Holiday coffee drinks packed with calories, fat, sugar

Consumer Reports offers ways to trim the bad stuff

SAN ANTONIO – Holiday coffee drinks are a surprising source of saturated fat. In the ones examined by Consumer Reports, the saturated fat content ranged from about 22 percent to almost 100 percent of what you should have in an entire day.

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.

McDonald’s Peppermint Mocha looks yummy, but 16 ounces has more than 400 calories, 8 grams of saturated fat and 13 teaspoons of sugars. Starbucks’ Gingerbread Frappuccino blended beverage isn’t any healthier. When made with whipped cream and whole milk, a 16 ounce beverage has 370 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat and 15 teaspoons of sugars.

Choosing the smaller Starbucks Gingerbread Frappuccino with skim milk saves you 110 calories, 4 grams of saturated fat and 3 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Choosing the smaller Dunkin’ Donuts Salted Caramel Swirl Hot Latte with skim milk saves you 170 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat and about 4 teaspoons of sugar.

No matter where you get your drink, one easy way to cut fat and calories is to simply skip the whipped cream.

If your order the Starbucks Gingerbread Frappuccino Blended beverage without whipped cream and still have it 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 the amount recommended for you to consume every day.

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

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