Put on the percolator, get out the coffee grinder and steer the car to Starbucks. National Coffee Day 2013 is September 29, reported the Daily Finance on September 28. Numerous cafes are offering free java in honor of the day (tip for freebies: See your favorite chain's Facebook page, since most require downloads for coupons).
To help you enjoy that free java the right way, here are our tips on diet-friendly choices:
- Avoid adding Frankenfood versions of cream, which typically consist of white powders or liquids made with a mixture of high fructose corn syrup, sugar and saturated fat.
- Dr. Mehmet Oz recently issued a warning about artificial sweeteners (click here for the story). Other studies have confirmed his caution that using fake sugars makes you crave more food. So either use a single packet of real sugar or choose a brew made of flavored coffee beans, which typically are naturally flavored without artificial sweeteners, such as Starbucks Natural Fusions Ground Coffee natural vanilla (click for details).
- Temptation can derail even the most determined dieter. If you know that the sight and smell of doughnuts at Krispy Kreme will have you begging for a glazed goody, then the free coffee isn't worth the guilt.
- Beware of places that require you to order something before you can get that freebie. One fattening example: Peet’s Coffee & Tea, which is giving away a free small Maple Latte on Sunday with the purchase of any baked good or Simply Oatmeal product, reported the Los Angeles Times on September 27. Aside from the money, the combination of the Maple Latte plus the baked good could be a calorie catastrophe, totaling as many calories as a typical dieter eats for dinner.
- And finally: Remember the rule of moderation. Just as one packet of Equal artificial sweetener probably won't ruin your health, a tiny cookie with that free coffee is fine.
And finally, we urge you to relax and experience the joys of java. The Mayo Clinic reports that the benefits of coffee include protecting against Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. It also has a high level of antioxidants. So here's to your health (minus the sugar, cream and doughnut for dunking!).