COLUMN: Calories creep into our caffeine drinks

We're a nation of coffee lovers and many of us can't get through the day without a caffeine hit.

Sunday, 18th September 2016, 11:00 am

But when going out for a coffee you might be surprised to know that there’s a huge variation in size, price and calorie content.

Our trading standards team recently carried out a study on coffee lattes across Derbyshire. They took samples from local independent cafes and national chains and found a big variation in size and calorie content.

The team found lots of variables in terms of the type of milk used – skimmed, semi-skimmed and whole milk and/or cream - and the actual amount of milk added.

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The calories in the drink altered dependant on the size of portion, the type and quantity of milk, the amount of added sugar and whether or not there are added sweeteners such as syrup.

Calories in drinks can soon add up and if you’re trying to watch your weight then it’s important to factor in what’s in your favourite beverage too.

The average energy content of a regular sized latte from local cafes was found to be 64 calories, but this ranged widely from 32 calories to 164 calories for similar sized drinks.

The total sugar content also varied considerably from three grams to 14 grams. Other coffee shop favourites such as hot chocolate contain 165 calories or the equivalent of half a large sausage roll, whereas a tea with one sugar equates to a ginger biscuit – about 44 calories.

It’s not just hot drinks that can sneak calories into your diet. You know that fizzy drinks such as cola and lemonade are high in sugar, but are other drinks any better?

Some flavoured waters or juice based drinks can have as much sugar as a can of cola, while still being advertised as ‘healthy’ and ‘made from fruit juice’ so make sure to check the label before buying.

To keep your calories in check here’s a few tips when visiting your favourite café – to save calories and money opt for a smaller cup and don’t super-size.  The healthiest option is to have black coffee with no sugar. If it’s too bitter for you then why not add ground cinnamon to it? Many national chains have calorie contents on their menus, check before ordering. Also, check what milk is being used – go skinny and ask for skimmed milk,

Look for coffee shops that are signed up to Heart of Derbyshire. It lists businesses that have pledged to offer healthier options. Find out more at