Dr. Becky Maes - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Becky Maes

Is Dare Iced Coffee Bad For You?



Short answer

Dare Iced Coffee provides protein and calcium but is high in calories and sugars, particularly concerning when consumed frequently. Its high sugar content, often exceeding daily recommendations, can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Though it contains nourishing elements, moderation is essential due to its potential negative impact on diet and health. Caffeine content should also be monitored. Additives like sweeteners and preservatives may pose additional health concerns and warrant a cautious approach. For those mindful of nutrient intake and wellness, alternatives or homemade options may be preferable.



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Long answer

Nutritional Content of Dare Iced Coffee

Iced coffee drinks like Dare Iced Coffee have risen in popularity, often seen as a refreshing alternative to hot coffee. However, understanding their nutritional content is vital in determining whether they can fit into a healthy diet. When analyzing the nutritional profile of Dare Iced Coffee, there are several components we need to consider, including calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients.

First, let's talk about calories. A typical bottle of Dare Iced Coffee can range in calorie content, depending on the flavor and size. For instance, the Dare Double Espresso 500ml contains approximately 306 calories, which is roughly the same as a small meal. Consequently, consuming this drink may add a significant number of calories to your daily intake, which is an important consideration for those monitoring their calorie consumption for weight management.

Breaking down the macronutrients:

  • Proteins: Dare Iced Coffee is a milk-based drink that provides a decent protein content, which is important for muscle repair and growth. A 500ml bottle can contain about 17g of protein, largely contributed by the milk content.
  • Fats: The fat content can vary, with some versions made from full-cream milk, contributing higher amounts of saturated fat, and others, like the 'Espresso No Added Sugar' version, that use skim milk and have less fat. It's important to look at the type of fat, as saturated fats should be consumed in moderation.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates primarily come from sugars in Dare Iced Coffee. For example, a 500ml bottle could contain around 42g of sugars, which far exceeds the recommended daily intake of free sugars (a maximum of 10% of total energy intake, according to the World Health Organization). Excess sugar intake has been linked to various health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Beyond macronutrients, we must also consider the micronutrient content. Dare Iced Coffee, being made with milk, naturally offers calcium which is essential for strong bones and teeth. It can also be a source of other nutrients like vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus. However, it is worth noting that the presence of added sugars and other additives may overshadow these micronutrient benefits in the context of overall health.

It is important for consumers to understand that while Dare Iced Coffee does provide certain nutritional elements like protein and calcium, the high calorie and sugar content can have a negative impact on diet and health, particularly if consumed frequently or in large amounts. Carefully reading the nutritional label is essential to ensure that the consumption of this drink aligns with your dietary goals and health needs. Always consider the broader context of your entire diet, and consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian when in doubt about the role of products like Dare Iced Coffee in your diet.

Hidden Sugars and Their Health Implications

When discussing the health impact of popular beverages like Dare Iced Coffee, an often overlooked aspect is the presence of hidden sugars. Despite their sweet taste which many find irresistible, these sugars can have profound implications for our health.

Hidden sugars are not always obvious on ingredient labels. They can be listed under various names such as sucrose, glucose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, or maltose. And in the case of Dare Iced Coffee, some of these sugars are naturally occurring in the milk, while others are added to enhance flavor.

Impact on Metabolic Health: Consuming beverages high in added sugars can lead to a spike in blood glucose levels, which over time may contribute to insulin resistance. This can potentially culminate in metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels, which in turn, elevate the risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Weight Gain: Taking in more sugar from beverages than the body can utilize for energy can lead to an increase in body weight. This surplus energy is stored as fat. Hidden sugars in beverages like iced coffee can, therefore, be a contributing factor to obesity, especially since liquid calories are less satiating than calories from solid foods, possibly leading to overconsumption.

Dental Health: Moreover, frequent consumption of sugary beverages is also detrimental to dental health. They promote tooth decay and can lead to cavities over time, as the sugars feed bacteria in dental plaque.

Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): Excessive sugar intake, particularly fructose, has been linked with NAFLD. Your liver converts fructose to fat, and too much can remain in the liver, leading to NAFLD, which may progress to more severe liver damage.

To quantify the issue, a single bottle of Dare Iced Coffee can contain as much as 42 grams of sugar, which is quite steep when aligned with the World Health Organization’s recommendation of reducing free sugar intake to less than 10% of total energy intake. This equates to around 50g of sugar per day for an adult consuming 2000 calories daily. Consuming a single bottle of Dare Iced Coffee may bring a person perilously close to that upper limit, not accounting for sugars present in the rest of their diet.

