Is your Coffee Giving You A Muffin Top?

Coffee cup and muffin top


The holiday season is here and in many parts of the world the weather is getting pretty crisp, if not downright cold. It’s time for some holiday coffee and it can be pretty tough to resist some of the irresistibly named hot and flavorful drinks that Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have to offer.

Winter drinks are nothing new. Eggnog and mulled wine go back centuries and in the Middle Ages and Renaissance eating warming spices during the chilly fall and winter was thought to be a healthy thing to do.

Winter drinks are enormously popular. Since it was introduced in 2003, Starbucks has sold some 200 million cups of its pumpkin spice latte.  Food and beverage insiders feel the “Starbucks pumpkin spice phenomenon” is behind the surge in new winter coffee temptations.

Chestnut Praline Latte

Starbucks’ Chestnut Praline Latte, its first new holiday beverage in five years, made its debut across the U.S. and Canada on Nov. 12, 2014. The new beverage is “inspired by the time-honored holiday tradition of warm roasted chestnuts… with freshly steamed milk and flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices.”

The original version, which comes topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of crunchy praline crumbs, can also be customized. A grande (16 ounce) Chestnut Praline Latte made with 2% milk, clocks in at 330 calories, 13g fat, 42g carbs, 12g protein.

Here’s what’s in it:  Espresso, steamed milk, and flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices. Topped with whipped cream and spiced praline crumbs.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

Or, head on over to Dunkin’ donuts for a medium Pumpkin Crème Brulee which clocks in at 350 calories, 9g fat, 54 carbs, 11g protein.

Here’s what’s in it:  Milk; Brewed Espresso Coffee; Pumpkin Spice Flavored Syrup: Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Brown Sugar (Sugar, Molasses), Caramel Color, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Mono and Diglycerides, Disodium Phosphate, Salt; French Vanilla Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Salt; Caramel Flavored Swirl Syrup: Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Water, Brown Sugar, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavor, Salt.

Coffee Drinks

Flavorful as they might be, can your favorite coffee be the equivalent of the calories in a muffin – or your lunch — for that matter?

Here’s some more nutritional information for some Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffee drinks:

 How About Some Plain Coffee?

If you want something hot you could just have plain black coffee for a bargain basement 5 calories.  The trick is controlling the extras to avoid making your coffee just another sneaky calorie bomb.

  • Brewed coffee, grande (16 oz), black:  5 calories
  • Heavy cream, 1tbs:  52 calories
  • Half-and-half, 1 tbs:  20 calories
  • Whole milk, 1 tbs:  9 calories
  • Fat-free milk. 5 calories
  • Table sugar, 1tbs:  49 calories

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