Sound Bites: Starbucks Adds Almond Milk, Super Grain News and Beer Has How Many Calories?

Our weekly column on the latest nutrition and healthy eating news

Basket of vegetables

August 16, 2018

By Megan O. Steintrager

Starbucks Adds an Almond Milk Blend

Soon Starbucks customers will be able to get their Frappuccinos with almond milk, thanks to customer demand. The company said that almond milk was a top customer request on the Starbucks’ crowd-sourcing platform, so they’re adding it on September 6th as an option in about 4,600 stores in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, the New York Metro area, New England and Mid-Atlantic states, a Starbucks spokesperson told Clean Plates. In addition to almonds and water, the in-house “Almondmilk” blend contains sugar, tricalcium phosphate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, xanthan gum, guar gum, vitamin A, palmitate and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). It has 60 calories and 3 grams of sugar in an 8-ounce serving, according to the spokesperson. While the ingredient list might look a bit long, it’s worth noting that the blend does not contain carrageenan, an ingredient that concerns some experts, including Dr. Andrew Weil. (Note that the soy and coconut milks at Starbucks do contain carrageenan.) Whipping up your own cow’s milk-free latte at home? Try one of these Clean Plates-approved non-dairy milks.

“Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants,” Is Still the Best Advice

That famous Michael Pollan quote is being repeated by journalists and health experts in response to a New York Times article on the flaws of food and exercise studies that begins by saying, “Nearly everything you have been told about the food you eat and the exercise you do and their effects on your health should be met with a raised eyebrow.” Author and renowned nutrition expert Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., retorts in her Food Politics blog. “Nutrition advice could not be easier to understand. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits; balance calories; don’t eat too much junk food.” Nestle’s blog links to a Huffington Post article by David L. Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center, in which he says a “global consensus of expert judgment concurs” that “routine physical activity and a diet of mostly minimally processed vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and water when thirsty redounds consistently to the advantage of human health.”

Supercharge with this Super Grain

While we’re on the topic of eating more plants, athletes are cashing in on the benefits of teff, an old gluten-free super grain that’s a great source of protein, iron and calcium, The New York Times reports. Look for a host of new products to come out next year featuring teff, and headlines reporting teff is the new quinoa. You heard it here first.

Spoonful of teff

Alcohol and Cancer

You may have seen some scary headlines lately about a study drawing a connection between alcohol consumption and seven types of cancer. The study, which was published in the journal Addiction, was covered widely with eye-catching headlines like CNET’s You Booze, You Lose and The Guardian’s Alcohol Is A Direct Cause of Seven Forms of Cancer, Finds Study. But Dr. Steven J. Atlas, an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Practice-Based Research and Quality Improvement in the Division of General Internal Medicine Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, says he’s not including the study among his talking points when he discusses the pros and cons of alcohol with patients. Read his article about why in the Harvard Health Blog.

And Speaking of Drinking…

If you’re watching your intake of empty calories, you might want to take a look at the rundown of calories in different types of beer and wine published by Some beers have as much as twice the calories as a Coca-Cola, whilst one, Budweiser Select 55, has the same calories as an apple. Surprisingly, it’s not always the “heavier” beers that have a lot of calories—Guinness, for example, has far fewer calories than other stouts on the list. And the article points out that not all wines are created equal, calorie-wise. Bethenny Frankel’s Skinny Girl shaves 30 calories off a serving. No wonder she truly is a skinny girl.

Beer flight