Eating a healthy breakfast provides energy to start the day and is important for weight control. In children, a healthy breakfast is essential for proper growth and development and is linked to improved attention and learning in school. Breakfast is often thought of as the most important meal of the day, for good reason. Unfortunately, many common breakfast foods are more similar to candy and soda than a healthy meal to start the day.
This is also true for breakfast drinks, including coffee drinks. Many popular coffee drinks are more similar to a chocolate milkshake than to actual coffee! Let’s check it out.
Take, for example, the grande (16 oz) Mocha Frappuccino Blended Coffee drink from Starbucks:
- 410 calories
- 15 grams of fat
- 65 g carbohydrates, including 61 g sugar
- 5 g protein
Let’s compare that to a small (16 oz.) McCafe Chocolate Milkshake from McDonald’s:
- 530 calories
- 15 grams of fat
- 87 g carbohydrates, including 74 g sugar
- 12 g protein
Sure, the calories and sugar in the coffee drink aren’t quite as outrageous as the milkshake, but it’s pretty close. The is especially clear when you compare the coffee drink to actual coffee, a grande (16 oz.) Pike Place Roast from Starbucks, which has 5 calories and no fat or sugar.
If you don’t really like coffee and prefer flavored coffee drinks, you might order one with nonfat milk and no whipped cream. Nice try, but it will still have 270 calories and 59 g sugar, even though the fat is reduced to just 1 g. That’s still a lot of sugar!
A better choice might be a grande Starbucks Cappuccino, which has 140 calories, 7 g fat, and 10 g sugar. Get one with nonfat milk and you cut out 60 calories from fat. If you are worried about how much sugar you consume and how many calories you drink—and you probably should be!—this is a much better coffee drink choice than a milkshake!
Does this mean you can’t enjoy a delicious coffee drink? Of course not. But don’t try to fool yourself by calling it coffee. Depending on what you order, it may essentially be a milkshake! And I think we can all agree that is not part of a healthy breakfast.
I call this idea that unhealthy food makes its way onto our breakfast table Candy & Soda for Breakfast. And it’s not just breakfast, either. Lunch, dinner, and snacks frequently include foods that look like a healthy choice but really are candy and soda in disguise.