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Do you know what’s in your ice blended coffee drink?

You can find this drink at your local convenient stores, restaurants and coffee shop. You see moms at gatherings sipping on them. You see people waiting in line trying to grab their fix early in the morning before heading to work.

You see teens congregating at the local coffee shops drinking the blend of the month. According to the National Coffee Association, young people are now the fastest growing population of coffee drinkers.  Whether the enthusiasm is fueled by the social aspect; the caffeine craving to make up for lack of sleep and too much time in studying, sports and late nights; the idealism of pop culture, or a thousand other possible influencing factors, the numbers all say the same thing.  Teens are drinking more coffee every year and continually starting at a younger age.

During the hot months, Ice Blended flavored Frappuccino seems to be most people’s favorite. It seems to quench one’s thirst. Gives the quick-pick-me-up energy that is so desired by many in the morning.

What is wrong with ice blended coffee drinks? So many people have been drinking coffee for generations. And there are some health claims to coffee.  When visiting Sardinia for my research, coffee was part of Centenarians’ breakfast. Isn’t the only difference between coffee and ice-blended-flavored coffee the additional ice and the flavor?

It is easy to assume that an ice blended flavored coffee drink is simple…made of pure coffee infused with pure natural  flavor.

Curious for my clients, I went on a hunt to find what is exactly in the drink. I thought it would be as simple as google searching the name of the brand and seeing it’s list of ingredients and then analyzing the nutritional data.

I tried searching online for the Nutrition Facts and list of ingredients for a Coffee Beans’s Ice Blended Hazelnut Frappuccino.  I was surprised how difficult it was to locate just the Nutrition Facts. I had to be creative to find the list of ingredients. I called the manager at our local Coffee Bean shop and she was having a hard time locating it online and at her store. She led me to the pdf on the company website which was a tricky to find and which it only listed the Nutrition Facts.

Why is it impossible to retrieve the list of ingredients for this seemingly simple drink. After jumping through some hoops, I found the following. According to Nutritionix.com, the sugar content for the 16 oz coffee is 59 grams!

One teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. So a “simple” blended coffee drink without added sugar or whipped cream has at least 14.75 teaspoons of sugar per 16 oz of serving.

According to the Coffee Bean’s site  page 2 under “Iced Coffee/Espresso Drinks” and under “Hazelnut Iced Coffee” category, assuming that one would order the 16 oz ice blended hazelnut coffee drink from Coffee Bean, this drink supplies 27 grams of sugar. It looks like the data was populated as a general nutritional guide vs each product having its own unique Nutrition Facts. That report by itself is very questionable.

Such conflicting information.

After much research, the manager of the local Coffee Bean finally located a bag from the corporate office that contained the list of ingredients and texted me the image.

As someone who is educated about nutrition and researching this kind of information is second nature, I was frustrated locating this basic information. How many people will take the time to search for this information even if they knew list of ingredients provides them with tremendous clues? I am probably one in a million because researching is second nature to me.

Ingredients for the Hazelnut Flavored Drink Powder

sugars, nonfat dry milk, non-dairy creamer [coconut oil, corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), sodium citrate, mono- and diglycerides, salt], natural vanilla flavor, salt, guar gum, silicon dioxide (to prevent caking), vanillin (an artificial flavor), xanthan gum.

The list of ingredients scream that this product is highly processed. Many of the ingredients are required to increase the shelf life of the product and improve the flavor that disappears when food is not fresh.

Questionable Ingredients

Sugar

If the sugar isn’t labeled organic, it may be genetically modified beet sugar.

In addition, according to Dr. Lustig, a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at UC San Francisco, you can safely metabolize about six teaspoons of added sugar per day. But the average American consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

Dr. Mercola has a great article listing 76 ways sugar can ruin your health. Sugar increases risk of diseases including cancer, nutrient imbalance and deficiency, negative behavioral change, body impairment.

Did you know that consuming the wrong kind of sugars can suppress your immune system for hours?