It is important for consumers to be mindful of hidden sugars, not only in Dare Iced Coffee but in all sugary drinks and to consider these health implications when choosing their beverages. Analyzing the nutritional label to check for sugar content and opting for lower-sugar or sugar-free alternatives when possible can be beneficial steps toward reducing the risk of these health concerns.

Presence of Caffeine: How Much Is Too Much?

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant commonly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks. It's what gives iced coffee, including Dare Iced Coffee, its energizing effect. However, the amount of caffeine present in these beverages can vary significantly, and this has implications for health.

The caffeine content in Dare Iced Coffee can range from approximately 80mg in smaller servings to upwards of 160mg in larger sizes. To put this in perspective, health authorities typically recommend that an adult should not consume more than 400mg of caffeine in a day. This limit is proposed to avoid side effects associated with overconsumption which include insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, increased heart rate and respiration, and other potential health issues.

Keep in mind, sensitivity to caffeine varies from person to person. Some individuals can consume caffeine without adverse effects, while others may experience symptoms with even small quantities. Here are some factors that affect caffeine sensitivity:

  • Genetics
  • Body mass
  • Age
  • Medication use
  • Health conditions
  • Frequency of caffeine consumption

Particularly for individuals with certain health conditions such as anxiety disorders, heart conditions, or pregnancy, consuming lower amounts of caffeine is advisable. In such cases, the recommended daily limit can be further reduced.

Additionally, it's essential to consider the cumulative effect of caffeine intake throughout the day. Apart from Dare Iced Coffee, one must take into account all other sources of caffeine like other coffee or tea drinks, chocolate, energy drinks, certain medications, and supplements that contribute to the total daily caffeine intake.

It's also worth noting that caffeine can be addictive and regular consumption can lead to dependence and, when not consumed, withdrawal symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and irritability. Moderation and mindfulness are key when incorporating caffeine into a diet.

To summarize, while the caffeine in Dare Iced Coffee can be a beneficial stimulant in moderation, excessive intake can lead to health issues. To mitigate any risks, individuals should monitor their overall daily consumption of caffeine and follow health guidelines for maximum intake. Always consider personal tolerance and consult with a healthcare provider if you have concerns about caffeine intake and its impact on your health.

Additives in Flavored Dairy Beverages

When considering the health impact of flavored dairy beverages like Dare Iced Coffee, it's essential to investigate the additives commonly used in these drinks. Additives can range from sweeteners to preservatives, each with its own potential effects on health.

Sweeteners: Many flavored dairy beverages contain added sweeteners, which can significantly increase the calorie and sugar content of the drink. For instance, high fructose corn syrup or sucrose are common sweeteners that can contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, and dental problems if consumed in excess. Sweeteners also impact blood sugar levels, which is a critical consideration for those with diabetes or insulin sensitivity concerns.

Artificial Flavors: Artificial flavors are another additive designed to enhance or mimic certain flavors. While generally recognized as safe, some individuals report sensitivities to specific artificial flavors, leading to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or allergic reactions. It's advisable to monitor personal responses to these substances, as individual reactions can vary significantly.

Preservatives: To extend shelf life and maintain product stability, preservatives such as sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate may be used. These compounds can be metabolized by the body without issue in small amounts. However, their safety when consumed in large quantities or over extended periods is a subject of ongoing research. There have been concerns about the potential for these additives to form benzene, a known carcinogen, particularly in the presence of ascorbic acid, although the risk is generally considered low.

Emulsifiers and Thickening Agents: Components like carrageenan, guar gum, and cellulose gum are added to improve texture and consistency. While these substances are typically safe for consumption, some studies suggest that emulsifiers may disrupt the gut microbiome, leading to inflammation and gastrointestinal issues in susceptible individuals.

Coloring Agents: To achieve a visually appealing product, artificial colors are often added to flavored dairy beverages. Controversy surrounds some artificial colors, such as Yellow 5 or Red 40, due to links with hyperactivity in children and potential carcinogenic effects as suggested by some animal studies. Natural colorings, like beet juice or turmeric, are alternatives but can also cause allergic reactions in rare cases.

