Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Starbucks Survival Guide- Your Drink of Choice's Dirty Little Calorie Counts

If you’re like most people, your day doesn’t actually start until you’ve had your coffee, or at least you’re not ready to face the world yet. Coffee has become more than a beverage in our fine Nation, it’s almost the lifeline that keeps us going…I worry should Starbucks come up with a way to IV it straight into us. 

Ahhh, Starbucks, it only took me two sentences to get to it. Starbucks and coffee, yes there are competing chains out there and people are almost scarily loyal to them, but let’s face it Starbucks is heckbent on taking over the World. They have that corner in the grocery store, another one in the bookstore, AND of course the regular old chain all in the same shopping center.

Now coffee, if you sip it straight black has between 0 and 5 calories per cup. Not bad you say, let’s guzzle it down like water. But hold up, who drinks it straight black? I’m sure if you stepped to the counter and asked for that you’d be greeted with one fine about face by the barista. Sure you could add a couple of Splendas and only be raising the caloric stats by 5 per pack, but for the most part a typical Starbucks order takes a minute to rattle off. 

You might be shocked though to learn that if you order a Venti Caffé Vanilla Frap Blended Coffee as is you could be chugging down 580 calories! That’s before you even actually eat anything for the day! Mindless sipping can lead to major weight gain and the thing about drink calories is that they don’t register the same way as actual food ones. They count in the sense that the body will store them as fat if they aren’t burned off, but they don’t make you feel full like food would. That means you’ll be just as hungry come lunchtime.
Here’s a quick Starbucks Survival Guide to fuel your day but not your waistline:

*Don’t Overload the Extra’s: Read that as the heavy whip, the creamers, full fat milk, and the like. Of course you don’t have to have your coffee bland, but be selective and also go for the lower-fat versions.

*Sprinkle Me This, Straw Me That: Yes, chocolate rocks, not going to lie, but those cutie sprinkles and swirls on top don’t get a free pass on the calorie counts. Darn, same goes for caramel sauce and cookie straws.

*Seasonal Beverages: These come and go and with seasonal drinks Starbucks isn’t necessarily forced to post up the nutrition stats (they’re even cagey with full disclosure on the regular menu), but the same rules apply with everything else. Look at what is in it and use your calorie know-how. Case in point, a Venti Mocha Coconut Frap has 550 cals and 18 grams of fat. Even a Tall Frap version still with the whip and nonfat milk will set you back 9 grams of fat and 300 cals.

*Tea It Baby: Tea is also 5 calories or below per cup if you don’t add anything to it, and certain ones will still offer you the caffeine kick. Just something to think about, but also remember to keep in mind the calories of anything you add to it, not all tea drinks are created equal.

*Size Matters: This should be a no-brainer, but keep in mind that a single serving of any liquid is a cup, 8 ounces. Starbucks size-wise that means a Grande is actually two cups, with 16 ounces, so look at the ounces and do the math when you order.

Quickie Skyhigh Stats:

  • White Chocolate Mocha (Venti/whole milk/whipped cream)– 620 cals 27 grams of fat
  •  Double Choc Chip Frap (Grande/whipped cream)—640 cals 22 grams of fat
  • Caffe Mocha (Venti/whole milk/whipped cream)--450 cals 22 grams of fat
  • Cinnamon Dolce Latte (Grande/whole milk/whipped cream)—370 cals and 17 grams of fat
  • Tazo Green Tea Frap Blended Crème (Grande/whipped cream)—490 cals 14 grams of fat – proof teas can be dangerous too

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