Mull this over for a minute: When McDonald’s opened in 1955, its largest soda was seven fluid ounces. Today, a small soda is 16 ounces and there are 10 ounces in a child’s soda, according to an article in The New York Times.
McDonald’s the world's biggest hamburger chain, after responding to overwhelming criticism for offering super sized portions by removing them from the menu, seems to be backtracking. It has recently launched the HUGO (think Queen Mary), a whopping 42 ounce drink with about 410 calories.
What’s going on here? McDonald’s can’t be thinking that this will go unnoticed, that people will suddenly change their minds again and revert back to consuming three or four times the amount of beverage they need at any one sitting. But, despite what you might think would be a PR gaffe for the fast food chain, the Hugo is selling, which is not too surprising when you consider its low cost of 89 cents in some Mc-markets.
Part of what may be happening is that we are not paying enough attention to how many calories we are drinking during a typical day. Ask someone how many calories are in their favorite venti-sized Strawberries and Crème Frappuccino at Starbucks, and I doubt that many would realize it’s 540, and that’s with no whip. Or that morning latte with whole milk? 265. How about the 16 oz. bottle of sweetened lemon iced tea? 180.
It would seem that our beverages have become our desserts. So even when we are turning down cheesecake or carrot cake at the end of a meal, choosing a latte instead and thinking we are being health-conscious, the truth is we are not. We are getting way too many calories from drinks and possibly not accounting for them in our tally of daily calories:
Yogurt and fruit for breakfast; a frappuccino with whipped (290) at break; grilled fish and vegetables for lunch along with a regular cola (136); a steak, baked potato and salad for dinner with two regular beers (320). That’s nearly 750 calories a day in beverages!
Cut those calories out of your diet each day and in a week you will have lost over a pound. But how will you feel? Probably a little disappointed, like you are missing something. That’s because beverage purveyors like Starbucks have created atmospheres in their coffee houses that make people want to come in, order a frothy drink and stay for awhile. It’s hard to put your finger on how they accomplish this, but there is no doubt they are successful at it.
There’s hope, though. You can still visit your local coffee shop to meet your friends or pull out your laptop to do some work, amidst other working strangers. You just need to give a little more thought to what you are drinking.
Here are some suggestions:
- 12 oz. latte with skim milk 125
- 4 oz. orange juice splashed with sparkling water 55
- A 12 oz. sports drink for after your workout 99
- Unsweetened iced tea 2
- 8 oz. of light cranberry juice 60
- Tea or coffee, unsweetened with no cream 0
By Teresa K. Flatley