Would You Like a Muffin Top With that Coffee?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The mid-afternoon coffee break. For some, it's enjoyment. For others, it's a necessity in order to function until the end of the day. A plain cup of coffee or tea won't break the bank when it comes to calories (less than 10 calories per cup). But the more "fancy" your order becomes, the faster the calories and fat can skyrocket. A recent study looked at what kinds of drinks people opt for during their afternoon visit to the local Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts.

Researchers from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stood outside of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts between 2 and 4 p.m., asking patrons for details about their orders as they exited the stores. The results were published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

According to the study, "Approximately two-thirds of purchases at Starbucks and one-fourth of purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts were blended coffee beverages." The average blended coffee contained 239 calories per serving, which ends up being about 12% of a 2,000-calorie diet. Both stores have a wide range of options, depending on your preference and calorie budget. But there are some drinks you probably want to avoid altogether. For example, Starbucks Strawberries and Crème Frappachino Blended Crème (the large size with whipped cream) has 580 calories per serving, and Dunkin' Donuts large Vanilla Bean Coolata has a whopping 860 calories per serving.

So if you're dying for a pick-me-up but don't take your coffee black, what can you do? A few easy ways to save fat and calories would be to get the small size and/or opt for non-fat instead of whole milk. Also check out the nutritional info of your favorite drink before you order, since many places have it available in the store. Then you can decide whether you'd rather drink your calories, or save them for a scoop of ice cream later on. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I'd definitely opt for the dessert.

What do you think?