Monday, April 30, 2007


The American nutritional advocacy group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, now says anyone who feels virtuous for grabbing a Starbucks latte, rather than something from McDonald's, is misguided.

"Most people wouldn't consider packing in a quarter-pounder between breakfast and lunch," says the centre's nutritionist, Jayne Hurley.

"But it's perfectly possible to get more than 500 calories in a Starbucks drink.

"Many people assume that drinks are not calorific, but some contain huge amounts of calories and fat," says Bridget Aisbitt, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation.

"Some of the fashionable gourmet teas and coffees have the same number of calories as a small meal and should be drunk infrequently and with caution."

All figures given here are based on averages in drinks made from whole milk (where relevant) from High Street coffee chains.

What is 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).
Verdict: Surprisingly unhealthy. A large latte contains almost one third of the daily recommended fat intake for women. Add a vanilla shot and you 380 calories and 14.5g of fat in each large cup. This is equivalent to ten rashers of bacon.
How to make it healthier: 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 (450mg) of calcium. Soya milk contains 50 calories more per large serving, but is still healthier than whole milk.

What is it: A mix of 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).
Verdict: Better than lattes. But, with 6.7g of arteryclogging saturated fat in a large mug, it's hardly healthy.
How to make it healthier: 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 is it: 2-3 espresso shots topped with water, and optional milk.
Calories: Small, 11; large, 23 (more with milk and sugar).
Fat: None (unless you add milk).
Verdict: Most people add milk, but to cut calories make sure it is skimmed. A few studies suggest that a high intake of caffeine promotes the leeching of calcium from bones, but the National Osteoporosis Foundation says adding milk will offset any such risk.
How to make it healthier: Avoid full-fat milk and sugar. Better still, take it black.

What is it: Coffee and water.
Calories: Single, 6; double, 11.
Verdict: If you don't add sugar (10 calories per sachet), this is the lowest-calorie coffee. Consuming more than 5-6 cups a day is not recommended by doctors or nutritionists, but a strong black coffee 1-2 hours prior to exercise has been shown to be beneficial. Substances in caffeine trigger the release of fats into the bloodstream during activity, enabling the body to use fat as its primary energy source, say researchers at the Australian Institute of Sport. You will also burn up the fat faster.
How to make it healthier: A macchiato (espresso with foamed milk) provides some calcium and not many more calories (there are only 20 in a double shot drink). But avoid caramel and other flavoured macchiatos - a large one has 390 calories and 17.4g of fat.

What is 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).
Verdict: A large cup has the calories and fat content of three hot dogs, according to the Centre for Science in the Public Interest. Worse is a large, white, hot chocolate containing a whopping 719 calories and 33.4g of fat. Be wary of fast-food chains that make hot chocolates not with milk, but with a mix of sugar and non-dairy creamer (containing the unhealthy partially hydrogenated soybean oil and more sugar).
How to make it healthier: Go for a small, no-whip, skinny hot chocolate to drop your calories to 209.

What is 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).
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, turn them into a dieter's disaster. You'd be better off with a small pizza.
How to make it healthier: Skip the whipped cream to save 94 calories (131 in a large frappuccino). Choose a small, low-fat coffee frappuccino with no cream - just 119 calories.

What is 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).
Verdict: Very fatty. This is sweetened with a massive 41g of sugar in a large cup. Things could be worse: a large white chocolate mocha with whipped cream contains 628 calories and 28.9g of fat.
How to make it healthier: Order a small skinny (skimmed milk), no-whip (without cream) dark mocha and your calorie count drops to 175.

What is it: A spiced tea mixed with whole milk and honey.
Calories: Small, 210; large, 362.
Fat: Small, 5.3g (3.3g saturated); large, 9.2g (5.7 saturated).
Verdict: Though it sounds healthier than coffee (tea has antioxidants), whole milk and honey bumps up calories and fat. A large drink is more calorific than a cheese sandwich.
How to make it healthier: Choose a milk-free iced tea (black or green) for just 80 calories and no saturated fat. A sugar-free black tea is better still. It is fat-free and rich in disease-fighting antioxidants.


Anonymous said...

In the era of the 64-oz. soda, the 1,200-calorie burger, food companies now produce enough each day for every American to consume 3,800 calories per day as compared to the 2,350 needed for survival. Not only adults but kids are also consuming far more calories than they can possibly use.

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