Thursday, February 27, 2014

Its The Sugar

I used to think Starbucks lattes were laced with crack which was what made them so addictive. I can't say one way or the other if there's crack in there but I can tell you, there's a whole lot of sugar.

Compared to what? I usually order a double-tall soy latte whenever I order coffee. At Starbucks, that means 210 calories and 21 grams of sugar according to their nutritional information. When I make it at home, I use Kirkland brand vanilla soy milk. According to one website, that translates to 100 calories and 7 grams of sugar. I'd look at the package but I'm all out of soy milk and my local Costco isn't too keen about restocking it.

Getting my latte at Starbucks means more than double the calories and three times as much sugar. Still, 21 grams of sugar doesn't seem like so much. If I ordered a soy latte with whole milk, I'd still get 19 grams of sugar (for only 30 calories more). Interestingly enough, there's 19 grams of sugar in instant cocoa, according to WebMD. Also,
So how much exactly is a gram of sugar? One teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. To put it another way, 16 grams of sugar in a product is equal to about 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar. 
Keep in mind, though, that the grams of sugar listed on the nutrition information label includes natural sugars from fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose) as well as added sweeteners like refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. That’s why the label on a carton of regular low-fat milk says there's 13 grams of sugar per cup. And that’s why the grams of sugar per serving in Raisin Bran (or any cereal with raisins or other dried fruit) seem unexpectedly high.
I'm not sure about the math, though. Starbuck's website says a 12 oz soy latte provides 50% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. The other website says an 8 oz serving of the Costco soy provides 25% of the recommended calcium. Presumably, part of the 12 oz latte is made up of coffee and, last I checked, there is no calcium in espresso.

Interestingly, you would only get 160 calories and 10 grams of sugar if you ordered a double-tall soy latte in Canada, with the same 50% of recommended calcium. I never could figure out the metric system.

Costco hasn't restocked their soy in several weeks so I've been forced to get my lattes at Starbucks.

And now I know where my muffin top came from.

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