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It is About Brain Food and Not Brain Freeze

February 22, 2012 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

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It is About Brain Food and Not Brain Freeze

During my childhood, my mother told me a lot of nutritional "facts" that turned out to be totally untrue. I'm not sure if she really believed them, or if she just wanted me to eat well.

For instance, while growing up, I absolutely believed that everyone should eat the crusts on their whole grain bread because that's where the fibre is and that breakfast cereals with a leprechaun or a tiger on the box would rot my brain.

To my Mom's credit, she made it the norm to eat nutritious meals most of the time and reserve some less nutritious foods as "once in a while" foods. Some kids aren't so lucky.On my drive into work this morning, I saw two teenagers walking to their high school. They were sucking back frozen blended coffee beverages from the coffee shop several blocks down. One girl was drinking a 16-ounce beverage and the other had a 24-ounce beverage; both beverages were topped with whip cream and chocolate sauce.

When I arrived at the office, those girls were still on my mind. I was curious about the nutrition content of what they were drinking, so I checked out the company's website.

  Calories Fat (grams) Sodium (milligrams) Sugar (grams/teaspoons)
16-ounce beverage 410 20 260 52/12
24-ounce beverage 520 23 350 68/16

At 410 and 520 calories, this represents about 23-30% of their daily calorie needs (1750 calories per day for sedentary teenage girls). If this was how they started their day, what else are they eating and drinking? That's a lot of calories to be using up on something that provides limited nutrition.

As a kid, I felt cheated when I wasn't allowed to have pop or drinks served by a mascot or cartoon character whenever I wanted. But while my mom may have creatively stretched the facts about why certain foods and drinks weren't good choices, she made a lot of really good nutrition decisions that got me off to a great start in life.

What are you drinking on your way to school or work?

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Comments (3)


Posted on Wednesday February 22, 2012 a 11:59am

Wow, that really makes me think about what I'm drinking. I only do it once in a while. Maybe I should just go with the ordinary coffee.

Wendy Wendy

Posted on Thursday February 23, 2012 a 1:34am

Ever since I saw the calories, I stopped with those sugary drinks. Now I try to stick to light calorie beer and white wine, but only after 3pm.


Posted on Friday February 24, 2012 a 2:37pm

One way i try to manage calories with hot drinks is to avoid whipped toppings, use low-fat or soy milk and order smaller sizes. Protions are so much larger now then they used to be. If you are having a drink with a syrup added to it next time try asking for half the amount.


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