Here’s How Your Healthy Coffee Drink Ranks From Oat Milk Latte to Matcha

Just because it's "skinny" doesn't mean it's healthy.

best healthy coffee drinks to order
Image: @alfred instagram

We all know that insta-famous coffee cafe Alfred is not only one of the busiest places in Los Angeles, but it’s also one of the most photographed. Known for their Insta tag #Butfirstcoffee, Alfred’s has made a name for themselves and if you haven’t scrolled and seen an image of a cup of joe with the hashtag #Butfirstcoffee, I promise you, you will soon! Stroll into their Melrose store in LA and you’re bound to bump into an Insta-famous model, a movie celebrity, or a screenwriter working on their next future film. Hello, we’ve even seen Jennifer Garner and Tash Oakley at the Alfred Brentwood cafe.

But Alfred isn’t just a see-and-be-seen coffee spot—it has also positioned itself as a healthy-ish hangout, thanks to a refrigerator stocked with cold-pressed juice and vegan fare as well as the best quality nut milk for their very popular almond milk lattes. But just how much better for you is an almond milk latte versus the real thing?

If you’ve ever wondered which is the “best” healthy coffee drink to order, we’ve got you covered. Keep scrolling to see what you should sip next time you take a coffee break.

1. Skinny Vanilla Latte

Typically tacking a “skinny” prefix onto the name of the drink is a sign that said beverage will likely contain artificial sweeteners and non-fat milk. On paper, it probably has a lower calorie count than anything else on the menu … but it’s also loaded with chemicals and low in any real nutrients. Studies show that ingesting artificial sweeteners (like stevia, Splenda, Truvia, and Sweet N’ Low) actually tricks our bodies into craving more sugar. So if you order one of these drinks for breakfast in an attempt to cut calories and satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t be surprised if you get a gnarly craving for something sugary a few hours later.

Our takeaway
You’re better off opting for a regular latte with whole milk and a pump of flavoring (although you should skip the flavor if you can!)—it might be a little higher in calories, but whole milk is more filling, contains more protein, and has more nutrients like calcium and magnesium that will help you stay satisfied for longer.

2. Skinny Frappuccino

If it looks and tastes like a milkshake, but with half the calories … sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is. Reading the ingredient list on Starbucks’ Coffee Light Frappuccino practically requires a chemistry degree—the “light frappuccino syrup” contains water, sugar, fructose, natural flavors, salt, and carrageenan, xanthan gum, maltodextrin, potassium sorbate, citric acid, and rebaudioside A. Yeah … what? Most of these ingredients are made in a lab (yuck!) and don’t add any nutrition to your drink.

Our takeaway
A skinny frap is probably OK every once in a while, but contains 23 grams of sugar. That number is big enough to throw your blood sugar levels seriously out of whack and cause things like fatigue, hormone dysfunction, hunger, and even acne breakouts.

3. Soy Cappucino

Although it’s been advertised as a healthier alternative to dairy milk, soy has its own problems. Because it’s high in phytoestrogens—natural, plant-based compounds that mimic the role of estrogen—eating too much soy can mess with your body’s hormonal balance. Plus, a cup of soy milk actually contains more calories than a cup of whole milk, so if you’re cutting out dairy to lose weight you might want to think again.
Our takeaway

Avoid soy products if you’re prone to hormonal imbalances or adrenal fatigue, and note that soy has also been linked to chronic inflammation, so it’s best to limit your intake.

4. Almond Milk Latte

Let’s be honest—almond milk lattes are ultra-trendy right now. But is it worth it to spend the extra $2-$3 on almond milk over regular milk? If you have an issue digesting dairy (or you’re vegan), then probably. Otherwise, opting for almond milk over regular whole milk will only save you about 40 calories. Swapping almond for whole milk in your latte won’t be the magic bullet that helps you instantly drop weight, but it can be a healthier choice for those who want an organic, antibiotic-free option in lieu of conventional dairy milk

Our takeaway
If you’re really trying to cut calories in your morning cup of joe, you’re better off drinking regular coffee with a splash of cream.

5. Matcha Tea (with non-dairy milk)

Last but certainly not least, matcha tea lattes! The darling drink of yogis and healthy Instagrammers everywhere, matcha is in a league of its own when compared with coffee. If you’re strictly looking at calories, a cup of matcha tea and a cup of coffee both have less than 10 calories per serving. But matcha is packed with antioxidants, fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals, and even fat-burning compounds—it’s so loaded with the good stuff, it’s a veritable superfood!

Our takeaway
If you’re looking for something more substantial, a small matcha latte made with almond or whole milk is less than 150 calories and will easily satisfy your cravings for something sweet and caffeinated.

6. Oat Milk Latte

Ok, so Oat milk is seriously trending at the moment, and for good reason. It’s a popular alternative to cow’s milk (à la almond or soy milk) that’s made from oats, water, and sometimes a few additional ingredients. Its creamy texture has made it a favorite of latte-making baristas, while its nutritional profile has earned points with consumers and secured its spot in grocery stores’ nondairy lineups. Oat milk can actually be a nice option for someone with dietary restrictions or food sensitivities because it is naturally free of dairy, lactose, soy, and nuts. The great thing about oat is that when compared to other plant-based milk, such as almond or rice milk, oat milk typically has a bit more protein and fiber. However, it is important to note that oat milk can be higher in carbohydrates and calories, depending on the brand.

Our takeaway
If you’re looking for a low-carb, non-dairy milk version then Almond milk is definitely your best bet. But if you are allergic to nuts, or just love a thicker style of non-dairy milk, then oat is your go-to.

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