Health: Cut Your Calories By Watching Your Caffeine Intake

By Ashley Tripp, Student at the University of Alabama

Every winter you find yourself waiting in long lines at your local Starbucks just to get a taste of your favorite holiday beverages. These seasonal hot drinks include the popular Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Brulee and Gingerbread Latte. If it weren’t for these life saviors, the term “all-nighter” would have been unbearable while studying for final exams.

When college students consider the new year, they often explore the opportunities to start fresh, meet new people, join a club, improve their grades and — of course — get back in shape. New Year’s resolutions are the common solution to fighting off the holiday pounds. Unfortunately, college comes with a busy schedule that leads students to eventually fall back into their former habits such as giving in to a Starbucks craving.

Since the holiday season has come to a close, Starbucks has returned to their original specialties and gone back to the basics. Like most college students, you realize that spring break is just around the corner and you're probably flustered about how to return to your “pre-freshman 15” physique. How can you shed your holiday pounds in less than three months?

The answer lies in your intake of caffeine. While the Starbucks holiday beverages aren’t listed on the menu, the same amount of calories are found in regular espressos, frappuccinos, cappuccinos and lattes as well.

While caffeine is thought to prevent memory loss and lessen the development of Alzheimer’s disease, it can also be harmful to your body when you ingest too much of it too often. You may not want to give up coffee altogether just yet, but you should consider these post-holiday habits as a healthier solution.

Here are some healthy alternatives to completely replace coffee from your diet or to reduce your daily caffeine consumption.

-Say no to sugar. Ask for sugar-free syrups made with artificial sweeteners.
-Avoid full-fat milk. Add skimmed milk to your latte, also known as “skinny.” This drops 160 calories and decreases the saturated fat to zero in your beverage while still supplying a healthy amount of calcium.
-Skip the whipped cream and sugary toppings. Whipped cream adds 80 to 120 calories to your beverage while caramel and chocolate add 6 to 15.

-Tea. While the weather is still cold outside, hot tea offers a warm drink alternative to coffee. Green tea is high in antioxidants while black tea has a stronger, sweeter flavor with a little more caffeine added to it. Both teas help protect against cancer, making them a healthier choice over coffee. 


Image: mistermong /

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