Additional Considerations: Many additives have 'Generally Recognized as Safe' (GRAS) status by the FDA, but consumer advocacy groups and some health experts recommend a cautious approach. This is particularly relevant for individuals with health conditions that could be exacerbated by additives or those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Overall, the key with flavored dairy beverages and their additives is moderation. For individuals with specific health concerns, it might be best to choose products with minimal added ingredients or to opt for homemade alternatives where ingredient control is in your hands. Checking labels for the specific additives used can help guide healthier choices.

References to scientific studies and expert opinions:

  • The influence of emulsifiers on the gut microbiota: Gastroenterology - Shaohua Wang et al. (2019).
  • Effects of sweeteners on the gut microbiota: The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Qinqin Wang et al. (2020).
  • Color additives and behavioral effects: Lancet - Jim Stevenson et al. (2007).

Dare Iced Coffee: A Comparison with Homemade Options

When considering the health value of commercial iced coffees, it's instructive to compare them with their homemade counterparts. This juxtaposition can highlight nutritional differences that may sway your decision on what kind of iced coffee to indulge in.

Nutritional Content: The commercially produced Dare Iced Coffee can widely vary in calories, sugar, and fat content when compared to homemade iced coffee, depending primarily on the ingredients used at home. A standard serving of Dare Iced Coffee contains quite a bit of added sugar and preservatives, which is often higher than what you would add in a homemade version. Consuming such added sugars regularly can contribute to an increased risk of chronic health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

  • Calories: A typical 500ml bottle of Dare Iced Coffee can range from 200 to 400 calories, while a homemade iced coffee with skim milk and a teaspoon of sugar contains approximately 50-70 calories.
  • Sugars: Dare Iced Coffee can have upwards of 30-40 grams of sugar per serving. In contrast, a teaspoon of sugar has about 4 grams, making a homemade version with controlled sugar significantly lower in added sugars.
  • Fat content: Dare's full-cream milk options are higher in saturated fats, whereas at home, you can opt for low-fat or plant-based milk alternatives.

It's also important to consider the presence of functional ingredients in Dare Iced Coffee, such as added vitamins or minerals, that you may not get in a homemade version. However, the health benefits of these additions can be outweighed by the excessive sugar and calorie addition if not consumed in moderation.

Ingredient Quality: Homemade iced coffee allows for the selection of quality ingredients such as organic coffee and milk, whereas the mass-produced nature of Dare Iced Coffee may involve lower-quality products or non-organic milk. Moreover, you have the freedom to include natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, which offer more nutritional value than the high-fructose corn syrup found in many commercial iced coffees.

Customization and Control: Preparing iced coffee at home gives the added advantage of controlling portion sizes, sugar levels, and additional flavorings. This level of customization can help in managing caloric intake and avoiding the consumption of unnecessary additives and flavorings often found in commercial products.

Environmental Impact: The environmental cognizance of homemade options often surpasses that of bottled alternatives like Dare. Reusable cups and ethically sourced ingredients play a substantial role in reducing the environmental footprint associated with homemade iced coffee preparations, as highlighted by environmental advocacy groups.

While a commercial iced coffee like Dare offers convenience and consistent taste, a homemade iced coffee provides control over nutritional content, ingredient quality, and environmental impact. The choice between a commercial or homemade iced coffee can significantly impact your dietary patterns, and it's advisable to lean towards options that offer health benefits without compromising on taste and satisfaction.

Note: Always keep in mind individual dietary needs and consult with a registered dietitian or nutritionist for personalized advice, especially when dealing with specific health conditions that warrant careful consideration of sugar and caloric intake.

Balancing Enjoyment and Moderation in Diet

When it comes to indulgent beverages like Dare Iced Coffee, it’s essential to strike the right balance between savoring the taste and practicing dietary moderation. While occasional treats can be a rewarding part of a balanced diet, understanding how products like Dare Iced Coffee fit into your overall nutritional intake is crucial.

Nutrient Profile Assessment

First, it's important to evaluate the nutrient profile of Dare Iced Coffee. Like most flavored coffee beverages, it can contain substantial amounts of added sugars and saturated fats, depending on the variety and serving size. A single bottle might provide a quick energy burst and satisfy taste cravings, yet it could also contribute to excessive calorie intake if not consumed mindfully. Here's what to look out for:

  • Added Sugars: Excessive intake of added sugars is associated with various health issues, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Saturated Fats: High amounts can increase the risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease over time.
  • Caffeine Content: Moderate caffeine intake can be part of a healthy diet, but too much might lead to nervousness, insomnia, and increased heart rate.

