Is Your Coffee a Milkshake or the Equivalent of a Meal?

I’m all for enjoying my food and savoring a real treat now and then, but lately I’m getting really irritated about all the hidden calories in foods that are fooling me, my family, and my clients who are working hard to live their best healthy lives.

If I’m going to indulge, I want to know that I’m doing it—and unfortunately, if we’re eating foods that others prepare for us, we won’t always know that we’ve just made a high fat or high-calorie choice.  (If you haven’t taken a look at David Kessler’s book The End of Overeating yet, you really should.)

Are you a coffee drinker? You might be getting more than you bargained for. A survey of coffee purchases published in the October issue of Preventing Chronic Disease reminds us that coffee drinks vary widely in caloric content. The average blended beverage weighs in at 239 calories—that’s 89 more calories than in a can of soda (and 17 percent of Americans drink at least one of these a day).

Those iced blended drinks that everyone is walking around with? They may contain more than 750 calories.  The survey found that in one coffee chain, eight percent of customers bought the largest size offered which contained up to 850 calories.

My recommendations?
•    Be an informed consumer.  Know what you’re drinking and make the choice and the trade off that works for you.
•    Think about portions and beware of price breaks on larger sizes. That larger size may look like a great value, but do you really need that much?  Ask yourself how much of that drink you really enjoy and savor and are aware of drinking.  You’ll probably find that a smaller size will do.
•    Think about what’s behind the coffee purchase. Is it truly filling your craving or are you using your coffee break to address another need.  If you are using the act of getting a coffee to create a break for yourself, could you find another way? If it’s a reward or a pick-me-up, might there be something more fitting?


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