Diabetes Self-Management Blog

August is upon us — the height of the “dog days of summer.” I don’t know about you, but I feel like we haven’t had much of a summer here in the Northeast. With all of our rainy, damp weather lately, I’m thinking this is more like the Pacific Northwest. But be that as it may, it’s still summer.

Rain or shine, something I’ve noticed more and more these days, particularly as I commute to work, are the overly large drink containers (buckets?) that people carry around, especially in the morning. Usually they’re filled with some kind of iced coffee (probably a Coffee Coolatta) from Dunkin’ Donuts, but sometimes they’re from Starbucks instead. It has me wondering how many calories and how much carbohydrate (never mind caffeine!) people slurp up through the straw each morning. So this week, I thought I’d start taking a closer look at some of the summertime beverages that people reach for when they’re parched and some possible alternatives to help cut down on the calories, carbohydrate, and in some cases, fat.

Iced Coffee
True iced coffee is just brewed coffee served cold. Some people brew their coffee and chill it, while others cold-brew their coffee to lessen the bitterness. Some folks add milk, cream, and/or some kind of sweetener, while others drink it straight. Let’s compare two popular versions of iced coffee:

Dunkin’ Donuts
Medium (24-ounce) Iced Coffee: 15 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat

Starbucks
Venti (24-ounce) Iced Brewed Coffee: 130 calories, 31 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat

Why the high calorie and carbohydrate content in the Starbucks? To look at the picture on the Starbucks Web site, one would think it’s simply coffee, but Starbucks describes this beverage as “slightly sweetened.” In fact, sipping this is the equivalent of eating two slices of bread or a medium banana, carbohydrate-wise.

The winner: Dunkin’ Donuts.

Alternative: Make up a pitcher of your own iced coffee with your favorite coffee blend. To cut back on the caffeine, make it with a decaffeinated variety or drink a smaller serving.

Frozen Cappuccino
Frozen cappuccino drinks have become a popular beverage, combining coffee with a frothy, milkshake-type base. All ages enjoy this frozen, sweetened drink. Again, let’s compare two popular versions of this frozen concoction:

Dunkin’ Donuts
Medium (24-ounce) Frozen Cappuccino with skim milk: 410 calories, 93 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat

Starbucks
Venti (24-ounce) Caffé Vanilla Frappuccino Light Blended Coffee: 280 calories, 59 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fat

Surprised? I am. Even a small (16-ounce) Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Cappuccino with skim milk has almost 300 calories. For some reason, I thought the Starbucks version would have been a lot higher in calories and carbohydrate.

Nonetheless, neither of these is a smart choice. And for a lot of people, it’s not unusual to grab one of these drinks on a daily basis. Imagine the impact on your weight and your blood glucose if one of these beverages were to become part of your daily meal plan!

The winner: Starbucks. You can cut calories and carbohydrate further by choosing the Tall size, which contains 140 calories and 30 grams of carbohydrate. However, my advice is to save these frozen drinks for the occasional treat.

OK, one more comparison: Vanilla bean frozen cappuccino/frappuccino.

Dunkin’ Donuts
Medium (24-ounce) Vanilla Bean Coolatta: 650 calories, 136 grams of carbohydrate, 9 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat

Starbucks
Venti (24-ounce) Vanilla Bean Frappuccino Blended Crème: 600 calories, 103 grams of carbohydrate, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat

There’s really no winner here. The calories alone constitute one-quarter to one-half of some people’s daily calorie goals. And if you’re on a lower-carbohydrate eating plan, forget it. The carbohydrate content in both of these drinks is far more than what most people with diabetes consume at one meal.

The other concern is the fat content, and particularly the saturated fat content. Both of these beverages could be considered artery-cloggers. Think of it this way — you’re consuming the equivalent of 2–3 pats of butter when you gulp these down!

The winner: Tied. (But neither is recommended.)

A final note: The World Cancer Research Fund surveyed a number of iced coffee drinks from various chains and concluded that, due to their high calorie content, these types of drinks are a big culprit in contributing to overweight and obesity. These conditions can, in turn, increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

More next week!

POST A COMMENT       
  

Summertime Thirst Quenchers: More Than You Bargained For (Part 1)
Summertime Thirst Quenchers: More Than You Bargained For (Part 2)


Comments
  1. Starbuck’s ads their “classic syrup” to the ice coffee. I order mine unsweetened, then I add splenda.

    Posted by airborne mom |
  2. You can order decafinnated iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I believe that is even healthier.

    Posted by Tom |
  3. My favorite cooler summer or winter when I get tired of coffee (always black) is instant Nestea Raspberry Tea mix. Its sugarless but satisfies both the thirst and the sweets craving. It also comes in peach and lemon flavors as well as plain.

    Posted by Edna G |

Post a Comment

Note: All comments are moderated and there may be a delay in the publication of your comment. Please be on-topic and appropriate. Do not disclose personal information. Be respectful of other posters. Only post information that is correct and true to your knowledge. When referencing information that is not based on personal experience, please provide links to your sources. All commenters are considered to be nonmedical professionals unless explicitly stated otherwise. Promotion of your own or someone else's business or competing site is not allowed: Sharing links to sites that are relevant to the topic at hand is permitted, but advertising is not. Once submitted, comments cannot be modified or deleted by their authors. Comments that don't follow the guidelines above may be deleted without warning. Such actions are at the sole discretion of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. Comments are moderated Monday through Friday by the editors of DiabetesSelfManagement.com. The moderators are employees of Madavor Media, LLC., and do not report any conflicts of interest. A privacy policy setting forth our policies regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of certain information relating to you and your use of this Web site can be found here. For more information, please read our Terms and Conditions.


Nutrition & Meal Planning
Novel Method of Testing for Sucrose in Foods (09/19/14)
Test Your Nutrition Knowledge With Our Interactive Quiz! (09/15/14)
Brain Training: How You Can Learn to Like Healthy Foods (09/08/14)
Low-Carb Diet Benefits Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Health, Studies Show (09/03/14)

 

 

Disclaimer of Medical Advice: You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs. The opinions and other information contained in the blog posts and comments do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Site Proprietor.