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Coffee: What to Buy & Why

Coffee Choices: Your Health Guide

Are you a coffee lover bewildered by the plethora of choices out there? From the flavored coffees in your local café to the tempting pods at the grocery store, the options are endless, and choosing the right coffee isn't just about flavor; it's a health decision, too. But before you fall under the spell of "vanilla cream puff" or "caramel brûlée," read on to get the real scoop on what you should buy and why with my top coffee recommendations!

The Birthplace of Flavor: Coffee Shops

Your local coffee shop is often where your journey with flavored coffee begins. Here, baristas dazzle you with vanilla lattes and salted caramel concoctions. But what makes these drinks so irresistibly delicious? It's the flavored syrups. While they may seem harmless, they often contain high amounts of sugar and chemicals. In short, starting your day with such a coffee is akin to guzzling a can of soda first thing in the morning.

The Sugar Shock

Sugar-laden syrups might seem like a minor indulgence, but they significantly impact your health. Consuming these sugary additives can cause your body to store excess sugar as visceral fat around your belly and vital organs. And if you think you're getting a moderate amount of sugar, think again. A typical flavored latte can contain up to 35 grams of sugar, nearly exceeding the total daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization. 

Sugar-Free Syrups and Creamers Aren't Healthy 

It's tempting to think that sugar-free syrups and creamers are a healthy alternative. Unfortunately, that's a myth. These products might tout "zero calories," but research has shown that some artificial sweeteners can trigger an insulin response, mimicking the effect of real sugar on your body. Simply put, your brain thinks you're consuming sugar, and your body reacts like you have. Plus, the sweet taste from these artificial additives keeps your craving for sweetness alive, making it more likely you'll reach for sugary snacks later.

Grocery Store Traps: Flavored Ground Coffee

Next, we move to the grocery store, where flavored coffee options seem endless. But have you ever looked at what's actually inside these flavored coffees? Often, these contain more sugar than coffee. For example, many instant coffee brands have up to 14 grams of sugar per serving, not to mention added chemicals for flavor. 

Unveiling the 'Natural Flavors'

Many coffee products at the store mention "natural flavors," but what does this term really mean? While you might think it refers to flavors derived from nature, like vanilla or mint, the FDA allows a more flexible definition. Under FDA guidelines, "natural flavors" can include over a hundred different chemicals and additives as long as the original flavor source comes from a plant or animal.

Pods and K-Cups: A Convenient Mistake

Keurig cups or pods might seem convenient, especially if you don't like the bitterness of regular coffee. But many flavored pods also contain unnatural ingredients and sugars to mimic sweet flavors like "butterscotch toffee" and "vanilla cream puff." These are not just unhealthy; they are misleading, creating a sensory experience that tricks both your taste buds and nose.

So, What Should You Buy?

  1. Freshly Roasted Beans: Always go for freshly roasted, high-quality beans. Look for brands that provide information on where the coffee comes from and when it was roasted.
  2. Organic Options: If possible, opt for organic coffee. These beans are grown without synthetic fertilizers or chemicals.
  3. Manual Brewing Methods: Consider using manual brewing methods like a French Press or Aeropress. They give you control over the brewing process and can bring out the coffee's natural flavors.

Bottom Line

Being an informed consumer means knowing what to look for and avoid. Don't be seduced by fancy names and clever marketing. You can stay informed and know "what to buy & why" across health and wellness topics; consider our Ovvia® Membership or Paid $5 Subscription. Unlock access to over 50 instructional videos and brew confidence in your choices, one cup at a time!

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