Coffee can be a healthy part of your diet. Studies show that drinking coffee every day lowers your risk for diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers, but some bad coffee break habits can minimize the benefits. Here are some bad coffee break habits you should nix and tips on how to do it:
Bad Coffee Habit: Adding too much sugar
Sugar consumption has skyrocketed in the United States. We’re eating 100 pounds of sugar per year per person, which is more than the 10 pounds of sugar per year we consumed 200 years ago. Sugar consumption is tied to many health ailments and studies are starting to reveal it’s addictive properties.
How to break it: Cut your sugar down gradually. Try reducing it by one spoon every couple of weeks.
Bad Coffee Habit: Using processed/packaged creamers
Vanilla spice coffee may taste great but if the flavor is coming from a ready-made store bought creamer, then it probably isn’t a healthy choice.
How to break it: Replace your store bought creamer with a natural alternative. Creamer or half and half will give your coffee a rich flavor. If you’re trying to trim down fat, use skim or low-fat milk instead. Almond, soy, rice, and coconut milk are great non-dairy alternatives. If you miss the flavoring, try adding cinnamon or a tiny dash of real vanilla extract to your cup.
Bad Coffee Habit: Drinking your calories
Your body interprets liquid calories differently than food calories, so you might be taking in more calories through coffee than you realize. A grande cappuccino at Starbucks has 140 calories while a mocha has close to 300 calories.
How to break it: Lower the sugar and switch to a low-calorie creamer. When you can, choose regular coffee (5 calories) or cappuccinos over lattes and frozen or specialty drinks, which have more milk and sugar.
Bad Coffee Habit: Drinking late in the day
Coffee is the perfect morning pick me up, but drinking it later in the day can lead to trouble falling or staying asleep. Caffeine’s half-life is 4-6 hours, so traces of caffeine can remain in your system even 12 hours after drinking a cup, depending on how quickly you metabolize caffeine.
How to break it: Give yourself a coffee curfew if you think coffee is causing your sleeping troubles. A good place to start is to stop drinking coffee after lunch.
Bad Coffee Habit: Drinking too much coffee
Yes, there really is such a thing as drinking too much coffee. Ingesting too much caffeine can have scary side effects such as restlessness, sweating, anxiety, and even heart palpitations. 1-2 cups of coffee per day is usually plenty.
How to break the habit: Reduce your coffee intake by one cup every couple of weeks, or until you feel ready to reduce it further. You can try drinking tea instead of coffee during times when you would normally grab another cup.
Bad Coffee Habit: Brushing your teeth right after drinking coffee
The acid in coffee erodes the enamel in your teeth. Brushing your teeth right after eating or drinking something acidic, like coffee, worsens the damage.
How to break it: Wait at least one hour before brushing your teeth after drinking coffee. If you need to freshen up, rinse with water only or chew gum.
Bad Coffee Habit: Grabbing a cookie with your cuppa
Do you buy a pastry with your afternoon cup of coffee? Over the course of the year that bad habit adds up to a lot of junk food in your diet.
How to break it: Visit coffee shops without baked goods selections (or with really bad pastries, so you’re less tempted) and only bring enough cash with you to coffee shops to purchase your coffee.