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Consumer Reports: High-calorie holiday coffee drinks

Posted at 8:38 AM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 08:48:05-05

If you’re tempted by those specialty holiday coffee drinks but sick of fighting holiday pounds, here is some good news.

Consumer Reports’ nutrition experts have come up with some easy ways to customize your drink so it doesn’t pack as big a punch in fat and sugar.

McDonald’s Peppermint Mocha, looks yummy but 16 ounces has more than 400 calories, with 8 grams of saturated fat and 13 teaspoons of sugars.

Starbucks Gingerbread Frappuccino blended beverage isn’t any better. With whipped cream and whole milk, 16 ounces has 370 calories which includes 15 teaspoons of sugars and 9 grams of saturated fat.

Consumer Reports checked out 11 seasonal coffee drinks from 6 different chains.

“Holiday coffee drinks are a surprising source of saturated-fat. In the ones we looked at, the saturated fat content ranged from about 22-percent to nearly 100-percent of the saturated fat that you should have in an entire day.” said Calvo.

But don’t despair. Simply ordering a smaller size and substituting skim milk takes a huge bite out of the fat and sugar content of all the holiday drinks Consumer Reports analyzed.

For instance, choosing the smaller skim Starbucks’ Gingerbread Frappuccino saves you 110 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 3 and ½ teaspoons of sugars.

Choosing the smaller skim Dunkin Donuts Salted Caramel Swirl Hot Latte saves you 170 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, and about 4 teaspoons of sugars.

“No matter where you get your drink one great way to cut fat and calories is just simply skip the whipped cream.” said Calvo.

With the Starbucks Gingerbread Frappuccino Blended beverage, even with whole milk, you’ll knock 100 calories off the medium size and bring the saturated fat down to a reasonable level of 7-percent of what’s recommended you consume every day.

Another tip – Reduce or switch the syrup that flavors the drinks – Some franchises do offer artificially sweetened syrups, which will cut down significantly on the calories in the drink.