Mistakes That Are Making Your Coffee Unhealthy

Coffee — it gets you going in the morning, perks you up in the afternoon, and wraps up your day along with your favorite slice of cake. If you're drinking coffee this frequently, though, it's important to be mindful about the various ways you may be making your coffee unhealthy.

Studies have shown that drinking the right amount of coffee on a regular basis has potential health benefits. "Caffeine is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about coffee. But coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease," says Diane Vizthum, M.S., R.D., research nutritionist for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). Drinking coffee can also help lower your risk of Parkinson's disease, provide protection for your liver, strengthen your DNA, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

However, preparing coffee any old way may not only mitigate the benefits, but also make your coffee unhealthy. One of these potential mistakes is the kind of milk you use. If you're a whole milk latte drinker, give nonfat milk a try. Chances are your cup of caffeinated goodness will taste just as creamy at 90 calories compared to whole milk, which has roughly 150 calories per serving. If you really want to save on calories, try a nondairy alternative like almond milk, which contains roughly 40 calories per serving (via Insider).

Other ways you are making your coffee unhealthy

Because there are many ways to enjoy coffee, that means there are also many ways for you to go off the deep end.

If you're a fan of sugar or artificial sweeteners, these may be delighting your taste buds, but they are not doing the rest of your body any favors. Consuming sugar on a consistent basis in your coffee could increase inflammation, lead to cavities, and also pack on the pounds if you're not careful. Artificial sweeteners are better, but can cause other issues, Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition and wellness expert and author of Eating in Color, tells Livestrong

Dressing up your coffee as a dessert is also a no-no. It's understandable that you would want to turn your cuppa joe into a sweet treat, given all the tempting toppings available. But adding flavored syrups, whipped cream, and other sugary toppings is very unhealthy. "While a plain black coffee has negligible calories, a 'dessert coffee' can easily top 500 calories," Roger Adams, PhD, a Houston-based dietitian and founder of EatRightFitness.com tells Livestrong. "Any health benefits will be ruined by the added fat, sugar and calories." 

And avoid that java jolt in the afternoon. Drinking coffee too late in the day could disrupt your sleep, and not getting enough sleep can cause a host of other health problems.

So, keep on enjoying your daily grind to get you through the daily grind. But if it's time to improve some of your coffee-drinking habits, just make a few easy adjustments to your brew to maintain a healthier you.