Half-Size Me!

A couple of weeks ago, Starbucks announced their new Trenta cup size. (I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m actually a big fan of Starbucks so I wanted to get the research right before I had my tantrum.)

The Trenta will be the next size up from the Venti. The word venti means twenty. As in twenty ounces of steamy caffeinated morning bliss. So, it’s not a big leap to figuring out that the word trenta is also in reference to the new size – thirty ounces. Thirty ounces of coffee or some kind of coffee-themed beverage. When I first read the announcement in the National Post online, they had an illustration with the article that’s been making the rounds, but I’ll paste it here anyway. The visual makes the point better than I can with words.

More coffee than your stomach can actually hold.


This isn’t a new phenomenon to the market. The Seven Eleven has been serving thirty two ounce Slurpees and Big Gulps for as long as I can remember. Not to mention the sixty four ounce Double Gulp. Fountain drinks we already know are sugar-loaded tooth rotters, but I can’t help finding the Starbucks announcement a little deceptive.

The world’s biggest coffee chain said unsweetened drinks in the new size will have fewer than 90 calories and sweetened versions will have less than 230 calories.

Ok, if you’re having black coffee or clear tea. But according to Starbucks own nutritional information, (here) a sixteen ounce, (Grande) latte made with 2% milk is good for one hundred and ninety of your best calories! That’s without any of the flavour syrups or whipped cream that come with a Mochachino or Caramel Macchaiato. Not only do I question the calorie claim, there’s no mention of how much sugar, caffeine, and good ol’ fashioned fat that comes along for the thirty ounce ride.

Portion control is a big issue in North America. If you’re not getting the biggest size or adding on the combo for the bargain price, it feels like wasted money. Most of the time, those portions are actually more than enough food for two people. And how many “diets” tell you you can “eat as much as you want”? Just so long as it’s no fat, no carbs, don’t mix this food with that. But, a stomach is really only meant to hold so much and all-you-can-eat is never really a good idea. Since the 1970’s portion sizes across the nutritional board have increased drastically taking obesity rates with them.

  Typical serving in the 1970s: Common serving size today:
Cola 10 oz bottle, 120 cal 40-60oz fountain drink, 580 cal
French fries About 30, 475 cal About 50, 790 cal
Hamburger 3-4 oz meat, 330 cal 6-12 oz meat, 1000 cal
Bagel 2-3 oz, 230 cal 5-7 oz, 550 cal
Steak 8-12 oz, 690 cal 16-22 oz, 1260 cal
Pasta 1 cup, 200 cal 2-3 cups, 600 cal
Baked potato 5-7 oz, 180 cal 1 lb, 420 cal
Candy bar 1 1/2 oz, 220 cal 3-4 oz, 580 cal
Popcorn 1 1/2 cups, 80 cal 8-16 cups, 880 cal
 From Sizer & Whitney’s Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies (11th Edition)

Even our dinner dishes at home have inflated from nine to twelve inch plates. That’s a simple fix if you can get your eyes around all that empty space on a reasonably portioned plate. I like to use the bread and butter plates at home, but my friend Stacy really has the restaurant controls mastered. She orders her food in a to-go container or gets one on the side, when she’s content she just closes the lid, has lunch for tomorrow, and doesn’t really think about it.  (So much Discipline!)

The kid’s menu usually has the most reasonable portions, but it’s frowned upon to order from it in your thirties and who really wants grilled cheese or chicken fingers with chardonnay? I’ve been to a few restaurants that have “lunch size” and “dinner size” entrees and I’d really like to see more of that!  If I’m still hungry I can order a side dish or save room for desert.

If I can have a super-size combo for a dollar, I think it’s only fair to have a mini-mized combo minus a dollar!

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Knight and Dave