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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Carbohydrate Counting at Starbucks: Teens Beware

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Teens and obesity is going to be a theme this week, so while my daughters and I were frequenting Starbucks last week I made the mistake of picking up a brochure called "Nutrition by the Cup." We learned that there are 87,000 different drink combinations available at Starbucks, and as the brochure states, "choice is a big part of any healthy lifestyle."

Out of those 87,000 combination, there are only 20 choices listed in the brochure that are under 200 calories - excuse me? Yes folks, most of what my kids consider fair game at Starbucks are enough carbohydrates and calories to be complete meals - or even two meals. So, back to those drinks under 200 calories ... they include plain brewed coffee and tea, nonfat caramel macchiatos (140 calories), steamed apple juice (170 calories), nonfat iced vanilla lattes (120 calories), and a coffee frappuccino (180 calories).

But oh no, those are not the things we go to Starbucks for, we like the mocha frappuccinos, and now we know that the venti size packs in 380 calories and 78 grams of carbohydrates. For those of who who do not count carbs, that is more than a meal consisting of roasted chicken, broccoli, mashed potatoes and gravy, and homemade bread.

So, I try a healthy one - how about a venti soymilk vanilla latte - well, that gives me only 300 calories and a mere 52 grams of carbohydrates - so, with a heavy sigh, I guess I'll stick to the plain brewed coffee.

The moral of the story, is teens beware - you may be undoing healthy choices by not knowing what's in your favorite drinks. Be conscious! Be healthy!

Resources
www.mypyramid.gov
www.nationaldairycouncil.org

Photo credit: Once and Future
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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