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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My New Favorite Beverage: Starbucks Refreshers


In my quest for fitness, I decided to quit sodas. I might have one as a treat every now and then. However, I am quitting the every day soda.

In fact, just the other day my fiance was paying for our food and ordered fountain drinks for all of us. I quickly corrected him and changed the order to two, not three. I drank my water from my water bottle instead. I carry this bottle with me everywhere!

Even so, a nice treat is nice. BUT it has to be a treat, otherwise it beats the purpose of calling it a treat.

This is where Starbucks Refreshers are coming in as an alternative to Coke.

Starbucks Refreshers vs. Coke

Here is the nutritional facts show down:

Starbucks Refreshers vs. Coke

Starbucks Refreshers have less Calories, Carbs and Sugar
than Coke and more caffeine.  Plus Starbucks Refreshers are
loaded with vitamins!
Starbucks
Refresher
Coke
Calories
60
140
Fat
0 g
0 g
Cholesterol
0 mg
0 mg
Sodium
5 mg
45 mg
Total Carbs
19 g
39 g
Sugars
13 g
39 g
Protein
0 g
0 g
Vitamin A
0%
0%
Vitamin B6
25%
0%
Vitamin C
20%
0%
Calcium
0%
0%
Iron
0%
0%
Caffeine
50 mg
34 mg
Serving size = 12 oz., Strawberry Lemonade Refresher used for comparison.



Now, I have heard that the vitamins in Starbucks refreshers are synthetic, so I can't say that these beverages are technically healthy. However, if you are looking for a sweet, carbonated beverage with a gentle amount of caffeine and an energy boost (via vitamins), I think its a good alternative. Perfect for an afternoon pick me up.

Ingredients List Comparison

Starbucks Refresher
Coke
Carbonated water, fruit juices from concentrate (white grape, apple, lemon, strawberry), erthyritol, natural flavors, green coffee bean extract, citric acid, vegetable juice (color), rebaudioside-A (stevia leaf extract), panax ginseng root powder extract, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), niacinamide (vitamin B3), calcium D-pantothenate (vitamin B5), pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6). Contains 25% juice and 50mg of Panax Ginxeng per serving.
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, caramel color, phosphoric acid, natural flavors, caffeine.

Starbucks Refreshers Via - instant beverage. I mix 1/2 Via
with a 12 oz can of carbonated water for a yummy treat and
only 35 Calories!  The Via version has 110% Vitamin C
per 1/2 packet. (image courtesy of starbucks.com with text
by ngnrdgrl.blogspot.com)
Plus, the ingredients in the Starbucks Refresher can sound more appealing to me than a can of coke. There are certainly more ingredients in the Starbucks can, but no high fructose corn syrup. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is low in sugar and Calories. Instead of using artificial coloring, the refresher uses vegetable juice for coloring.

I really like the refreshers out of the can (same with cokes), but I have also tried the Via powders. The nice thing about the powder is that you don't have to use the whole packet. The bad thing about the packet is they don't dissolve very well. I find that after mixing it up if I let it sit for a bit, it will dissolve more.

One packet supposedly makes 16 oz. Well, I don't own 16 oz glasses. My tallest glass is 12 oz. So here's what I do. I mix half a packet with 12 oz of carbonated water. This makes a yummy treat that is only 35 Calories!

Beverage Comparison

Here are some comparisons to other beverages:

Drink Comparison

Calories
Sugar
Fat
Caffeine
Starbucks
Refresher
6013 g0 g
50 mg
Drip Coffee
100
-
3 g
145 mg
Latte
150
-
6 g
75 mg
Black Tea
0
0 g
0 g
63 mg
Coke
140
39 g
0 g34 mg
Diet Coke
1-4*
0 g
0 g45 mg
Red Bull
157
39 g
0 g
113 mg
Mountain Dew
170
46 g
0 g
54 mg
12 oz used for comparison. Assumed 2% milk and no sugar in coffee. Tea assumes no milk or sugar added.
*When beverages contain less than 5 Calories, companies are not obligated to report it and can claim 0 Calories.


