03/28/2008 02:48 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Stop The Coffee Insanity

You have already heard a bit from us about whether or not Starbucks is our friend, but during these winter months when so many of us drink hot liquid to warm up our insides, we need to delve deeper into this whole coffee craze. Actually, we want to talk about all of those coffee drinks that are actually not coffee. So many millions of people are drinking rich, creamy desserts for breakfast every day and don't realize why they are overweight, lethargic and desperately crave their second "coffee drink" at noon. Well, this is why - those gingerbread and pumpkin spice lattes, mochas and white chocolate mochas have just as many calories and as much sugar as a piece of chocolate cake! Wouldn't you rather have chocolate cake for breakfast?

By the way, we are not judging anyone who drinks these things. We used to be addicted to them, too. When they opened the first Starbucks in our hometown twelve years ago, we'd drive 40 minutes every weekend just to get a mocha latte with whipped cream and a chocolate chip bagel. It was a fun, delicious weekend treat. But now they're on every corner, and instead of having them for a special indulgence, too many people are drinking dessert every day for breakfast. And then the same people go out to dinner and feel guilty about ordering tiramisu. We think that's backwards and we want to stop the coffee insanity. It took us years to break ourselves of our creamy mocha and ice blended coffee addictions, but we did manage to do it, and we want to help you do the same. At the very least, here are a few good reasons to cut back.

1. Cost

We know that we're not here to give you financial advice, but we also know how much money you are spending on this crazy coffee addiction. If you order a medium sized "dessert latte" four times a week, you are spending about $1,000 a year on glorified caffeine. And if you add muffins and sandwiches to that, you're probably doubling it. Yikes. Try getting drip coffee a few days a week and you'll save yourself around $500 a year--and about 50,000 calories!

2. Calories

Cutting to the chase: a regular-sized mocha has 330 calories, 15 grams of fat (8 of which are saturated) and 33 grams of sugar - and that's without that delicious whipped cream! And all those other special holiday drinks, and the ones with caramel added, have even more. Just do the math - if you have one of these crazy coffee concoctions every day plus some sort of muffin thingy, your breakfast on the go is well over 600 calories. We think that 600 calories could be better spent elsewhere - like on pizza for lunch or an ice cream sundae at the end of a long day. Or you could go out and order French toast or fluffy pancakes with black coffee for the same amount calories. Our lives changed when we realized that we could actually eat a lot more decadent food if we stopped starting our day with an expensive dessert drink.

3. Energy

We have to pause for a moment and mention how very much we LOVE coffee. And we are still totally addicted - just not to the fatty kind. We drink good, old fashioned drip coffee or we get an Americano (which is pretty much the same thing, just a bit fresher, 25 cents more and way more fun). But when we made the switch, we realized that we had so much more energy. All of that cream and sugar really does slow you down. It'll give you a quick buzz, but that hard sugar crash is just not worth it. Just try this on a Monday morning-- order a drip coffee instead of a pumpkin spice latte, and use a bit of half and half and Splenda if you want it sweet. Just watch how much more energized you feel!

4. Sweeteners

We know it may seem like we are obsessed with Splenda. That's because we are. It says on the box, "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar," and they are not lying. This stuff is great! However, what are not great are the sugar-free syrups and flavors they have at these fancy coffee shops. Just because you order your vanilla latte "sugar free," that does not mean it is healthier. We spent a whole year drinking these, too, but then we realized that all of those fake sweeteners made us hungry and bloated and puffy, and that's because they are also filled with a ton of sodium. Yep, you are trading corn syrup for even faker chemicals and way too much salt. Again, just try plain old coffee, and if you really love these things, treat yourself to the "real thing" on the weekend, or on a Wednesday, or on your birthday. You'll save money, you'll save calories, and you'll feel so much better!

5. If All Else Fails... Get the Skinny

Okay, fine. If you absolutely can't stomach plain coffee, then go ahead and order your latte - just order it with non-fat milk or soy milk and leave out all of the flavors, syrups, and creams. Our friend Starbucks is now offering a "Skinny Latte" which only has 90 calories. (Thank you, Starbucks!) Try this one, and again, if you need it sweet, add a packet of Splenda. (Oh, and please don't yell at us too much about the chemicals in Splenda - we know it's not perfect, but it is better than aspartame.)