On its own, there are no calories in coffee! HOORAY!
But how does a beverage that gives us so much energy have no calories? The answer lies within the bean. Coffee’s caffeine is largely responsible for the pick-up we feel. Beyond that, though, coffee beans don’t need much energy in nature, so they don’t add many calories to our cups.
Black Coffee Has Virtually No Calories
According to the USDA, an 8-ounce cup of black coffee has 2 calories. A survey of other sources will reveal some slight variation in precisely how many calories in coffee, but all sources show that a cup of coffee has a negligible number of calories. Typically, figures range from 2 to 12 calories per cup of coffee.
Furthermore, calories in other coffee beverages are similarly low. For instance, a(n):
- shot of espresso has 3 calories
- Americano has 5 calories
- black iced coffee has 5 calories
- toddy has 3 calories
In any diet, these figures are inconsequential, even if you drink a lot of coffee.
The reason for no calories in coffee
What few calories coffee does have come from the coffee beans used in the brewing process, which explains why there are so few calories in coffee. (The only other ingredient used to make coffee is water, which has no calories.)
In nature, the role of the coffee bean is to help a new coffee plant sprout up.
It only needs enough energy, or calories, to push a small sprout through a few inches of soil. (Yes, coffee is a seed – and undergoes quite a journey to get to you!) Once the coffee sprout is above the soil, has one leaf, it will then, through photosynthesis, generate the energy it needs to grow. At this stage, a short root will collect any nutrients that the young plant needs from the soil.
Because a coffee bean’s purpose is to grow a sprout, it only needs a very small amount of energy. Even though many beans may be used in the brewing process, their cumulative amount of energy is still insignificant in the context of a human diet. Moreover, all of their energy is not extracted during the brewing process. The end result is that a cup of coffee only has a very small amount of energy in it, between 2 and 12 calories worth.
A Great, Low-Calorie Beverage
As if you needed another reason to like coffee, it has a inconsequential impact on your diet. If you’re counting calories, you can still drink coffee guilt-free.
Have any questions? Post in the comments below!