Looking at this list, it is clear to me that drinking tea is perhaps the most healthy of the caffeinated beverages. Unfortunately, tea has never been my cup of tea. ;)

I don't know why, but I have never really been into tea. Sometimes I like to have an un-caffeinated cup before bedtime. My doctor actually prescribed chamomile tea to aid in sleep. It definitely helps me fall asleep, but then I end up waking up to pee numerous times.

I am a huge anti-diet-soda person. The artificial sweeteners have me running for the hills. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to weight gain, high blood pressure and depression (see resources below). I'd rather just cut out coke then resort to diet coke (which is what I am attempting).

Image courtesy of Just say no to diet soda! by Freak of Nature Fitness.

For now, a cup of coffee in the morning is still my caffeinated beverage of choice. For evening beverages, I have been drinking lightly flavored carbonated water. For a weekend treat, I might choose a Starbucks Refresher for a soda substitute.

I also enjoy the Zevia line of carbonated beverages. They take advantage of the stevia sweetener just like the Starbucks Refreshers. They have a tanginess to them that is very different from other sodas, but pairs nicely with their ginger ale and ginger root beer. {I love ginger ales! Hard apple ginger cider is the best!}

What is your favorite beverage/treat? Have you tried to kick (or reduce) your favorite beverage/treat due to health/fitness reasons? How did you quit or what did you replace it with?

Sources:

  1. Starbucks Official Website
  2. My Fitness Pal
  3. Diet Coke vs. Coca-Cola Zero: What's The Difference? 
  4. Caffeine Content of Drinks
  5. Artificial Sweeteners Linked To Weight Gain
  6. Artificial Sweetener Causes Cancer in Rats at Levels Currently Approved for Humans, New Study Suggests
  7. Diet Drinks, Artificial Sweeteners Tied to Greater Risk of Depression

8 comments:

  1. That is a significant change. I don't drink soda/pop/soda pop/Coke, etc..., whatever you want to call it. Water, lemonade, and home-brewed coffee are how I roll. Congratulations to you. I know the addiction to Coke/Pepsi (etc...) can be a hard habit to kick. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coke (or Dr Pepper) has been one of my guilty pleasures since I was a teenager. I typically would have one or two a day and when I was in college would drink more while studying. A couple years ago I decided to stop drinking it in the evening because I was having a hard time falling asleep and thought the caffeine was giving me trouble. I switched to carbonated water to give me something fizzy to drink. After counting Calories with MFP, I decided to just quit all together except for an occasional treat. I had one a couple of weeks ago and it just didn't give me the pleasure I normally associate with it. I felt disappointed in myself for being lured into it. I am feeling really pleased with myself for quitting. It was definitely a hard habit to kick and I am not substituting these refreshers for a normal beverage. Just a Sunday afternoon treat here or there but not all the time. :) Thanks for stopping by! :D

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  2. Mmmm! I haven't tried these yet, but you've convinced me! They look so yummy! Thanks for the tip, friend!

    ~Abby =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think they are so yummy! And I like that they are lower Calories/sugar than soda. Much more expensive though, if you are buying them in a can. But maybe that is a good thing? Keep me from buying too many of them. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by, friend!

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  3. I have never been a soda fiend but do understand the addiction.. I love coffee(without sugar)...I buy these at Sams' club and love, love them. I pop one in the freezer until it's icy cold and voila!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yum. Yeah, I love coffee too. At least coffee has been shown to have health benefits. Although, I am sure I put too much cream in mine. I have an appliance that heats up the milk/cream and froths it. I then make my coffee via stove top espresso maker. It makes great coffee!

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  4. Never heard of them before. What do the taste like exactly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are sweet, fruity and carbonated. If you like sweet and carbonated, they are a great alternative to soda. We really like them. There are three main flavors: Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Pomegranate and Orange Melon. They do have stevia in them, which some people don't like. Stevia is a natural, low Calorie, alternative sweetener. I don't mind the stevia flavor in these. I think it is pretty well balanced with other sweeteners.

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