Coffee Shop Face-Off: Which is Healthier?

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latte

Before you stop for your morning joe, find out how some coffee shop favorites compare.

Latte vs Cappuccino

WINNER: Cappuccino. They deliver the same caffeine jolt (75 milligrams per 12-ounce cup), but a latte has almost double the calories and fat of a cappuccino. The difference is in how they're made: Lattes are almost entirely milk, while cappuccinos have equal parts milk and steamed foam.

cream cheese
Cream Cheese vs Butter

WINNER: Cream Cheese. Butter contains twice the calories and fat of cream cheese. The only hitch: Café workers tend to be heavy-handed when slathering a bagel with cream cheese. Ask for it on the side so you have better control over the portion—or scrape some off.

doughnut

Donut isolated over white background with clipping-path included

Donut isolated over white background with clipping-path included

Cake Doughnut vs Yeast Doughnut

WINNER: It's a draw. A cake doughnut seems fattier because it's denser, but it actually isn't. Both types are made from the same basic ingredients (flour, sugar, milk, eggs), so they're similar nutritionally; they just have different leavening agents. The damage really depends on the extras: Adding a glaze or a cream filling tacks on at least 50 calories.

dark roast coffee beans
Dark Roast Coffee vs Light Roast Coffee

WINNER: It's a draw. There's a common misconception that dark roast is "stronger" and therefore more caffeinated, but light roast actually gives you more of a buzz. Experts are still debating which brew has more antioxidants: Some studies have found that the roasting process for dark coffee boosts its antioxidant count, while others report that greener, lighter beans have more antioxidants.

blueberry muffin

Regular Blueberry Muffin vs Low-Fat Blueberry Muffin

WINNER: Regular Blueberry Muffin. Low-fat isn't always better: Reduced-fat muffins do have fewer calories, but not enough to make a substantial difference, plus they typically contain more sodium or sugar. Your best bet: Split a full-fat muffin with a friend and pair it with a nonfat cappuccino.

Food Network Magazine's expert: Jaclyn London is a registered dietitian in New York City.

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