(Image courtesy of Starbucks)
(Image courtesy of Starbucks)

By ALEXANDRA WEE, Staff Columnist

From mid-day slumps to Monday ruts, coffee runs can do great wonders. They may not be the healthiest fix for afternoon sluggishness, but then again, find someone who craves celery sticks when they’re ready to crash in class.

Whatever your reason for chugging caramel cappuccinos, it’s easy to ignore the nutritional value—or lack thereof—of that all that caffeinated goodness. A single cup of coffee sans sugar and cream is calorie-free. So how much damage could a bit of milk and chocolate syrup do?

Meet McDonald’s McCafe Mocha Frap and its whopping 560 calories, that’s a quarter of the recommended 2000 calorie intake in a single 16 oz. serving (Medium). Starbucks’ White Hot Chocolate doesn’t tally up much better. In fact, check out how some of the café industry’s guiltiest pleasures rank by calorie content:

(Image courtesy of McDonald’s)

(All servings are measured in 16 oz = McDonalds’ Medium, Biggby’s Tall, Starbucks Grande)

Mocha Frap:

  1. McDonalds- 560
  2. Biggby- 439
  3. Starbucks- 390
  4. Tim Horton’s- 280*

Pumpkin Spice Latte:

  1. Starbucks: 380
  2. Biggby: 328
  3. Tim Horton’s: 110**

White Hot Chocolate:

  1. Starbucks: 490
  2. Tim Horton’s: 380**
  3. Biggby: 412

Chai Tea Latte:

  1. Biggby: 346 calories
  2. Starbucks: 240 calories

*14 oz.
**15 oz.

Can’t resist Biggby’s Frozen Mocha Mocha? Ordering it “Reduced Calorie” (available for most of their drinks) will cut calories 30-50%, making the Mocha Mocha’s 439 calories a refreshing 170. Skipping whipped cream on any Starbucks’ drinks also helps chop off 70 calories.

Moral of the story: If you need caffeine to rev you up, you’re much better off sipping fresh brewed coffee and adding a flavored creamer (International’s Delight’s Pumpkin Spice only has 45 calories in a tablespoon serving!) If coffee shop fraps are a must-have, make them a special treat and limit the sipping from daily doses to weekends only.

A coffee boost is, after all, only temporary—don’t crash harder than you have to.
Sources: nutrition.mcdonalds.com, starbucks.com/menu, timhortons.com/nutrition, biggby.com/menu, myfitnesspal.com, livestrong.com/thedailyplate

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