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Bringing Awareness to Holiday Coffee Traditions

Dec 09, 2016

H

olding a gourmet coffee in your hand has become a fashion accessory. It’s fascinating to me how many fashion bloggers and Instagram posts have a popular green and white icon in their photos. The arrival of the Pumpkin Spice Latte for fall is when everyone knows it is officially fall; they just call it “PSL” now. When the holiday cups come in, then you know it’s time to get ready for the holidays. 

Are our patients fully aware of the carbohydrate impact of these trendy caloric loads? Sure, I love a good quality coffee from time to time, but my concern is that it is so acceptable to order a grande Chestnut Praline Latte that our patients may not think anything about the 42 grams of carbohydrates and 330 calories. The popular White Chocolate Mocha in Venti (20oz) size has 75 grams of sugar, which is over 18 teaspoons of sugar!

I think it is important when reviewing food diaries and food recalls to ask patients what type of coffee they drink and how often they buy their coffee out at a restaurant. They may tell you they just have a cup at home in the morning, but three times a week they are going for the sugary drinks. Start by having the conversation and discussing their favorite beverage. If they order from the app or you have the app, you can pull it up and show them how everything can be customized. If you really love the Peppermint Mocha flavor, there are ways to decrease the carbohydrates.


I love a good quality coffee from time to time, but my concern is that it is so acceptable to order a grande Chestnut Praline Latte that our patients may not think anything about the 42 grams of carbohydrates and 330 calories.


The Starbucks website has an article on lightening up your holiday beverages.

Consider these tips to decrease carbohydrates and calories from your favorite beverages:

  • Order fewer pumps of syrups. It’s really easy to see from the app how many pumps of each type of syrup are in your drink. You can toggle to just one pump and still have a little flavor in there.
  • Switch to the sugar-free syrups. Most flavors have a sugar-free version
  • Ask for no whip cream
  • Stick to the basics. Just order a simple black coffee, latte, or cappuccino without sweetener. 

Discuss with your patients some of their holiday traditions and how to make them healthier- including their holiday coffee! Cheers! 


Amy Campbell

About the Author

Amy Campbell is a dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She currently works in public health in Lexington, Kentucky and has been working in diabetes for over seven years.

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