Coffee has become a staple of our modern culture.  With tons of local and national chain coffee spots around Mount Pleasant and Charleston, we basically have access to the caffeinated stuff on every corner.  And it’s not just a local phenomenon.  According to Harvard School of Public Health, over half of American adults drink it every day.  And coffee in itself is proving to be pretty good for your overall wellness.  Harvard quotes an article from the Wall Street Journal that states: “Coffee is high in natural polyphenols, which are micronutrients that have been linked with preventing cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. ‘This also is why we think those who drink two to three cups of coffee a day show lower rates of diabetes than those who do not drink any coffee,’ Eric Rimm, professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health…Rimm also noted that black coffee, in particular, contains nearly zero calories…’.”


BUT while good old fashion coffee seems to have positive impacts on our health, that is NOT the case with the FROZEN COFFEE drinks popular chains have been pushing recently.  According to Eating Well, “The popular Starbucks Frappuccino set the stage for our love of iced coffees and frozen coffee drinks at fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Seattle’s Best and Einstein Bros.”  But just because they are everywhere does NOT mean that frozen coffee drinks are a good idea.


A fascinating article on the website Eat This, Not That! features the results of a study conducted by the health advocacy group Action on Sugar, which “ recently tested 131 drinks at popular chains in the UK (many of which are also popular in America) only to discover that 35 percent of the hot, flavored drinks contained the same amount or more sugar than what you’d find in a can of Coca-Cola (12 oz, 39 grams), one of the most vilified beverages on the planet. It’s a bit ironic that so many people who scoff cola don’t even give a second thought to what’s in their coffee cups.”  And that’s with HOT coffee.  Add in the frozen options which add extra syrups and whipped cream to the mix and the sugar intake increases even more.  To read the article and check on your favorite drink, click HERE.


With the heat index rising in Charleston this summer, it will be tempting to give in and indulge in your favorite frosty caffeinated beverage.  And is it okay to splurge occasionally?  Of COURSE!  But before you make those sweet treats part of your routine, be sure to check out LiveStrongs article “What’s Really Inside a Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino?”  (Read: “With 81 grams of sugar, drinking one Starbuck’s Venti Blended Caramel Frappuccino will give you the same amount of sugar as if you had eaten: one full size Kit Kat bar (22g), one full-size bag of Peanut M&M’s (25g), one full-size box of Milk Duds (27g), AND four Everlasting Gobstoppers (7g)! “). You may think twice before you grab one on the way home from the gym.


What are some good alternatives?  PopSugar has a great article that compares some of the most decadent drinks with healthier versions.  For example, instead of getting a16-oz. Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha which comes in at a whopping 500 calories, go for 16-oz. Iced Skinny Mocha, which coming in at 100 calories, saving you 30 minutes of “vigorously riding a stationary bike or running at 8.6 miles per hour.” (These stats are according to LiveStrongs article “Ways to Burn 400 Calories”).

Another healthy options is to go Local:  hotspots like Collective and Vintage Coffee in Mount Pleasant and The Daily and Bad Wolf Coffee in Charleston offer fabulous hand crafted, CALORIE FREE brews like Cold Brew, Pour-Over and Iced Coffees.  Need to add something sweet and creamy?  Go for skim or almond milk and sweeten with natural low-cal alternatives like Stevia, honey or coconut sugar.