Non Dairy Creamer

Non dairy creamer sounds very healthy for those who want to stay away from inflammatory properties of regular milk. It is made up of corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate (a milk derivative) which makes the above appeal of non dairy a mute point.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is often used as a sweetener in processed food.

Don’t be fooled when looking up the amount of sugar a product contains if corn syrup is listed as an ingredient. This is because corn syrup contains 50% sugar, and 50% of another form of carbohydrate known as “”oligosaccharides””, which is pretty close to sugar.

If a product has less sugar than you think it should, but contains corn syrup in the ingredient list, you’ll know that the missing carbs are those oligosaccharides, not much better.

Nonfat Dry Milk

Powdered milk or dried milk is a manufactured dairy product made by evaporating milk to dryness. One purpose of drying milk is to preserve it; milk powder has a far longer shelf life than liquid milk and does not need to be refrigerated, due to its low moisture content. Another purpose is to reduce its bulk for economy of transportation.

Unlike the cholesterol in fresh whole milk, which plays a variety of health promoting roles, the cholesterol in non-fat dried milk is oxidized and it is this rancid cholesterol that promotes heart disease.

If you’re choosing low-fat over full-fat, not only are you missing out on taste, flavor and satisfaction, but you’re missing out on valuable benefits to your health – benefits that come from eating full-fat foods.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is a popular food additive that is an emulsifier. It helps ingredients blend more effectively and stay blended while waiting on a shelf. For example – water and oil mixtures, as well as bits of spice in a salad dressing. 
It is used to prevent the formation of ice crystals and keep the product “smooth”. Xanthan Gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with a bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris. It’s the same bacteria that creates black spots on broccoli and cauliflower. The result is a slimy goo that is then dried up and ground into a fine white powder. Xanthan gum has become popular in the gluten free circles. It helps give the dough a sticky consistency.

Xanthan Gum may cause bloating in some people.

Xanthan gum may be derived from a variety of sources such as corn, wheat, or soy.  People with an allergy to one of the above, need to avoid foods with xanthan gum, or to ascertain the source.

Glycerides

Mono and diglycerides are commonly used in processed foods to maintain stability in liquid products and “improve” quality in baked goods. 

These additives are used to blend together ingredients that normally wouldn’t blend well (such as oil and water). They may be synthetically produced or derived from animal or vegetable sources, including partially hydrogenated oils. These glycerides could be created using both hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils or animal fats. In theory, this may transfer a small amount of trans fats into the product. The glycerides are synthesized into phosphates by reacting with phosphorus pentoxide, a potential environmental hazard. But that’s only part of the problem

Salt

Not all salt is created equal. Most likely the source used  is table salt which is very different than real salt. Table salt is chock full of chemicals.

Processed table salt is missing over 80 minerals. But only ONE mineral is added back in — iodine. That’s because iodine is the one mineral that causes the most obvious disease (goiter is sort of hard to not notice).

Healthy real salts are never adulterated like regular table salt, so they retain healthy minerals like copper, iodine, potassium, magnesium, chromium, zinc, iron and others.

Table salt is so refined that I consider it a food additive because certain brands look virtually like the same industrial chemical used to de-ice highways. Sea salt, on the other hand, is not synthesized in a lab. It is essentially water from a sea (or river) that gets evaporated and purified. This type of dried sea salt fully retains healthy minerals that you need for your very survival, and for normal thyroid, muscle, heart and pancreatic function. These types of salts won’t raise your blood pressure to the extent that table salt will.

Artificial Flavor

Vanillin is fake vanilla. Vanillin is chemically synthesized to taste like vanilla, but it’s not the real deal.

Companies add flavorings to make products taste better. They are created in a lab and the formulations are guarded as trade secrets.

Flavorings can compensate for flavor loss during processing, substitute for ingredients, lower production costs and increase shelf stability. Natural flavorings are more expensive to source than artificial flavors, but tend to be better received by consumers.

People sensitive to MSG, vegans, vegetarians and those with allergies should pay special attention to the phrase “natural flavorings” since glutamates, animal products or allergens may be the source of natural flavors. You can always contact the manufacturer for more information.

