Thursday, May 13, 2010

Soapbox Wednesdays: Caffeinated Calorie Bombs

It's that time of year again--hold that thought, it's the middle of May and its grey and 66 effin degrees outside! It's supposed to that time of the year where 70+ temps, sunshine, and iced coffee drinks are the now part of your daily routine, wtf man?!  Inevitably, the sunshine will show its face and when it does, I imagine there will be dancing in the streets, inappropriate sunbathing, and the guzzling of ice cold drinks by the gallon. If I were a betting woman, [which I'm not because I don't believe in the concept of me surrendering cash without a guarantee of receiving shoes, food, or booze in return] I would put my money on 99% of those beverages NOT being water. And if you know me well, you know how I feel about that. And if you don't know me well, I'll say it for you now, that I LOVE water, and you should drink more water, because it nourishes your insides! But I'm also no fool, summer is just 'round the bend, and everyone deserves to enjoy a cold non-water beverage every now and then. Just be wary of potential calorie bombs when you do indulge in those ice cold drinks, your waistline may spite you if you don't.

*on my soapbox now*

We've all done it. We've strolled into Starbucks on Dunkin' Donuts on a hot day, and ordered a grande Iced Caramel Machiatto with EXTRA Caramel. OK, maybe you didn't get extra caramel [don't judge me!] I don't count my daily calorie intake, but that doesn't mean I'm OK with drinking 230 calories, 6g fat, and 30g sugar in just 16 oz of "coffee". I need to save my liquid calories for beer and martinis! [I'm being very serious]. That medium Iced Mocha Spice Latte from DD is no better. First off, a medium is 24 oz, and it packs in 330 calories, 9g fat, and 48g really, DD?! What really sucks is that I'm pretty sure the calorie count for my favorite pastime only includes 1/100 of the amount of caramel they really give you, not including my inner fat girl asking for extra caramel.

Don't get me started on those blended coffee drinks! Whipped cream is damn near irresistible, add it to the top of  blended milk, ice, and espresso and drizzle it with caramel (or chocolate) sauce, and what you have is a recipe for disaster [or diabetes]. I just love the Caramel Frappachino [yes, caramel again, don't judge me!], but apparently it doesn't love me! A 16oz grande nets 390 calories, 15g fat, and 59g sugar. [saying that out loud just broke my caramel loving heart!] But the reality for you DD fans makes me feel a little bit better. A 24oz "medium" Vanilla Bean Coolata packs a heart stopping 650 calories, 9g fat, and 129g sugar! Can you say it with me now, "GOTDAMN!"

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There are a lot of liquid calorie bombs out there, and I prefer to eat my calories rather than drink them.

So what's a caffeine junkie to do on a hot day? First and foremost, if it looks like dessert, its topped like dessert, or can its so thick you can eat it with a spoon, just avoid it (or prepare to avoid dessert for the rest of the summer).
Stick with a plain ol' iced coffee or espresso with milk.  Jazz it up with 1-2 pumps (no more than 2 pumps!) of your favorite flavored syrup [like caramel] in place of sugar.  Tell the barista to go easy on the sugar/syrup and milk. For all you DD lovers, its in your best interest to just add sugar and milk yourself--Lawd knows they are heavy handed as a mug in DD.

My personal favorite and go-to iced drink is a grande Starbucks Double Shot on Ice, with 2 pumps of syrup, easy on the milk!  Its an espresso based drink, so I can get my caffeine fix, and I keep it light on the milk because milk doesn't like my stomach! And its a guilt free indulgence. Its not officially on the menu anymore, [they still make it if you ask for it] so I don't have an exact calorie count on it, but it less than 130 calories, less than 4g fat, and less than 10g sugar. You just can't beat that!

For you DD folks [I'll still be your friend in spite of you having bad taste in coffee, lol] a 16oz "small" iced coffee with cream and sugar has 90 calories, 1g fat, and 19g sugar.  Not too shabby.

Merry Soapbox Wednesday!


  1. You're telling me! I use to inhale a medium mocha iced latte (with regular milk) and whipped cream almost everyday! Since starting WW, I've become *painfully* aware of how many calories these caffeine drinks contain. So, I've limited my intake to a small coffee flavored frappucino light every few days. I think it's less than 100 calories, and it can pass for a real sugary calorie bomb :)

  2. Fortunately I don't enjoy iced coffee drinks, but I'll admit I love a nice peppermint mocha twist from Starbucks around Christmas. But since it's like $5, I only drink 2-3 per year.

    I will admit that I love fresh lemonade and mango smoothies, but again, they are treats.

    Will someone please tell me why I drink water, walk every day, and don't overdo it on dessert and I'm still *overweight*. I don't think I was blessed with a high metabolism. :(

  3. maddy, awesome that you made that change! in grad school, i drank those caramel macchiattos almost everyday--i also weighed 134 lbs in grad school, go figure! i've just decided to get my sugar elsewhere, and stick with the doubleshot at starbucks. and i still limit my intake, but mostly for budget reasons :)

    keeley, if my formal education has taught me anything, its that when it comes to weight, its not always as simple as calories burned v. calories in. Metabolism and weight are very complex processes, with many influencing factors from hormones, to genetics, to behaviors. Some people have to work so much harder at losing weight or maintaing a "normal/healthy" weight, so I empathize with your frustration. I know you said you were looking to trim down some, so maybe you could start by keeping a food and activity diary for a week, to first understand what your baseline of intake and activity is. You may need to make some changes, i know from personal experience and from two of my girlfriend's experiences, that a reduction (not elimination--just reduction) in meat consumption had a significant impact on weight. and you may need to up the ante on your physical activity--brisk walking, weight lifting, bike riding--something that's physical and fun. you could also ask your doctor, a registered dietician, nr exercise physiologist. and you're better than me with limiting your peppermint mocha's at starbucks during the holiday, cuz i def drink more than 3 a year!



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