Ever had the coffee counter panic? It happens when you get to the front of the line at a coffee shop unsure of what you want to order but nervous about the accumulated crowd foot-tapping impatiently behind you, so you order the first drink you see and hope for the best.
Chances are, if you ordered something with any combination of the words “mocha,” “caramel,” “iced,” or “latte” in the title, you’re about to consume more liquid calories than you would if you’d asked for a cheeseburger.
Mary Poppins once sang, “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.” Lately, that line seems to be the marketing philosophy for pushing coffee as well. Except instead of a spoonful, chain coffee shops and fast food restaurants are adding mountains of sugar to relatively healthy coffee in order to make the traditional morning cup of Joe into an anytime dessert.
This candification of coffee is starting show in our waistlines. As Americans spend billions on diets every year, we sometimes forget that maintaining or losing weight means watching what we drink just as carefully as what we eat. At many coffee shops, whole milk is the standard latte mixer instead of less caloric skim or soy, and given the fact that there are about eighteen ounces of milk in a large espresso drink, those calories start to add up even before you factor in sugar-laden add-ons such as whipped cream and caramel drizzle.
So what do we do to avoid these sugar dense calorie traps? Well, going back to plain coffee except on special occasions is one solution. But what about those of us who hate the bitter taste of coffee no matter how much artificial sweetener we add? The best defense is a good offense. Check menus and know how many calories drinks have before you order. Request lower fat milk and sugar free syrups, and ask yourself how much coffee you really need. Most of the time, a small or medium is probably enough. And in anticipation of your next coffee counter panic, read through our list of the most calorie packed drinks in America to avoid a whipped cream caramel whole milk diet landmine.
Dunkin Donuts: Flavored Iced Coffee
A regular large iced coffee is just 20 calories, but if you’re watching your weight, you may want to skip the flavoring. No matter which flavor you choose, from butter pecan to Irish crème swirl, you’re going to add around 200 calories to your drink.
Dunkin Donuts: Dunkaccino
Cappuccino is traditionally made with espresso and steamed milk, topped with milk foam. Sounds harmless enough. But a large Dunkaccino is made with a mix of coffee, hot chocolate, and milk. It has 490 calories before they even add the whipped cream.