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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Calorie Count Lesson #1: Get the Croissant

Posted By on Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 2:28 PM

click to enlarge Trauma moment: calculating how many of these we've eaten in our lifetime. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Trauma moment: calculating how many of these we've eaten in our lifetime.

Standing in front of the pastry case at the local coffee shop, we're prone to make decisions based on certain assumptions about nutrition: Since dried fruit is healthier than doughnuts, we pick the blueberry scone over the apple fritter. Seeing as how bananas trump butter on the USDA pyramid, that slice of banana-nut bread is clearly better for us than a chocolate croissant.

Oho! How wrong we have been.

Today's the first day SFoodie has stepped into a chain store ― Starbucks, to be exact ― since Jan. 1, when the California state law requiring chain restaurants to post calorie counts went into effect. We went there, in fact, to confirm a horrified friend's report: "Did you know that a slice of Starbucks' banana-nut bread has 490 calories," he gaped to us after a trip to one branch, "and a chocolate croissant only has 300?"

It's true. Furthermore, a blueberry scone (460 cal.) is worse for you

than an apple fritter (420 cal.), and an apple bran muffin (350 cal.) is

more densely packed with calories than a three-cheese bagel (310 cal.).

It's one thing to know the calorie counts for the full line of

Starbucks products are online, and another thing to see them next to the prices. You can slam the nationwide coffee chain all you want, O S.F. food snob,

but you know the locally baked goods at your favorite Third Wave cafe

aren't much healthier.

From here on out, we're sticking to the French pastries.

Have a calorie count lesson you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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