Nutrition Weight Management

Keep Your Fall Drinks in Check

October 17, 2017

Keep Your Fall Drinks in Check

As the fall season rolls in, it brings relief from the sweltering heat and a season full of beautiful colors and fanciful flavors. From cinnamon and pumpkin, to sea salt and caramel, coffee shops around the country have our mouths watering. However, if you’re not careful, these delicious drinks will have you packing on the layers, and I’m not talking about your favorite fall jacket.

Listed below are some popular seasonal drinks and what you’ll find in each:

  • Starbucks 16 oz Salted Caramel Mocha- 470 calories, 16 grams fat, 59 grams sugar
  • Starbucks 16 oz Pumpkin Spice Latte- 380 calories, 14 grams fat, 50 grams sugar
  • Scooters 16 oz Turtle Latte- 245 calories, 7 grams fat, 30 grams sugar
  • Scooters 16 oz Pumpkin Carmelicious- 241 calories, 5 grams fat, 36 grams sugar

The drinks above have varying amounts of calories and fat, but they all have one thing in common: a lot of added sugar. The USDA dietary guidelines recommend that individuals consume less than 10% of calories from added sugars. This stems from the fact that added sugars contribute extra calories to the diet that have no nutrient value. In the list above, more than half of the calories in each drink are derived from added sugars. To put things in perspective, if you follow a 2000-calorie diet, 50 grams of added sugar from one drink would be 10% of your calories for the day. In turn, those extra calories can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and could end up affecting your heart health.

However, this doesn’t mean you need to cut fall drinks out of your seasonal celebration! You can still make healthy choices and enjoy your favorite fall flavors. First, start small. Choose the smallest size available so you get the delicious flavor you want with less calories and sugar. Second, choose the right dairy product. Most coffee drinks are made with whole milk, which can increase the calorie and fat content of your drink. Instead, choose fat-free milk, almond milk, or soy milk.

Lastly, be on sugar patrol. Most coffee shops use sugary syrups as their main source of flavor, so instead of 4-6 pumps in your cup, ask for 1-2.

Enjoy this season in a healthy way by taking control of your choices and your health.

Mary Cate Eklund, RD, LDN, LMNT

Mary Cate is a clinical dietitian at CHI Health Lakeside. Her love of food and nutrition stems from many years of playing sports and growing up in a family that loves to cook. Her goal is to help people learn that nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated and that it should be an enjoyable part of our lives.

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