Coffee, American’s Favorite Drink

Coffee is one of Americans favorite drinks.  According to the National Coffee Data Trends (NCDT) report from March 2020, Americans are drinking more coffee than ever.

  • Overall coffee consumption is UP by 5% across the nation since 2015.
  • 7 in 10 Americans drink coffee every week; 62% drink coffee every day.
  • The average American coffee drinker drinks just over 3 cups per day.

When I work with patients, and two important coffee question are

“How much coffee do you drink? ”

“What do you put in your coffee?”

How much coffee do you drink?

If Americans drink on average 3 cups of coffee per day or 24 ounces, we can unknowingly add extra calories, sugar and saturated fat in the forms of sweeteners and creamers.

What do you put in your coffee?

The most common response is cream and sugar.  If a person adds 1 sugar packet per cup of coffee that is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Many people also add flavored creamer to their coffee which also can contain sugar.  One tablespoon of flavored creamer contains just over 1 teaspoon of sugar.

What are coffee sweetener alternatives?

There are many coffee sweetener alternatives such as natural sugars and artificial sugars.  The natural sugars include honey, agave, stevia, monk fruit, maple syrup and milk and coconut sugar.  The artificial sugars include sugar alcohols, aspartame, saccharin, sucralose.  These artificial sugars are a popular options but this article will focus on natural sugars.  Here is a list of the top 7 natural sugar alternatives to sugar in coffee that can be found in the grocery store.


Is there a natural alternative to sugar in coffee?

The answer is yes and most can be found in your grocery store or even your local coffee shop.  More and more people are looking for a natural sugar replacement for coffee.

Keep in mind that even if sweeteners are natural, they can still contain calories and carbohydrates.  It is important to measure amounts to get an honest idea of how much we are consuming.  It may surprise you.

Top 7 natural sugar alternatives for coffee

Honey–  Honey is naturally sweet.  It also contains small amounts of antioxidants and nutrients such as niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous and zinc. Some research suggests that honey may offer a protective effect against diabetes and some types of honey may help improve cholesterol levels.  Honey may also be slightly sweeter than sugar and less might be needed to get the same sweet taste.


Milk –  Has lactose is a natural milk sugar, it can have a sweeter taste that coffee creamer and can be a suitable replacement for sugar.  Milk also have other nutrients such as calcium, protein, vitamin D.


Monk fruit– Another popular sugar replacement for coffee is monk fruit. Monk fruit sweetener, also called monk fruit extract and it is extracted from a monk fruit.  It has zero calories is 150-200 times sweeter than sugar.  It is also thought to have antioxidant properties.


Coconut sugar-Coconut sugar is also called coconut palm sugar. It’s a natural sugar made from coconut palm sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant.  Coconut sugar contains small amounts of minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Coconut sugar has the same amount of calories as white sugar.  It would not be a significant source of these nutrients but a sugar alternative.


Stevia-Stevia leaf extract is a zero-calorie sweetener, it is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar.  It has zero calories.  Since it is so much sweeter that sugar, a smaller amount is needed.


Agave– Agave is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of agave plant.  Like honey, agave does contain  calories and carbohydrates.  It is also not as super sweet as stevia or monk fruit.


Maple syrup–  This natural sweetener is made from the sap of sugar maple trees native to Canada. Maple syrup may provide anti-inflammatory properties and is potentially a better substitute for white sugar.  So is you are looking for calorie and carbohydrate free sweetness, agave, milk, coconut sugar, maple syrup and honey are not for you.

Is there a healthy alternative to sugar coffee?

Finding the best sugar alternative for you may take some trial and error.  Give some these ideas a try and see if you find a healthier alternative to sugar in your coffee.  As with any sweetener, it is important to remember a few things:

  1. How much sweetener are you using per cup?
  2. How many cups are you drinking?
  3. As with everything, moderation and balance your coffee drinking with other fluids especially water.