Loyola Health says new Starbucks drink is bad for you

Starbucks new “trenta” iced coffee is bad for you, according to doctors at Loyola University Health System.

Here’s a news release on trenta from Loyola:

When you’re ordering the new Starbucks “trenta” iced coffee, you’re not only getting a massive drink (31 ounces) but massive calories (230 calories using whole milk and sweetener) – with the corresponding potential to pack on more than 20 extra pounds in one year.

“An extra 200 calories per day will lead to a potential weight gain of about 2 pounds per month, or potentially 21 pounds per year,” said Jessica Bartfield, MD, internal medicine and medical weight-loss specialist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of the Loyola University Health System.

According to the Starbucks Web site, a “trenta” plain iced coffee, with sweetener, has the following:

• with non-fat milk – 190 calories

• with 2% milk or soy milk – 220 calories

• with whole milk – 230 calories

A normal cup of coffee is considered to be 6 to 8 ounces, and studies have suggested that one to two cups of caffeinated coffee daily can have health benefits.

“The new ‘trenta’ will offer four to five cups of coffee in one serving and, unfortunately, the additional caffeine will not ‘burn off’ the excess calories,” Dr. Bartfield said.

“People need to recognize that drinks are not necessarily innocent ways to quench our thirst, boost our energy, or satisfy a sweet tooth,” she said. “Drinks are rather sneaky sources, usually, of empty calories – nutritionally deplete.”

Gottlieb offers a medically supervised weight-loss program involving physicians, nutritionists, exercise physiologists and behavioralists to establish positive lifestyle habits that lead to achieving a healthy weight.

“Increasing sizes of food or beverages potentially distorts our perception of portion size and makes it difficult to respond to our body’s natural cues of being hungry or thirsty or full,” said Courtney Burtscher, a clinical psychologist who runs the monthly behavior management group as part of Loyola’s weight-loss program. People will sometimes use external cues to decide when to eat and when to stop. Cues can include the following: when others are eating, when the television show they are watching goes to commercial or is over and when their portion is gone.”

According to Dr. Burtscher, factors that contribute to how much people eat may include:

• generational

“My parents taught me to clean my plate and not waste food.”

• relational

“Feelings will be hurt if I don’t finish what they made/gave me.”

• economical

“This is such a good deal – more bang for my buck.”

• convenience

“I’m in a rush and need it now.”

• emotional

“A bowl of ice cream will help me forget this terrible day.”

“Massive amounts of food and drink should not be promoted to American consumers when the majority of our population is overweight or obese,” Dr. Bartfield said.

Both doctors believe that taking personal responsibility for our health is important. “Knowing our own body and our own nutritional needs is an important part of eating healthily and of taking care of ourselves,” Dr. Burtscher said. “Self awareness decreases the possibility of using external cues such as price, size or others’ behaviors, and can lead to behavior change and successful eating habits.”

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