Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hidden Calories: Blame it on the Drinks

If you are looking for "easy" calories to cut from your diet, look no further than what's in your drink.

That cup or glass or mug could cost you a few hundred calories a day.

At Starbucks, a medium Frappucino is 310 calories, even with nonfat milk. (I know they're called "grande," but I'm easily confused, so I stick with generic size calculations.) A medium Dulce de Leche Latte is 470 calories before you top it with whipped cream.

If you go cold in the morning, this will chill you: a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola is 250 calories. Whatever size of your container, it's 100 calories per 8 ounces of beverage. For Fanta and Mello Yello, make that 120 calories per 8 ounces. Cans usually are 12 ounces and bottles are at least 20 ounces. (I'll leave the Big Gulp and Super Big Gulp calculations to you braver souls.) Read the nutrition labels one of these days and do the math.

In contrast:
  • Brewed tea is about 2 calories per cup (8 ounces).
  • Drip coffee is about 9 calories per cup (8 ounces).
  • Sugar is 16 calories per teaspoon.
  • Low-fat milk (2 percent, not the blue water!) is about 15 calories per ounce.

Choose how many calories you want to save in any given meal by choosing your poison, so to speak. Or treat your beverage like a meal (though I bet you'd be inclined to grab a snack later and defeat your calorie-saving efforts).

While lightening your waistline, you could fatten your wallet: at $5 every weekday, your coffee could cost as much as $1,300 per year. And that's for just one large latte (venti to you Starbucks geeks). A single bottle of soda every weekday could cost you nearly $400 a year.

Sure, purchasing from the grocery in bulk could save you money, but not as much as you think it might. A 4-pack of Frappucino or Latte is $6, and a 6-pack of 20-ounce bottles of Coke cost $4.29. (Go ahead, check — I'll wait.)

Do you really want to spend the calories and cash?

— Chris

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