Recent studies have debunked the long standing myth that coffee is not good for you as it can cause spikes in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It’s also been said to cause insomnia, stunt growth in growing children and has been linked to dehydration too.
While there are some minimal effects to blood pressure and blood sugar levels, most of these misconceptions have been proven to be untrue and these same studies have also shown the world that coffee is actually good for you.
Coffee is a great source of antioxidants that help renew our cells. It also helps reduce the risk of cancer, stroke and even Parkinson’s disease. It’s also been said that coffee can help you lose weight, which makes it a great addition to the Military Diet.
The Military Diet meal plan provides for coffee during breakfast and it makes use of caffeine’s ability to suppress one’s appetite and stimulate metabolism to gain the desired weight loss. But before heading to grab a cup of that bitter goodness, here are some ways to make it healthier. To take a look at how the Day 1 military diet benefits weight loss, see our earlier piece on this topic.
How to make coffee healthier
- Sweeten the deal – bitter black coffee only has about 5 calories; it’s what we put in it that packs the most calories. If you like coffee a little sweet, skip the table sugar and use stevia or honey to sweeten it. Don’t even think about adding artificial low-calorie sweeteners! These products increase your cravings for even sweeter stuff, negating the positive effects of coffee. Check out our piece on how to choose sweeteners allowed in the military diet for more information.
- Say No to Frappuccino – when going out it’s sometimes hard to avoid going into a coffee shop and splurging on some iced drinks. One serving of Frappuccino is equivalent to half of the daily calorie target making you exceed your calorie intake considering the other meals for the day. If you really have to, ask for sugar-free syrup, no whip and non-fat milk. This lowers the total calories considerably.
- Cream it or not – powdered and artificial creamers are full of sugar and empty calories. They are also extremely unhealthy. If you cannot take coffee without adding some cream in it, opt for full-fat cream or milk. For even lower calories, use soy or almond milk.
- Spice things up – add some flavor to your coffee by adding the spices listed below. They not only give your coffee more body but their natural properties add more antioxidants and nutrients to your regular cup of joe.
- Cinnamon – helps stabilize blood sugar and is a good source of iron
- Cardamom – a good source of vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber
- Nutmeg – a good source of manganese
- Cloves – this herb is known to have lots of antioxidants and has been used as an anti-inflammatory
- Make your own mocha – unsweetened cocoa powder adds some more variety to coffee. Add a tablespoon or two and you have your own low-calorie mochaccino.
- Go organic – regular store brands go through a process that includes pesticides and other chemicals which can affect the hormone balance of the body. Always choose organic – this ensures that you are getting the healthiest option there is.
Caffeine plays an important part in this diet and if you cannot handle it, then replace it with the following substitutes:
- Green tea – this is an excellent coffee substitute as green tea has more antioxidants than coffee and has fewer calories to boot. The taste takes time to get used to but you can add a drop of stevia or honey to make it sweeter.
- Hot chocolate – choose sugar-free hot chocolate, this contains a small amount of caffeine and has fewer calories than regular hot chocolate.
Caffeine’s effect to the metabolic process is one of the many things that the diet makes use of and while coffee is the most popular source of caffeine.
There are always alternative sources to get that caffeine kick in the morning.
For more tips on how to lose weight in the military diet, see our must-read piece on the topic.