As you walk down the streets of Manhattan, it is clear to see that Starbucks is a hit. If you sit in a Starbucks for a few hours and watch the counter, you will see that it almost always has someone placing an order.
Calorie counts are up on both the drinks menu and in front of the food items. However, how much those calories are going to actually fill you up and keep you fueled for the next few hours is left for everyone to guess.
Starbucks is very open about their nutritional information. If you go onto their website, and in some stores where there are pamphlets on nutrition, you are able to see the full run down of protein, fats, carbohydrates, sodium, fibre and a range of other nutrients.
However they are clever in their marketing, if you have a look at the tab online for “delicious drinks under 200 calories,” you will see that they list the calories and the fat, which are all quite low given that they use non fat milk to create their drinks. If you actually then think a bit more about this, the present calories obviously must be coming from somewhere, but where could this be?
If the drinks were predominantly made of skim milk, you could expect to see a nice ratio of protein to low glycaemic (long lasting energy release) carbohydrates, that would help you feel full for some time. However, given that many of the summer style drinks contain minimal milk, and most are predominantly ice, it leaves the obvious answer, the calories must be coming from a syrup.
Looking at the page filled with all the nutritional information for their range of drinks, you can see that many of the lower calorie frappuccino style drinks still contain around 30g of sugar. Now that is the equivalent of over 7 teaspoons of sugar, with the average American intake being advised to be at no more than 38gms. That is almost 80% of the recommended maximum intake of sugar for your day in just one drink.
These calories can be called “empty calories,” meaning they will do little to fill you up or provide you with beneficial nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
So next time you stop for a drink, why not think about what your actual goal is. If you are thirsty, grab some ice cold water instead, this will actually hydrate you. If you are stopping because you are hungry, grab some real food. Manhattan has everything at your dispence, you just have to choose it.
If you have found some hidden gems that are refreshing, low calorie, and not packed with added sugar, please share your insights with the other readers.