Sunday, March 15, 2015

6 Steps to Slim Down White Mocha Without Ruining the Experience

 A medium white mocha made to recipe is 470 calories hot, 450 calories iced, and 440 calories blended. For reference, there are 36 items on McDonald's menu you can enjoy for under 400 calories. These include a hamburger for 240 calories, cheeseburger for 290 calories, 6 piece chicken nuggets for 280 calories, or a medium fry for 340 calories.

Obviously, anyone is entitled to have a treat once in a while. If you're enjoying a white mocha less than once a week or if you are very physically active, then these calorie counts probably don't matter one whit.

If you're indulging in a white mocha a little too often, don't despair! I have 6 barista secrets that can help slim down your white mocha and still leave you feeling satisfied.

  1. Hold the whip cream. I know, the little kid in some of us is crying at losing the whipped topping. Who didn't eat so much of this stuff they got sick at some point in childhood? Seriously though, super simple and saves 70 calories.
  2. Use Nonfat aka Skim Milk instead of the standard 2%. I honestly can't taste the difference in most hot beverages between the skim milk and the 2%. For most people, this is the most palatable of changes, though it only cuts 50 calories.
  3. Get a smaller size drink. The difference in which size you order can be as great as 120 calories or as little as 80 calories. Going from a medium to small on average saves 90 calories.
  4. Put less pumps of the syrup in the drink. Finding out how much each pump of syrup costs you is a little tricky. Sure the most logical thought is to see what the calorie difference between each drink size. There is one additional pump per each cup size in the recipe, so the difference in calories between sizes should tell us how much calories are in one pump of syrup.
The problem is the proportion of coffee to milk is not uniform, which plays some havoc with learning how many calories are in a pump. Best guess is that each pump of white mocha averages 97 calories.

It's probably best to reduce the syrup levels of the drink just one less pump at a time. Since there is both milk and sugar in the white mocha syrup, reducing the amount of syrup too quickly is going to make a huge difference in the taste of your drink. If you reduce the syrup pumps over time, it gives you time to adjust and feel satisfied with less sugar.

Sugar is a tricky ingredient because it effects taste and also the brain. There are studies that show our bodies react to sugar in alarming ways. For example: our brains release dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel happy, in response to sugar which can lead to us craving it. Also, our bodies develop a tolerance for sugar, so we need more to get the same effects. While science seems very clear that sugar and fatty foods are not drugs, it can still trigger some alarming tendencies that make it best to reduce our consumption slowly.

  1. Stir your drink. None of the drinks are stirred unless you ask for them stirred (and even then no guarantee anyone is actually stirring like you asked). This means a lot of the sweet taste in the drink is just collecting at the bottom of the cup. This is VERY true for thick syrups that include white mocha, regular mocha, pumpkin spice, and caramel brulee. You might be surprised how more balanced your drink tastes stirred. Stirring your drink does not reduce calories but a lot of people find that the drink is sweet enough when stirred they can more easily reduce the amount of syrup in the drink.
  2. Don't make all these changes at once. The number one mistake people make on the way to a healthier life is to try to change too many things about their lifestyle too quickly. If you want to health up your white mocha pick one of the above suggestions (the one you hate the least) and follow it. Get used to the ordering your white mocha that way, and after as week or two pick a second suggestion and add it to the one you're doing. It could take you a few months to be comfortable with your drink optimized for both taste and health. This step doesn't reduce calories, but it might help you keeping your drink slim and satisfying in the long run.

Do you have a coffee monkey on your back but it's not a white mocha? Don't fret! All fancy coffee drink calories can be reduced following these 6 steps! If you drink vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, cinnamon dolce, peppermint, or mocha you may be able to reduce calories further by asking for sugar free syrup. Just be aware that the sugar free syrups have sucralose in them currently has a 'caution' rating on it due to some studies where rats developed leukemia while consuming it. Also, the artificial sweetener taste is different and tends to leave a terrible after taste. I don't personally recommend sugar free syrup, but if you like diet soda then you may also like sugar free coffee drinks.

Above all else: enjoy your coffee! If it wasn't fancy and fun, you could just be drinking coffee at home.