One of the ways I stay abreast of the “hot topics” of interest in the nutrition field is to watch what is highlighted on national programming television shows such as the morning Today Show. The topics give me ideas for a television segment I frequently get to do on Fox 2 News morning show called STLMoms .  Last week the Today Show’s health clip was about hidden calories in our beverages.  They presented two drinks in categories such as juice, coffee, and alcohol and the dietitian explained which drink was healthier and why.  Although, there were no surprises for me, (because it’s expected I know the calories in everything!) I thought others might enjoy taking a similar drink quiz! Lets start with breakfast. Which drink contains more calories? Grape juice or orange juice ? And the winner is…orange juice. An 8-oz serving of orange juice will cost you about ~112 calories and an 8-oz serving of grape juice is ~160 calories. Although 100% fruit juice is a better choice than a fruit drink that contains 5% juice, I typically recommend eating fruit over any type of juice because whole fruit contains more fiber and is more filling. 2) Cappuccino or Latte ‘? The difference between a cappuccino and a latte is the amount of milk.  A latte has 3x more milk and less foam than a cappuccino, so therefore also more calories.  However, a latte can be a very nutritious drink; especially for people who could use more calcium in their diets. If you want to keep your latte in the nutritious category, pay attention to how you order it.  For example, take a look at these numbers… a) 12 oz Caramel Latte, 2% milk, caramel flavoring, whipped cream: 330 calories b) 12 oz Caramel Latte, skim milk, sugar-free caramel flavoring, no whip cream: 130 calories Now…for those of us old enough to partake… Beer can also be a deceiving beverage. Most of us would think that Guinness Beer , due to its dark coloring and malted creamy taste would contain more calories than the Pale Ale , right? Well, you might be surprised… 3) A 12-oz can of Guinness contains ~125 calories. A 12-oz bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Block Ale contains ~215 calories. Although the Sierra might be pale in color,  the alcohol content is higher (6.5%) which results in a higher calories beverage. 4) Bloody Mary versus Long Island Iced Tea ? The Long Island Iced Tea contains a long list of ingredients and therefore also contains a significant amount of calories. A 12-oz drink (most come larger) costs you 400 calories. A similar sized Bloody Mary is only 150 calories plus a hefty dose of lycopene and vitamins. If you are interested in the nutritional content of your favorite beverages, check out the website www.calorieking.com to learn more about beverages of your choice!

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.