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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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February 23, 2007

Scientists Perplexed, Issue ‘Impossible Calorie’ Award

By Sara
4 Comments

The Mark’s Daily Apple scientific panel welcomes you to the monthly Impossible Calorie Award. This month:

The Shake Down

We all know milkshakes are unhealthy, but fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives, right?

Wrong. Apples and seedlings, we present the findings:

Starbucks

No one thinks a Frappucino is healthy (we hope). But plenty of unsuspecting folks would assume – understandably – that an iced coffee does far less damage than a milkshake.

Scaring espresso beans everywhere

Item: Starbucks Strawberries & Creme Frappucino (16 oz.)
Calories: 570

Sugar: 83 grams (“golden diabetes award” coming soon!)

McDonald’s

By comparison, a triple-thick strawberry shake from the golden arches…

Fewer calories than coffee; still same ugly cup

Calories: 560

Sugar: 84 grams

…oh.

In other words, don’t fool yourself – decadent coffee drinks are just milkshakes with culture.

Enter the tie-breaker. What’s cool, sweet, hits the spot, and is really healthy, all at once? Why, fruit smoothies!

Jamba Juice

Chains like Jamba and Robeks have made a fortune selling people on the idea that their jumbo sherbet and juice blends are the epitome of healthy slurping.

Fruit is healthy. Fruit juice? Not so much.

Although you can add in healthy “boosts” like protein powder, vitamin blends and wheat grass shots, these drinks are the ultimate scam. Not only are these shakes generally nothing more than an ice cream and fruit juice fructose-fest, they provide enough calories to feed a small country. Fruit juice is fruit with the fiber removed, and what’s left is sugar.

An “original” strawberry smoothie can set you back as many as 500 calories – and if you upgrade to the “Power” size in the name of good health, you’ll suck down a diabetes epidemic of your own with over 600 calories and 140 grams of sugar. Apples, we have a winner!

Holy fruit!

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[…] You may recall last week’s little exploration of refreshing beverages overflowing with so many calories, even Bactrian camels would be concerned. Hey, a small, fiber-rich protein shake is one thing. But these sherbet-and-sugar-water pajama parties masquerading as “healthy” fruit smoothies are just the latest health scam. […]

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[…] What to do: stick with water and the occasional glass of wine or a light beer. Make calorie-rich drinks a treat, because they really are more like dessert and should be viewed as such. That daily latte is packing on as much as half a pound a week. It’s easy to see why people can gain ten or fifteen pounds a year without knowing why – these little treats have a terrible cumulative affect on your waistline (and health). Busy and need a lift? Grab a water bottle to go instead of a mocha. Realize that most of these… Read more »
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[…] drink your calories, so remember to wash it all down with a big slosh of soda or juice! Or a nice venti mocha will do the […]

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[…] a McDonald’s milkshake has less sugar than a “healthy” smoothie. I don’t see anyone fretting over coffee […]

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