Whether coffee is good for you or not depends on whom you ask. There are those who swear their health improves once they give it up, and others who believe the research that the drink can help guard against Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Nutrition experts, however, agree on one thing: If you are going to consume coffee, do it as cleanly as possibly, which means curbing artificial or refined sugars and avoiding generic powdered creamers.
“People feel strongly about coffee one or the other,” said registered dietitian Paul Salter, founder of Fit in Your Dress, which helps brides-to-be get ready for their big day. “From a nutrient standpoint, the coffee bean itself has several antioxidant properties.” Salter says that coffee drinkers should be aware of a few key factors; they should stop consuming the beverage at least six hours before bedtime to avoid disrupting sleep. He added that many popular bottled coffee beverages have a high caloric count, making them a poor choice for those on a strict weight-loss protocol.
Here are some grab-and-go coffees that may be more healthful options for those who can’t yet kick the habit.
For those aiming to follow a ketogenic diet plan — high in fat and low in carbohydrates — there is the butter coffee, where the drink is mixed with butter and MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil, which proponents say boosts metabolism and keeps you fuller for longer. Those who indulge say it also improves cognitive functions and helps get rid of brain fog. One version we like: The single-serving boxed Grass Fed Coffee, which is designed to help “train your body to burn fat for energy, especially when combined with a ketogenic diet,” said brand owner John Ban.
Info: $4.99 at Bristol Farms, Lazy Acres and grassfedcoffee.com
The lactose-free milk in La Colombe’s line of canned draft lattes makes the drink easier to digest for those with dairy intolerances. The drink replicates the feel of a barista-made concoction but with fewer calories, no hormones in the dairy, chicory root for sweetening and single-origin, ethically sourced beans. Flavors include mocha and vanilla, and the brand is introducing honeysuckle and Brazilian caramel.
Info: $2.99 at Gelson’s, Target and lacolombe.com
The vegan-friendly Califia Farms coffees use almond milk as a base and are partially sweetened with no-calorie monk fruit; the drinks don’t need as much sugar because the coffee is made from beans that “don’t have those bitter notes,” said Brian Lovejoy, the brand’s general manager of coffee. “They are an entry level for people who are interested in cold brew but are not ready for pure black coffee, and are a healthier alternative to a frappuccino,” he said. The brand recently launched its Nitro Cold Brew line, made with both almond and macadamia milks.
Info: Drinks start at about $3.29 at Whole Foods, Pavilions, Target and califiafarms.com
The coffee drinks from Anaheim-based Secret Squirrel are based on simple ingredients; the newly launched New Orleans-style chicory coffee has whole milk, organic cold brew coffee, chicory and brown sugar for a creamy and pleasantly sweet 90-calorie per serving drink. The brand, which began selling bottled cold brew drinks at a local farmers market, uses organic, non-GMO coffee in flavors that include Vietnamese Latte (with whole and condensed milk) and its Black Coffee with Maple Brown Sugar that is a black cold brew with maple syrup and brown sugar.
Info: Prices start at $3.89. Available at select Target stores, Gelson’s and Erewhon. squirrelbrew.com