With all the discussion over obesity in America, we're always quick to blame McDonalds for providing us with the means and opportunity. What people don't often do is look at their favorite coffee shop and morning coffee with the same criticism.
The other morning at Dunkin Donuts, I heard a young-ish man walk up and ask for the following, "A medium iced, extra-extra, with two shots of caramel."
For those not from New England, let me translate. He ordered a medium iced coffee with extra sugar, extra cream, and two shots of caramel syrup. At Dunkin, a medium iced drink is 24 oz. That's 4 "cups" on your home coffee pot or two 12-oz mugs. Dunkin doesn't list that exact combination on their nutrition website, but a medium iced with a single dose of cream and sugar and no caramel is 288 calories, 14.4 grams of fat, and 48mg of cholesterol. Since most of that comes from the cream and sugar and he ordered "extra-extra," let's double it (576 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 96 mg of cholesterol).
As it turns out, Dunkin offers two different types of caramel flavoring. The "Caramel Swirl" added to their espresso drinks is standard, sugar-laden caramel sauce like you'd find on an ice cream sundae or a caramel latte. The caramel flavored coffee uses a sugar free caramel flavoring. This gets around having to brew multiple types of beans. I don't know which the young man received in his coffee, but having been a barista, I know that a "shot" usually means the sugar syrup. If we make that assumption, a "shot" is 1.5oz and two shots is 3oz (not to be confused with a "double shot" because Dunkin doesn't work with alcohol jiggers)... According to Smuckers, a 3-oz serving of caramel syrup is 300 calories, no fat, no cholesterol.
That brings us to: 876 calories, 29g fat, 96mg cholesterol.
To put it into perspective the recommended daily allowance is based on a 2000 calorie diet. 876 calories is nearly half that (45%). The RDA for cholesterol is 300mg (32%) and 65g for fat (45%). This is for ONE DRINK. Around here, it's not uncommon for many people to have two or more of these in a day.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not specifically Dunkin's fault this guy ordered and consumed what he did. However, their fantastic advertising (Everyone Runs on Dunkin) encourages us to think that a 24-oz beverage loaded with all that crap is and should be normal and that it'll keep us going all day long when, in fact, it's not and it won't. What's more, they've convinced many of us that it's normal to have at least one a day, or two, or three. Not a far stretch from that well-known not-so-subliminal message, "You want fries with that?"