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Holiday Coffee Drinks - What Would Santa Do?

December 10, 2010

They are a veritable parade of beauty. Each is decked out in holiday best. Not a detail has been overlooked in an effort to entice. Come on – it’s only once a year.

Are you going to fall for it? Will you succumb to the enticing aroma and sweet decadence of the coffee house holiday drink? After all, how often can you indulge in a chocolaty, creamy, candy laden, hot drink that promises comforting memories of childhood hot chocolate sipped before the fire as the snow piles up outside? Even if it wasn’t a memory, we all have memories of seeing the images and imagining ourselves in such scenes.

Think twice before succumbing this year. The Daily Beast did the work of evaluating twenty of the “unhealthiest” drinks from national chains that serve coffee. While most of the offerings contained coffee, some were just hot chocolate and a few were cold drinks such as milkshakes. Drinks with decorations and add-ons were chosen, festooned with such delights as whipped cream, cookie bits, chocolate in melted or hard forms, and candy pieces. Flavored syrups usually played a part.

Most of the drinks were close to a huge 20 ounces. The highest in calories were Dairy Queen’s pumpkin pie blizzard (1050 calories) and Sonic’s Spiced Sugar Cookie Blast (1256 calories). Most of the drinks were closer to the 600’s in caloric content. Fat grams varied widely, from a low of 11 to a high of 49. Sugar figured in from a heavy dose of 141 grams to a low of 29 grams. For some people, these amount to more than half a day’s calories. Are they worth skipping one or two meals for?

That’s not really the question for serious health-conscious consumers. The question is what are we really taking on when enjoying one of these confections? Most of them contain way too much sugar and fat, yet there are no real nutrients to balance out this pair of diet spoilers. Talk about high energy drinks - with this much sugar, and with the coffee in some of the items, there may be a period of high energy, but at what price?

Enjoy the holidays. Just be aware of what goes in your mouth. Plan for the high sugar indulgence by eating some high protein items during the day. Schedule your workout around the celebrations. It’s not just a coincidence that the Christmas holiday motifs include well-rounded characters: Santa, Frosty, pudgy gingerbread men…..do they indulge in holiday drinks? Just remember: if these confections are enjoyed too often, you may be one of the many whose New Year’s resolutions include weight-loss diets.



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