Somewhere along the road, coffee got hijacked by the national chain shops and was seriously taken advantage of. What used to be an earnest and hard-working, everyday beverage was suddenly being forced into submission with the addition of everything from incongruous fruit flavors and pumpkin syrup to sugary nut slurries and the latest trend, salt. We just can't leave a good thing alone.

 

By itself, coffee is a superfood wonder-drink, loaded with antioxidants and barely registering a blip on the calorie-counter. And even all dolled up with a tablespoon each of cream and sugar, a cup of coffee is still under 70 calories. But in its new guise, it's gone from fine to frightening. And nowhere is the nutrition data more staggering than during the merry holiday season. 

 

Here are the numbers behind 17 of the most popular seasonal coffee drinks from the country's national coffee chains. Keep in mind that the recommended dietary intake for the average person is 2,000 calories per day, with 45 to 65 percent of that coming from carbs (the equivalent of 225-325 grams of carbs). In other words, the worst of these will use up almost half of your recommended calories for the day, and one-third of your carbs. And that's not even for a meal ... or even dessert!

 

But all of that said, we are a country deeply in love with our seasonal lattes. So we're not suggesting you not enjoy your gingerbread-salted-caramel-brulee-mocha-pumpkin-cranberry latte, just do so responsibly.

 

1. Starbucks Gingerbread Latte (16 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 320

Total fat: 13g

Total carbs: 40g

 

2. Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte (16 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 330

Total fat: 13g

Total carbs: 42g

 

3. Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte (16 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 430

Total fat: 6g

Total carbs: 69g

 

4. Starbucks Eggnog Latte (16 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 460

Total fat: 21g

Total carbs: 53g

 

5. Dunkin' Donuts Gingerbread Latte (16 ounces)

Calories: 310

Total fat: 9g

Total carbs: 45g

 

6. Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin White Chocolate Flavored Latte (16 ounces)

Calories: 350

Total fat: 9g

Total carbs: 55g

 

7. Dunkin' Donuts Peppermint Mocha Latte (16 ounces)

Calories: 360

Total fat: 9g

Total carbs: 61g

 

8. Peet's Pumpkin Latte (16 ounces)
Calories: 300

Total fat: 8g

Total carbs: 44g

 

9. Peet's Cinnamon Gingerbread Latte (16 ounces)

Calories: 309

Total fat: 8g

Total carbs: 46g

 

10. Peet's Peppermint Mocha (16 ounces, reduced fat milk, whipped cream)
Calories: 474

Total fat: 20g

Total carbs: 57g

 

11. Peet's Godiva Caramel Pecan Mocha (16 ounces, reduced fat milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 524

Total fat: 20g

Total carbs: 70g

 

12. Peet's Eggnog Latte (16 ounces)

Calories: 650

Total fat: 29g

Total carbs: 78g

 

13. McCafé Caramel Mocha (16 ounces, whole milk, whipped cream)
Calories: 290

Total fat: 11

Total carbs: 39g

 

14. McCafé Peppermint Mocha (16 ounces, whole milk, whipped cream)
Calories: 300

Total fat: 12g

Total carbs: 42g

(Bonus: While we're thinking about seasonal drinks from McDonald's, a large McCafé Egg Nog shake will set you back 830 calories.)

 

15. Caribou Coffee Fa La Latte (14 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream) 
Calories: 440

Total fat: 22g

Total carbs: 55g

 

16. Caribou Coffee Ho Ho Ho Mint Mocha (14 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 570

Total fat: 20g

Total carbs: 67g

 

17. Caribou Coffee Salted Caramel Budino (14 ounces, 2% milk, whipped cream)

Calories: 850

Total fat: 56g

Total carbs: 74g

 

Yes, you read that right. 850 calories for a 14-ounce coffee. You could have four Dunkin' Donuts French Cruellers for fewer calories. How? It goes something like this: "Real, buttery caramel with espresso, steamed milk, cream and a dash of coarse salt then top with caramel whipped cream, caramel drizzle and a light sprinkle of salt." With friends like that, who needs enemies?

 

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MNN tease photo of latte: Shutterstock