That morning cup of designer coffee you're drinking may be doing more than getting you jazzed up to meet the day. It also could be expanding your waistline.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, if you order a venti (20-oz.) Starbucks Caffe Mocha, "you might as well be sipping that 500-calorie burger through a straw."
And a venti Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino, with 650 calories and nearly a days saturated fat, is a McDonalds coffee plus 11 creamers and 29 packets of sugar.
Most people wouldn't consider shoehorning in a Quarter Pounder with Cheese somewhere between breakfast and lunch, but it's perfectly possible to get 500-plus calories in a drink from Starbucks,"Fortunately, its a cinch to bring down the calories and saturated fat in many of these drinks by making a few simple changes."
• Go nonfat. A nonfat or soy cappuccino or latte is always a calorie bargain. Ordering a grande (16 oz.) nonfat cappuccino or latte with nonfat milk instead of whole saves all the saturated fat plus 50 to 100 calories.
• Skip the whip. At Starbucks for example, whipped cream adds some 120 calories and 7 grams of saturated fat that you could do without.
• Slash the sugar. Order sweetened drinks with sugar-free syrup or get them unsweetened and add your own sugar (about 10 calories per pack) or Splenda (0 calories).
• Look for light. At Starbucks, grande Frappuccino Lights slash the calories to 150 to 250 by replacing half the sugar with Splenda and dropping the whipped cream. A medium (14 oz.) Dunkin Donuts Latte Lite keeps the calories at 100.
• Tout de sweet. Order sweetened drinks with sugar-free syrup or unsweetened drinks to which you can add your own sugar or Splenda.
• Drink your calcium. You can find drinks that have at least 200 milligrams of calcium. According to the National Academy of Sciences, people over 50 should aim for 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day.
• Tame the java jitters. According to Starbucks, you get 130 milligrams in every eight ounces of coffee and 65 milligrams for every one ounce shot of espresso.
Pregnant women should minimize caffeine. And folks who want to avoid jangled nerves and sleepless nights also should avoid the java jolts.
But the center notes that some studies suggest that caffeine may lower your risk of Parkinson's disease and that decaf and regular coffee may curb the risk of diabetes.
More research is needed before anybody can recommend caffeine for those conditions .