Enjoyment Without Excess

The key to incorporating treats like Dare Iced Coffee into your diet is to enjoy them without excess. Consider the following tips:

  • Portion Control: Choose a smaller size to satisfy your craving without overindulging.
  • Frequency: Limit consumption to a few times a week, rather than making it a daily habit.
  • Alternative Options: Consider trying lower-calorie or reduced-sugar versions if available.

Mindfulness Approach

Being mindful about consumption involves being aware of the 'why' behind your food choices. Ask yourself whether you're selecting Dare Iced Coffee for its caffeine boost, its creamy taste, or as an emotional comfort. By being conscious of the reasons, you can better manage the frequency and quantity of your indulgence.

Complementary Dietary Choices

If you enjoy Dare Iced Coffee, it's wise to balance your diet by making healthful choices throughout the day:

  • Nutrient-Dense Foods: Focus on fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats to provide essential nutrients.
  • Hydration: Drink ample water and remember that while Iced Coffee contributes to fluid intake, it shouldn't replace water.
  • Physical Activity: Regular exercise can help offset occasional higher calorie treats and improve overall health.

Expert Recommendations

Nutrition experts generally recommend that discretionary foods like flavored iced coffees be consumed in moderation within the context of a nutrient-dense diet. The Australian Dietary Guidelines, for instance, suggest limiting intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars, which applies to many ready-to-drink coffee beverages. By adhering to these guidelines, you can enjoy Dare Iced Coffee as an occasional treat without compromising your health goals.

In conclusion, while there's room for occasional indulgence, maintaining moderation is key to a healthy diet. Being mindful of the amounts, frequency, and reasons for consuming products like Dare Iced Coffee can help you enjoy them responsibly.

Frequently asked questions

For individuals concerned about sugar intake, choosing the 'Espresso No Added Sugar' version of Dare Iced Coffee would be a better option as it uses skim milk, which reduces the overall fat and added sugars, compared to the regular versions containing full-cream milk and higher sugar content.

Dare Iced Coffee contains varying levels of caffeine, typically from 80mg to 160mg per serving. To avoid caffeine overdose and its associated negative effects, individuals should monitor their total daily caffeine intake from all sources and ensure it does not exceed the recommended upper limit of 400mg for most adults.

The protein content in Dare Iced Coffee, largely from milk, can contribute positively to meeting daily protein requirements, which is crucial for muscle repair and growth. However, considering that a 500ml bottle contains about 17g of protein, it should be complemented with other protein sources throughout the day to meet the average adult's recommended intake of 46-56 grams per day.

When incorporating Dare Iced Coffee into a weight management plan, it's crucial to practice portion control, choose lower-calorie and reduced-sugar varieties when possible, and limit frequency to avoid excessive calorie and sugar consumption. Balancing its intake with nutrient-dense foods, staying hydrated, and maintaining regular physical activity can help manage weight more effectively.

Ask a question about Dare Iced Coffee and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased calorie intake
  • spike in blood glucose
  • caffeine sensitivity reactions (e.g., insomnia, nervousness, restlessness)
  • stomach irritation
  • increased heart rate
  • potential allergic reactions to additives
  • impact on dental health

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • increased risk of metabolic syndrome
  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • tooth decay
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (nafld)
  • potential carcinogenic effects of certain preservatives
  • disruption of gut microbiome
  • development of high cholesterol

Ingredients to be aware of

  • saturated fats
  • high sugar content
  • caffeine
  • artificial flavors
  • preservatives (e.g., sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate)
  • sweeteners (e.g., high fructose corn syrup, sucrose)
  • emulsifiers and thickening agents (e.g., carrageenan, guar gum, cellulose gum)
  • artificial colors (e.g., yellow 5, red 40)


  • source of protein
  • source of calcium
  • energy boost from caffeine

Healthier alternatives

  • homemade iced coffee with controlled sugar
  • low-fat or plant-based milk alternatives
  • natural sweeteners (e.g., honey, maple syrup)
  • reduced-sugar or sugar-free commercial options

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Califia Farms XX Espresso

  • 100% Arabica beans
  • Dairy-free beverage
  • Plant-based milk
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Non-GMO
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 05-01-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 05-01-2024

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