Čitanje i razumevanje teksta (Coffee)

by | Jun 26, 2023

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Starbucks to display calories, but who’s counting?

Chris Harding

Starbucks, purveyors of expensive liquid energy, have begun the new year with the news that they will provide calorie information with their drinks so that customers can “make an informed decision at the counter”. Proudly boasting 15 drinks under 150 calories – the equivalent of one average hot dog – Starbucks neglect to mention some of their less streamlined options, headed up by the gut-busting 555 calorie (think 11 Domino’s chicken wings) Praline Mocha with Whipped Cream.

Coffee and hot drinks themselves, without embellishment or addition and in moderation, are not bad for you. Even a large latte made with skimmed milk won’t exceed 200 calories – around the same as a bowl of plain porridge. The problems arise from the addictive nature of caffeine and the hard sell of all those flavourings and extras. In 2002, 71% of all adults were coffee drinkers, consuming an average of four cups a day. If any of those 71% decide that their drink of choice is the Praline Mocha with Whipped Cream, they’re knocking back 2,220 calories a day just in coffee.

It’s also worth noting that coffee from coffee chains is almost invariably more unhealthy than the kind you might make at home. A cup of black coffee of any kind contains just 2 calories, and the higher the quality of the coffee the fewer condiments it will need. The high calorie counts of chain coffee houses are due to the huge servings on offer and the slew of flavourings and additions available to those who want them.

Starbucks is hardly in illustrious company in printing their calorie counts on their menus, either. New York passed a law in 2009 forcing all chain restaurants with 15 or more outlets (including the coffee chain’s New York establishments) to print the calorie count of each of their individual offerings in a font equal or larger in size to the name of the item, with a hefty $2,000 fine for any chain found to not be complying.

But how efficient is the provision of calorie information as a deterrent to eat and drink unhealthily? Early reports from New York indicated that it is a measure that works in the short-term, but only to encourage customers to buy more of the less calorific items. A 2009 study published in Health Affairs showed no change in overall calories purchased before and after the introduction of the labelling laws.

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