Don’t let fancy labels, slick packaging and clever marketing fool you

By Abigail Solomon

Despite the fact that many health-conscious students may eat a healthy diet, another source of calories may be lurking where they least expect it: beverages. Everyday drinks like sodas, juice, lattés, and even smoothies can add up an extra load of calories and sugar to a student’s diet.

According to, as the obesity epidemic increased in the past 30 years, so has calorie consumption in beverages to 150- 300 calories per day. Portions in drinks have also increased over 50 percent from 13 to 20 ounces.

With this, drinks like juice or cola soda have increased from 136 to 227 calorie in a 12-ounce and 20 ounce serving. Though soda has long been deemed as an “empty calorie” beverage by health junkies, beverages at the coffee and smoothie shops can be worse offenders.

At Starbucks a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte contains 260 calories and a Grande Strawberry and Cream Frappoicino contains 330 calories – and this is without whipped cream. Adding this fattening condiment can add up to 120 calories and 11 grams of fat to a grande sized drink. Holiday specials are no better off either; a Grande Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha has 440 calories and 10 grams of fat while an Eggnog Latte has 460 calories and a whopping 21 grams of fat.

Reducing calories in a hot beverage can be easy, as the center for disease control and prevention suggests always ordering the smallest size, having it made with fat- free or low fat milk instead of whole milk, and always skipping whip cream. Smoothies are another sneaky way of adding calories and sugar to a teen’s diet.

Despite being hailed as a great health drink by most people, many smoothie chains add sugar to beverages which are already naturally sweet from fruit, juice and yogurt used to make the smoothie. At Jamba Juice, a Razzmatazz smoothie in original size contains 390 calories and 14 grams of sugar.

An Orange Dream Machine smoothie has 470 calories and 17 grams of sugar. Instead opt for an all- fruit smoothie in the smallest size to save plenty of calories and sugar.

For example a sixteen ounce Strawberry Nirvana has only 150 calories and 27 grams of sugar. Sometimes, it’s best to go simple with just water, low-fat milk and low calorie beverage in replacement of soda, juice or sodas.

Adding a bit of juice or fruit to a sparkling water can make a good tasting low calorie beverage.