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Oz Garcia

Oz Garcia

Posted: February 9, 2011 07:27 AM

By now it is widely known that Starbucks will be taking its already larger-than-life coffee chain to another level with the new Trenta-sized coffee next month.

The Starbucks Trenta will be 31 ounces or about four cups of coffee and will be only be available for iced coffee and tea drinks.

While I have always recommend tea in place of coffee, I worry about the growing trend of excess more than the harms of the coffee bean. Following in the footsteps of the Big Gulp, the Big Mac and every king size candy bar, this is an enormous problem of the American culture at large.

This drink is beyond super-size, it is downright huge. According to Canada's National Post, the Trenta is a good 16ml larger than the average human's stomach capacity. Basically, this cup is a small bucket. Is this really necessary?

As the coffee cup grows larger in size and volume its contents inevitably become richer in calories because you are adding sugar, sweetener, milk or cream proportionately for taste.

Added to the size issue is the enormous amount of caffeine that the Trenta will contain. The average-sized coffee cup has about 150 mg of caffeine. Experts estimate that the Trenta could have up to an estimated 300 mg.

Although the long-term effects of too much caffeine are controversial and somewhat unclear, it is clearly addictive. Coffee is also believed to make people more susceptible to the negative risks to blood pressure, heart rate and brain function. Caffeine overconsumption has also been linked to an onset of Diabetes later in life. Currently, 27 million Americans are known to have diabetes, and a further 67 million are thought to be prediabetic.

What I find most discomforting is that with the roll-out of the Trenta, Starbucks is continuing to distort people's abilities to make good choices in all categories. The fact that people seem to think that bigger is better is already telling us that we have a highly conditioned population that is generally unable to make good nutrition choices.

It's a competitive market and other companies will likely follow suit. Super-size will become the norm. Soon Dunkin Donuts will be offering a tanker-sized Coolatta; Big Gulps and Big Macs will get even bigger. The evolution of bigger products will begin.

To me, this enlarging of unhealthy foods almost seems like a biological, biochemical, sociological experiment on society to see how much we can take until we actually change it.

Today, 20 percent of kids and young adults under 19 years of age are obese. If our culture continues to praise this "bigger is better" concept our life expectancy will decline.

We must be more conscious in our choices if we want this trend to change. We will all benefit when we turn away from the more-is-more attitude and begin to embrace the fact that less is often more.

 

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