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Drinking Smart at Dunkin’ Donuts

by Kevin Saez
Coffee ca be a college student's best friend or worst enemy. Photo courtesy of mo1229 (Flickr)

Coffee ca be a college student’s best friend or worst enemy.
Photo courtesy of m01229 (Flickr)

Coffee: if you’re a college student, it’s most likely a necessity.

Most research suggests that a moderate coffee consumption is just fine and may even be beneficial in some cases.

Good news, right? But, here’s the catch. That research is mostly done using black coffee, not your medium iced caramel swirl macchiato from Dunkin’ Donuts in the Student Center.

The difference between the two? 300 calories, six grams of fat and 49 grams of sugar, and that’s just a macchiato.

Ordering a Coolatta? Go ahead and double those numbers. A medium Coolatta has 106 grams of sugar. That’s nearly 25 teaspoons and well over half of the recommended daily value.

Are you shocked? Even I was a little surprised when reading the nutrition facts. It’s all too easy to turn to a sugar-sweetened coffee for a morning wake-up call or afternoon pick-me-up. The brain actually uses sugar for energy, so the fact that you crave these drinks during class especially isn’t so crazy after all.

The problem is that sugar-sweetened coffees do not keep you full. Next thing you know, you’re ordering a donut too. You’re hungry again an hour later. Soon enough the calories and sugar add up, and you’ve given your body and your brain far more than they need.

Next time you head to Dunkin’, do your body a favor and try out a lower-calorie and lower-sugar option.

Of course, black coffee is the best choice, but its bitterness is not a taste everyone can grow to love. Swap your iced macchiato for a simple iced coffee with skim milk and Splenda, just 40 calories and 7 grams of sugar.

If you need a little more flavor, for just 80 more calories, you can order a medium iced caramel latte lite with skim  milk, which is 56 percent less calories than the standard version.

I know what you’re thinking: Didn’t you say the brain likes sugar? That’s correct. But, there is little value to you, especially in terms of hunger, in consuming excess sugars in from sugar-sweetened coffees and other drinks.

Pair your new and improved Dunkin’ beverage with a piece of fruit or a complex carbohydrate like a multigrain bagel or English muffin. This way, you will be providing your brain with the energy it needs and your body with fiber, vitamins and nutrients, which it certainly cannot receive from the 106 grams of simple sugar in a Coolatta.

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