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weight loss

Are we caramel macchiatoing our way into obesity?

Mocha Coconut Frappuccino, grande (whole milk with whipping cream): 410 calories

The latest obesity stats are out – a staggering 31% of adult Americans are overweight and 25% are pre-diabetic (meaning unless they lose some weight, are almost certain to develop type 2 diabetes within the next 10 years).

This is a calories in and calories out thing folks. We eat a lot of food in this country. A lot of unhealthy food. We are also fairly inactive having given up the bipedal lifestyle for sitting all day in cars, at work, and worst of all, in front of the TV.

When it comes to unhealthy calories, a lof of people slag on fast food. And you know, I’m not going to defend McDonalds, but we don’t get obese eating one bad meal now and then, it’s the daily over consumption of excess calories that does the job.

Many of my patients lament that they can’t lose weight. It’s hard (I just lost 25 lbs, I know!), but it’s constant vigilance. So when I hit my most recent weight loss plateau, I decided to take a second look at my food diary (an essential tool for weight loss). I have a grande or venti latte every day. Skim milk of course, but that’s 130-170 calories. And while skim milk is good (protein and no fat), I’m not having the latte because I’m hungry, it’s because I want the caffeine and a treat.

And I think that is how a lot of us view Starbucks. A little treat. It’s just coffee, right? But most people don’t get coffee and the calorie content of many of those lovely sounding drinks is far worse than a lot of people think. Take a grande caramel macchiato made with 2% milk (low fat) – it has 240 calories. A McDonald’s hamburger has 250! There are drinks at Starbucks that can top out at well over 400 calories if you add whipped cream, extra caramel, or what ever other tasty lovely that seems to be the flavor of the month.

And so I decided to dump the latte. It is sad, but I swapped it for a venti coffee with skim milk (about 30 calories given the amount of milk I use). I still get the caffeine and a little walk at lunch, but it saves me 100-130 calories a day). On the weekend, I make coffee at home and use almond milk (even less calories and a lovely, nutty taste!).

And so I wonder what would happen if everyone gave up their frou-frou, admittedly lovely, but laden in calorie Starbuck’s exotic sounding concoction and swapped it for coffee with skim milk, how much weight would we lose?

Because people, Starbuck’s is just a modern ice cream shop for adults. And while they may not have trans fats, they have calories. And lots of them. And the sooner we all realize that, the better.


One thought on “Are we caramel macchiatoing our way into obesity?

  1. The first change I made when I lost what turned out to be 40 pounds was eliminating all milk and sugar from my coffee. Black. Straight up. Extra ice. It’s cheaper too!

    Nice to meet you, fellow friend of Our Enemy of All Things Infectious. Looking forward to catching up on your blog.


    Posted by aprilpublichealth | August 27, 2011, 1:01 am

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