. A seemingly harmless pump of pumpkin syrup adds almost double the calories of a regular sweetener, and don’t even get us started on the caramel drizzles and whipped cream. Artificial sweeteners are no freebie either. Not only are they chemicals we don’t want in our bodies, they also make us crave more sweets. Hello, gingerbread cookie.
Stick to organic milk or alternatives like almond milk or even a dash of cream to your morning cup. Amp up the flavor even more by brewing with naturally flavored beans or adding calorie free spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.
And please do not get involved in this race for the most expensive coffee. Drink moderately and responsibly and enjoy every sip!
— Terri MacLeod & Keri Glassman
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