Starbucks Soon to Post Calorie Count for Java Enthusiasts

Image: Starbucks Soon to Post Calorie Count for Java Enthusiasts

Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 03:06 PM

By Andrea Billups

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What, you mean our triple-vanilla, mondo-java-mocha-chip-megawhip coffee drink is NOT calorie-free?

The coffee break just got a little bit scarier, or health-conscious, depending on your view, Tuesday as Starbucks announced that it will begin posting calorie counts on its beverages and food items nationwide starting June 25.

The announcement comes in advance of government-mandated guidelines — passed in 2010 and since delayed in implementation — for restaurants with more than 20 locations to publicly disclose just what kind of a caloric punch their menus pack.

For java enthusiasts who are used to consuming something more fancy than a regular steaming cup of Joe, the tallies may give them pause as cream, sugar, foam and triple-flavor pumps add up to calorie counts rivaling a full meal.

Add a desert item like a scone or muffin to your designer beverage and the food-energy equation might be enough to scare even the skinny away.

Coffee lovers who need a nutrition fix already can download the bad news via Starbucks iPad app and its website.

Those looking to stay on a diet can also carry a printed brochure, which offers the low-down on donuts, lattes, and the growing number of menu items that the company's more than 12,000 stores hope to carry more of in the future.

Those weary of the nanny-state protections as well as transparency advocates will soon see calorie counts posted on menu boards and pastry cases in Starbucks locations.

The company boasts that it's tried to improve its nutritional offerings by making such adjustments as using 2 percent milk over whole milk in its drinks. They said that small move saved consumers more than 17 billion calories a year or nearly 5 million fat pounds since 2007. Sugar-free options have been on the menu there since 1997.

Some scientists have argued that calorie counts can often be just plain wrong, Mother Jones magazine reported.

Others say that while the intention might be good, such calorie-reminders don't really change behavior at all.

The voluntary move by Starbucks follows on the heels of such large chains as McDonalds and Panera Bread Co., which have also voluntarily posted menu-item calories for customers, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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