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 with 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:
Trenta (31 ounces iced coffee) with non-fat milk – 190 calories
Trenta (31 ounces iced coffee) with 2% milk or soy milk – 220 calories
Trenta (31 ounces iced coffee) 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,” continued Dr. Bartfield.

“People need to recognize that 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 Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System, 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 for a lifetime.

“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, 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, contributing factors to determining 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
“Extreme moods may increase the chances for emotional eating.”

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

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,” said Dr. Burtscher. “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.”

Source: Loyola University Health System