16:06 23 May 2008
Iced coffee drinks sold in high street coffee shops can contain up to a quarter of a woman's recommended daily caffeine levels.
One venti dark berry mocha frappuccino with cream from Starbucks racked up 561 calories. The general dietary advice is that women should not exceed 2,000 calories per day while men should not surpass 2,500.
While an occasional treat is unlikely to cause any lasting damage, experts have stated that regular consumption of these types of drinks should be avoided.
If that wasn't bad enough, recent research has stated that drinking too much coffee can make people hallucinate and sense the presence of the after life.
The equivalent to seven cups of instant coffee a day is enough to trigger these responses come bedtime.
Volunteers who consumed high levels of caffeine (also present in tea, fizzy drinks and chocolate) reported hearing voices.
They also admitted to seeing visions of items that did not exist as well as a strong sense that they were in the presence of ghosts when no one was around.
The study was undertaken by Durham University using 200 students. It is believed that caffeine causes the body to produce the stress hormone cortisol which can be associated with hallucinations.
However, the findings have suggested that caffeine could develop a use for treating those prone to hallucinations, and help to further understand the field which was once thought to be predominantly mental.
What may cause more concern for those who are addicted to cups of tea or coffee, is that a single cup may contain more fat, calories and sugar then initially imagined.
Britons once favoured plain coffee or tea, but the nation has since developed a love of gourmet drinks such as latte and frappuccino - which thin out wallets and expand waistlines in the process.
All figures given here are based on averages in drinks made from whole milk (where relevant) from high street coffee chains.
What's in it? 1-2 shots of espresso with steamed milk.
Calories: Small, 200; large, 341.
Fat: Small, 10.6g (6.6 saturated); large, 17.9g (11.2 saturated).
Grande verdict: Surprisingly unhealthy. A large latte contains almost one third of the daily recommended fat intake for women. Add a vanilla shot and there's 380 calories and 14.5g of fat in each large cup. This is equivalent to ten rashers of bacon.
Make it skinny: Stick to skimmed milk and the calories in your large latte drop to 160, reduce saturated fat to zero and still provide a healthy dose of calcium.
What's in it? Steamed and foamed milk added to an espresso shot.
Calories: Small, 122; large, 207.
Fat: Small, 6.4g (4g saturated); large, 10.7g (6.7g saturated).
Grande verdict: Better than lattes. But with 6.7g of artery-clogging saturated fat in a large mug, it's not healthy.
Make it skinny: Ask for skimmed milk. This will remove the fat and cut the calories to 129 in a large drink (76 in a small). Sprinkle on cinnamon instead of chocolate.
What's in it? 2-3 espresso shots topped with water and optional milk.
Calories: Small, 11; large, 23 (but more with milk and sugar).
Fat: None (unless you add milk).
Grande verdict: Most people add milk, but to cut calories make sure it is skimmed. Always try to avoid caramel toppings.
Make it skinny: Avoid full-fat milk and sugar. Better still, take it black.
What's in it? Coffee and water.
Calories: Single, 6; double, 11.
Grande verdict: If you don't add sugar (10 calories per sachet), this is the lowest-calorie coffee. A strong black coffee 1-2 hours prior to exercise has been shown to be beneficial but more than six is dangerous.
Make it skinny: A macchiato (espresso with foamed milk) provides some calcium and not many more calories (there are only 20 in a double shot drink).
What's in it? Chocolate drunk with whole milk, often topped with whipped cream.
Calories: Small, 357; large, 549.
Fat: Small, 18.7g (10.7g saturated); large, 27g (15.2g).
Grande verdict: A large cup has the calories and fat content of three hot dogs. If you do get one make sure that they actually use real milk to make it - a lot of fast food establishments use a fat-laden substitute.
Make it skinny: Go for a small, skinny hot chocolate with no cream to drop your calories to 209.
What's in it? A blended creme drink made from a coffee-free mix of sugar, syrup, milk and ice, possibly topped with whipped cream.
Calories: Small, 344; large, 530.
Fat: Small, 12.5g (7g saturated); large, 18g (9.9g saturated).
Grande verdict: Blended cremes are a mix of sugar, milk and ice and contain just 190 calories in a small cup. But, the addition of syrups, such as banana and chocolate, make them incredibly unhealthy.
Make it skinny: Say no to the whipped cream and save 94 calories (131 in a large frappuccino). Choose a small, low-fat coffee frappuccino with no cream - a tasty 119 calories.
What's in it? Three-quarters steamed milk, 3-4 pumps of chocolate sauce and 2-3 shots of espresso topped with whipped cream.
Calories: Small, 255; large, 484.
Fat: Small, 9.3g (5.4g saturated); large, 25.3g (14.3g saturated).
Grande verdict: Too fatty. This is sweetened with a massive 41g of sugar in a large cup. It could be worse however: a large white chocolate mocha with whipped cream contains 628 calories and 28.9g of fat.
Make it skinny: Order a skimmed milk, dark mocha with no cream to return to a healthier 175 calories.
But don't worry it's not all bad news - coffee has its health benefits.
Caffeine is thought to prevent memory loss in old age and can cut the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Researchers in the Netherlands analysed cognitive decline in elderly men. It was four times greater in non-coffee drinkers than in those who drank three cups a day.
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