Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Low Down On Lattes

Ordering a really complicated drink at Starbucks is not just a status symbol, but a wise choice.

First, let me share that I chose to feature Starbucks because, believe it or not, they are one of the national pioneers for healthier choices, as defined in this press release last year: Starbucks Goes Healthy

Where do I begin. Hmmm. Let's start with sugar since this is one of my favorite topics. Starbucks no longer uses High Fructose Corn Syrup (Food Prude's rejoice!).  But a full sugar latte can still pack a lot of unwanted sugar. When ordering lattes, or any drink with syrup, ask your barista to go easy on the syrup. I feel that this is better than the sugar free option because anyone that touts 'sugar free' usually uses chemically based artificial sweeteners which are not good for anyone, and would not pass a Food Prude's standards.

Fat. It makes everything taste good but comes with serious consequensces. Good news, this one's pretty easy. Go Skim on the milk and skip the whip cream. It tastes the same and is much better for you.

And most importantly, caffeine. This one's tough. Many people feel the need for caffeine, that they couldn't function without their morning coffee, or their afternoon coke. But, in addition to being an addictive substance, caffeine has long term effects on your body that you may not be aware of. For example: "caffeine consumption is linked to elevated estrogen levels, which increases the risk of developing breast and endometrial cancers," according to Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Caffeine can also increase the body’s levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which can lead to other health consequences ranging from weight gain and moodiness to heart disease and diabetes.  In addition, increased levels of cortisol lead to stronger cravings for fat and carbohydrates, and cause the body to store fat in the abdomen. (Abdominal fat carries with it greater health risks than other types of fat.) Also, if increased cortisol levels lead to stronger cravings for caffeine-laden foods, the body goes into a cycle that leads only to worse health.

Bubble buster: Unless you can find a Sonic drink that doesn't have caffeine OR corn syrup, you're going to have to skip happy hour. Sorry.

So, a food prude recommendation: Order a complicated Latte. Something like a decaf, non-fat, caramel machiato, light syrup, hold the whip. And for an afternoon pick me up, go for Chic-fil-a's Lemonade. It has no corn syrup and no caffeine. Don't get diet, it has splenda (which has maltodextrin and fructose in it - both are high on the glycemic index).


  1. What a wonderful blog! Love this post. Yum and hooray for Starbucks!

    Thank you for following along. Come by and visit me anytime. You are always welcome!

    Blessings, ~Melissa :)

  2. Cassidy I am definitely coming back and reading more of your blog posts! I am very interested. Love your blog! I'm glad you found me so I could find yours as well.

    Thank you for your sweet encouragement and visit! It is amazing how much better I feel being healthy and eating fresh foods. Yeah!

    Have a wonderfully blessed week. ~Melissa :)


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