As you peruse your options, keep in mind that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that people with diabetes keep their saturated fat intake to less than 7% of total calories. For most women, that works out to 12–14 grams of saturated fat per day (based on 1,600–1,800 calories per day), and for most men, it works out to 14–16 grams per day (based on 1,800–2,000 calories per day). Selecting coffee drinks with no more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving will help you stay within recommended limits.
The ADA also suggests limiting cholesterol intake from food or beverages to no more than 300 milligrams per day. If your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) is above 100 mg/dl, the recommendation is to limit your cholesterol intake to 200 milligrams a day. Many coffee drinks provide no cholesterol or only very small amounts. But drinks with whole milk, chocolate, or whipped cream added can contain quite a bit.
Even sodium can be a concern with some coffee drinks, with many containing 250–300 mg of sodium. If you are on a sodium-restricted diet, it pays to check the nutrition information before ordering.
When it comes to price, brewing your coffee at home has clear advantages. The average customer of a coffee shop spends about $50–$60 per month on coffee orders. Brewing a similar amount of coffee at home would total only $10–$20 per month, depending on brand and type of coffee brewed.
Milk and soy milk
Milk, fortified soy milk, and yogurt drinks can be important sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients in the diet. Milk has the advantage over soy milk of being fortified with vitamin D, and its calcium may be more easily absorbed, as well. Until age two, children who drink cow’s milk should drink whole milk. After that, low-fat or fat-free milk is recommended. People who have trouble digesting lactose (milk sugar) may be able to tolerate low-lactose milk and yogurt and yogurt drinks, which are lower in lactose.
Noncaloric soft drinks
Most diet soft drinks contain 0–1 gram of carbohydrate per 12-ounce serving and are considered free foods in a diabetes meal plan. However, a few diet drinks may have as much as 5 grams of carbohydrate per serving. In that case, if more than one serving is consumed, the carbohydrate content must be counted.
While these drinks appear to be safe, the authors of the Beverage Guidance System recommend limiting their intake to no more than 32 ounces because of the possibility that the intense sweetness of many of these drinks conditions people to prefer very sweet tastes. Hypothetically, this could lead to overeating and weight gain; some animal studies have supported this hypothesis.
Fruit juices and fruit drinks
Fruit juices and fruit drinks pack a lot of calories and carbohydrate into a relatively small serving. Virtually all of the calories in these beverages come from sugar, whether natural or added. However, not all fruit juices are created equal: Unsweetened grapefruit juice has 22 grams of carbohydrate per 8-ounce serving (1 1/2 carbohydrate choices), orange juice has 25–27 grams (2 carbohydrate choices), apple juice has 28–29 grams (2 carbohydrate choices), cranberry juice cocktail has 35 grams (2 1/2 carbohydrate choices), Cran-Apple has 35–39 grams (2 1/2 carbohydrate choices), grape juice has 38–42 grams (2 1/2–3 carbohydrate choices), and prune juice has 43–45 grams (3 carbohydrate choices). “Light” versions of some of these drinks have less carbohydrate per serving.
Most bottled juices and juice drinks list the serving size as 8 ounces (1 cup) on the Nutrition Facts panel of the label, even if the bottle or can contains 12 or 16 ounces. In those cases, if you consume the whole can or bottle, you will need to multiply the number of calories and grams of carbohydrate by 1.5 (for a 12-ounce container) or 2 (for a 16-ounce container).