BIg, Iced Coffee Drinks All Around?

As the weather gets warmer, many coffee lovers start turning toward those luscious, yummy, icy coffee drinks that every coffee shop offers.  You know, the really pretty drinks that are served in the clear plastic cups so you can see all that icy goodness as it piles in there.  And then, each cup is decorated with light, fluffy white whipped cream.  It's so fun to watch the barista try and squeeze the dome shaped lid on top of the mountain of yum.  I know, because I drop by every once in awhile for a special coffee treat myself.  Yes, I am a true coffee lover like many of you.  However, after doing quite a bit of observing lately, I really need to get a little info out there:


It's true.  A Starbucks favorite, the grande White Chocolate Frappuccino blended coffee drink weighs in at a big 610 calories and 17 grams of fat. OUCH!  That's with the mounds of whipping cream piled on top.  The vente size (largest) packs on 760 calories.  Think!  If the average person needs around 2300 calories each day,  and 610 of those are coming from fat and sugar in  morning coffee, what's left for the healthy foods? How quickly will you overeat on the day you drink one of these?

I did a little very unscientific research.  I called 2 different area chain coffee shops:  Biggby and Starbucks.  Both gave me the information: most people get the grande size and when ordering the cold drinks and all top them off with whipped cream.  Whipped cream adds 130 calories and 11 grams of fat on top of one drink at Starbucks.  If you simply ate those as extra calories--over what your body needed in a day--you would gain 13.5 pounds in a year.  I also observed very few people at ideal weights in the coffee shops who were buying the "foo-foo" drinks.  Coincidence?  Hmm...

There are lighter choices. We just have to learn what to order when we get there:

  • NO WHIP. Period.  Imagine the whipped cream being injected straight into a roll of tummy fat or around your heart...Ugh!!  Save this for a rare treat.
  • Smaller-Size Me!  Do you really need a venti size beverage with 760 calories in it? Studies have shown that when we drink our calories, we seem to consume more than if we ate them.  
  • Non-fat milk or light. Starbucks light mocha Frappucccino costs only 140 calories if you hold the whip. Asking for the light and then adding whip cream....well, it saves some, calories, but is just wrong on too many levels.  Biggby offers sugar-free flavors for their Big Chills.  A 16 oz. hazelnut Big Chill comes in at 137 calories (no whip!)
  • Latte over ice.  You can just choose to have a non-fat latte over ice, assuring you a serving of good healthy milk with your shot of espresso.  Sugar-free syrups can sweeten with even fewer calories.
What do I like to order? It's strange, but no matter what the temperature is, I still like my coffee hot!  My coffee special treat is a skinny-skinny hazelnut or vanilla latte, extra hot.  I was taught years ago that skinny means skim milk, and the second skinny means with a sugar-free syrup.  Recently in the St. Louis airport Starbucks, I was told I only needed to say one skinny to get non-fat and sugar free.  Guess I need to update my coffee lingo!

Moral of today's story?  On your quest toward a healthy you, be sure to watch your coffee drinks!

To your health, Cheers!