Calories From Beverages Purchased at 2 Major Coffee Chains in New York City, 2007
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Calories From Beverages Purchased at 2 Major Coffee Chains in New York City, 2007

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      Calorie intake from beverages has increased in the past decades, which most likely contributes to higher obesity rates. Although coffee chains have grown in popularity in recent years, few data examine the calorie contribution of these drinks. We examined afternoon beverage purchases in New York City at 2 major coffee chains and estimated the mean calorie content of these beverages.


      We collected purchase receipts and brief surveys from adult customers at 42 Starbucks and 73 Dunkin' Donuts stores during the spring of 2007. For each purchase, we obtained the calorie content from the company's Web site; these values were adjusted to account for self-reported customization of the drink.


      We included 1,127 beverage purchases at Starbucks and 1,830 at Dunkin' Donuts in our analyses. Brewed coffee or tea averaged 63 kcal, and blended coffee beverages averaged 239 kcal. Approximately two-thirds of purchases at Starbucks and one-fourth of purchases at Dunkin' Donuts were blended coffee beverages.


      Calories in blended coffee beverages are high; on average, customers bought 12% of a 2,000-kcal diet. Policy changes to provide for calorie posting at the point of purchase could increase customer awareness of the calories in these beverages; modifying standard formulations of blended coffee beverages, such as using low-fat milk or smaller serving sizes, would also reduce calorie content.

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