Caffeine

The focus of this article isn’t on caffeine. However, it is important to mention caffeine in this article as it pertains to who can consume and who really shouldn’t consume.

Fresh coffee from organic, whole beans that are pesticide-free can help keep your brain and muscle tissue young. This is not justifying a bad habit. Adding commercial milk or creamer, and worse yet sugar, will tend to diminish the value you receive from coffee.

Research has shown that coffee—in moderation—may have a number of health-promoting properties. These therapeutic benefits do NOT apply to pregnant women and children/teens.

Pregnant Women

A recent observational study looking at data for nearly 60,000 women found that coffee and other caffeinated beverages increased the odds of delivering a low birth weight baby and/or extended the time of gestation.

Every 100 mg of caffeine consumed by the mother per day equated to a nearly one ounce reduction in the baby’s weight at birth. Every 100 mg of caffeine also increased the length of the pregnancy by five hours. When the source of the caffeine was coffee, the length of the pregnancy was extended by eight hours for every 100 mg of caffeine.

Teens and Coffee

More and more teens are consuming caffeinated beverages. About three out of four children in the United States consume caffeine each day, according to research published earlier this year.  It might not be the healthiest beverage for teens to consume for many reasons. Study also shows that boys are more sensitive than girls.

Delayed Brain Development

For some, the whole purpose of drinking coffee is to help stay awake. For teens who consume three to four cups a day, however, coffee could interfere with the deep sleep necessary to promote brain development, reports a study published in 2013 in “PLOS One.” The study measured the effects of caffeine on adolescent rats and found that deep sleep was reduced, as well as the number of neural connections in their brains.

Mood Altering Drug

Not only do studies suggest that caffeine is known to disrupt teenagers’ sleep cycles, which can lead to issues like poor moods, agression, impusliveness, and loss of behavioral control, caffeine withdrawal can trigger headaches, lethary, inability to concentrate, irritability, depression, mood changes, and in some cases: nausea, vomitting or achy flu-like symptoms.

Risky Behavior

Teens’ brains go through a “pruning” stage during adolescence, hence not making the wisest decisions. Regular caffeine consumption – equaling around 220 milligrams a day — could increase their risk-taking behavior, as well as increase impulsivity, reports the National Council on Strength and Fitness. Four or more cups of caffeinated beverages a day is associated with regular cigarette use, aggressive behavior and attention problems, the council notes.

Increase Blood Pressure and Decreases Heart Rate

Prior research has shown that caffeine increases blood pressure and decreases heart rate in kids and adults.

Effects of Menstrual Cycle

Girls also experienced different heart-rate and blood-pressure changes throughout their menstrual cycle, the researchers said. This further supports their theory that sexual maturity changes the body’s reaction to caffeine.

BareFood Angel’s Closing Words

After doing some serious digging and investigating, one could see there are many hidden inflammatory ingredients. Alone and seldom, they aren’t going to make a huge impact on your health.

However, in aggregate consumption on a regular basis, these ingredients will cause inflammatory reaction to the body. Check out the 76 negative inflammatory effects just sugar has on our body, and think about how 14-15 teaspoons of sudden sugar might necessitate an inflammatory response to deal with them all.

Out of desire to give my tribe a solution that is easy to make, nutritious and delicious, my kids and I created this drink.

Ditch the coffee house ice blended drinks for this delicious healthy alternative.
This Iced Hazelnut Frappuccino recipe is not only packed with real ingredients and little sweetener, but also delicious, non acidic and non caffeinated.

My kids were inspired to show you in this video how easy it is to make one. Here is the recipe to make a kick ass Ice Hazelnut Frappe.

Teens making frappe image

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To Your Health,

Caroline

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About Caroline

My vision is to empower you to achieve your optimal health and lead a healthy life through awareness and education. It is to bring you simple, delicious, nutritionally dense foods and easy recipes that support the wellness of your mind, body and soul. My goal is to teach the effective principles and practices of our ancestors in a modern context forliving a vibrant life.

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