Gourmet coffee talk: What's their calorie and fat content?

Originally Published: December 20, 2002 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: July 2, 2008
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Alice,

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

  • White Chocolate Mocha
  • Iced Caramel Machiato
  • Coffee Frappaccino
  • Caramel Frappaccino

"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 not-so-innocent 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 sipping over 1,000 calories in that "little" snack set.

Where are these calories coming from? Many coffee drinks — both hot and cold — 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, New York City implemented a regulation in 2008 that requires all chain restaurants in the city to post calorie information on their menu boards. Although, the calorie content should easily be visible, percent fat and other nutritional information is not included.

If you're counting calories, your best bet when frequenting your favorite coffee bar: request skim milk or soy milk, rather than whole. Also skip the whipped cream or ask for "no whip" (it adds at least 100 calories, and most of its fat is the unhealthy 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 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