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The Truth About the Starbucks Diet

8/22 11:08:13

Be a regular at Starbucks, drop pounds? That's the gist of "The Starbucks Diet," which you might have seen all over the news recently.

For two years, 66-year-old Christina Hall ate and drank nothing but Starbucks 24/7—and lost roughly 85 pounds as a result. Sure, "The Starbucks Diet" sounds positively insane when you hear it . . . until you realize it's not that far-fetched of an idea at all.

Let's examine Hall's daily meal plan: Oatmeal and black coffee in the a.m., and for lunch and dinner, either a bistro box—basically a snack pack of fruit, breads, and cheese—or a panini from the coffee chain.

Hall reasoned that the nutritional information listed on each item allowed her to easily keep track of her caloric intake. And on top of her calorie-counting routine, she even managed to fit in a bike ride here and there. (Strapped for time, but still want to squeeze in a great workout? Pick up the Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts and get a ripped chest, arms, legs, and abs in just 15 minutes a day!)

But wait, this is Starbucks we're talking about, right? How could anyone lose that much weight at a chain that's notorious for high-calorie Frappuccinos and fattening pastries? The obvious answer: moderation, moderation, moderation.

“This is a classic example of showing that calories do count,” says Alexandra Caspero, R.D., owner of weight-management and sports-nutrition service Delicious-Knowledge.com. Sure, there are endless benefits to choosing healthy foods—decreased risk of chronic disease, a healthy immune system, and feeling fuller faster, to name but a few—but ultimately, calories count most in weight loss, she says. (But is too many cups of coffee bad for you in other ways? Click here to see how coffee may hurt your eyesight.)

Plus, Starbucks isn't just a coffee joint anymore. The shop has a decent offering of healthy options, too, which Hall clearly capitalized on, says Alan Aragon, M.S., the Men’s Health nutrition advisor.  “If you really want to nitpick, she could get more protein in her diet, incorporate a multivitamin, and throw in some calcium and omega-3 supplements,” Aragon says. “But the thing is, the average American could probably use these same tweaks in their diet.”

The simple verdict: Although there are plenty of wiser ways to lose weight—not to mention more cost-efficient alternatives—"The Starbucks Diet” isn't as crazy as the headlines make it seem. Afternoon coffee run, anyone? (And for more easy tips to lose your gut without starving, sign up for the Belly Off! newsletter.)

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