Alice,

How many calories and what percent fat are in these Starbucks items (considering they're all "venti" sizes)?:

  • White Chocolate Mocha
  • Iced Caramel Macchiato
  • Coffee Frappuccino
  • Caramel Frappuccino

"Thanks"! :)
Wacko

Dear Wacko,

If you're feeling a little wacko, or verklempt, from all the extras in today's coffee beverages and other specialty hot drinks, you're not the only one. Besides the caffeine, you may feel a lift from the added sugar; some drinks have up to twelve teaspoons worth. Everybody needs a treat or pick-me-up sometimes.  However, if you're concerned about your calorie intake, take note: these drinks often have two to three times the amount of calories and fat of a candy bar. If you add a scone or other pastry... you could be consuming over 1,000 calories in that "little" snack set.

Where are these calories coming from? Many coffee drinks — both hot and cold — typically contain whole milk, sugar, flavoring syrups, and sometimes whipped cream. The drinks you mention above contain anywhere from 250 to 600 calories — for the grande (medium) size. Make it a venti or the largest size available, and the numbers rise even more. To help consumers understand what they're drinking (and eating), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a statute that requires all chain restaurants that a) have 20 or more locations, b) offer nearly all the same food items for sale, and c) do business under the same name to list nutrition information on their menus and menu boards. As you can guess, Starbucks falls into these categories. Although other information, such as fat content, sodium, sugars, and total carbohydrates may not be visible on the menus, they are expected (per the statute) to be available in writing at the customer’s request at these establishments.  

If you're concerned about calories, your best bet when frequenting your favorite coffee bar: request skim milk or non-dairy milk (such as soy, coconut, or almond milk), rather than whole. Also, skip the whipped cream or ask for "no whip." The fluffy stuff on top adds at least 100 calories and most of its fat is the saturated kind. Instead of the flavored syrups, try the sugar-free options or try sprinkling cinnamon or vanilla flavoring (which may have some sugar, but you'll add less of it than with the syrup). For people who can't give up the sweet taste, you can add the sugar yourself (each packet contains about 16 calories), or you can use a low-calorie or non-caloric sugar substitute. Of course, if you can't bring yourself to drink the bare-bones coffee, and feel you've got to have the fully-loaded deluxe model, you can go for the smallest size... and skip the pastry. After all, the beverage really doubles as dessert.

Alice!

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