Physical Health, Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

Coffee drinkers, what you should and shouldn’t add

Maybe chill with the sugars.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 19, 2021

Prior to the pandemic, I never thought of myself as a coffee drinker. I used to drink a minimum of four teas a day  (green, turmeric, peppermint and rooibos) but now in the pandemic it’s moved to two teas a day, an espresso, and a coffee. New to the coffee drinking community, I have been either drinking my cappuccino, macchiato or iced coffee black or with plant-based milk. Coffee feign friends have told me that my order is weak and that I’m in dire need of excitement in my selection. Which has led me to research ingredients to add in.


Not at all surprising, but as it turns out, a lot of coffee additives are high in sugar. To give you a good idea of what is okay to add in, and what isn’t, I put together the below list.


Try to avoid the below…

Powdered Creamer

A hard no. These creamers pack in too much fat and sugar giving you extra calories.


Artificial Sweeteners

Splenda, Sweet’N Low, and Equal are all artificial sweeteners that all do one thing, give you a jolt of sugar with minimal calories. Each contains about 16 calories per teaspoon, in comparison to the 20 calories in traditional (read: white) sugar. Essentially, artificial sweeteners are a nontoxic alternative. They increase the palatable taste of coffee and can prevent tooth decay. On the negative side however, they can cause digestive issues like diarrhea and discomfort. If you want sugar in your coffee, opt for a natural sugar substitute like stevia.


White Sugar

The worst of the bunch as it has zero nutrition and only leads to weight gain. If you need sugar, try stevia or coconut sugar for more vitamins and minerals.


Flavored Syrups

At the start of this year, I got really into holiday drinks and my favorite one was a hot crème brulée cappuccino. After researching it now, I’m realizing it’s fine in small doses but a biweekly crème brulée cappuccino usually adds up because baristas will add in 3-6 shots of syrups to create the drink. If you still want this drink, ask for less pumps of flavoring.


Whipped Cream

As tempting as it can be to get whipped cream on top of your iced coffees (particularly in the colder months), try to avoid this. Like everything else on this list, it will add calories, fat and sugar. For extra cream, ask for more whole milk or coconut milk to create the same effect.


Okay to add in (occasionally)…


There is very little scientific research on adaptogens regulating the body’s response to stress but wellness obsessives still find benefits.


Plant-Based Milk

Great option for those of us that can’t do dairy. Plant-based milks include oat, almond, soy, coconut and a host of others. They are high in protein, flavored and can be sweetened.



Cinnamon, turmeric, or any other sprinkles of spices you do can add to the flavor and give you great benefits. Cinnamon, known to balance blood glucose, is a great way to lower blood sugar.