Ingredient Label Series - II

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Welcome to the second post in the Ingredient Label Series!

In this blog post series we are taking a look at the ingredient labels of some popular products and determining what some of the ingredients are, what to watch out for and how to make an educated decision when buying products.

If you missed the last few posts, check out The Real Way to Read A Nutrition Label and Ingredient Label Series – I to catch up.

Today we are looking at a popular coffee drink, Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee.

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ngredients: Skim milk, sugar, coffee, cream, potassium phosphate, pectin

There are a few red flag ingredients in this product, even though it’s a relatively short list.

Potassium phosphate is a thickener and stabilizer used in lots of processed food products including deli meats and soda. This is an unnatural and processed form of the mineral potassium, and when consumed in large amounts, can raise your potassium levels beyond the normal range.  The Environmental Working Group puts potassium containing additives on their list titled “EWG’s Dirty Dozen Guide To Food Additives” as one of the “ingredients associated with serious health concerns, additives banned or restricted in other countries and other substances that shouldn’t be in food.” This in itself is enough reason to avoid it altogether!

Pectin in its natural form is a soluble fiber found in the peels of fruits and is perfectly fine to consume. A synthetic form is commonly added to jams and jellies for thickening purposes, like in this drink. This synthetic form is what is concerning since it often contains fillers and other chemicals, not just the natural fruit pectin. Consumed in large amounts, it can cause digestive discomfort and many people are allergic or sensitive to synthetic forms of pectin.

Sugar is not an inherently bad ingredient. And I don't recommend avoiding it completely, mostly for your own sanity! However, the dose determines the poison and this drink contains A LOT of sugar. 45 grams in this entire bottle, to be accurate. That's just shy of 4 tablespoons of sugar. Consuming this much sugar in a short time frame will spike your insulin levels, and put you on a blood sugar rollercoaster. A short time after consuming this much sugar you may have an energy spike, then a dramatic crash leading to moodiness, cravings, hunger, energy depletion and weight gain. Sugar has a profound affect on nearly every organ system in our bodies, and while it's not a black and white answer of how much sugar is appropriate for one person to the next, 45 grams is far too much for anyone in one drink. 

Bottom line, I would recommend avoiding this product, due to the several types of food additives and high sugar content. I recommend searching for an iced coffee drink that is unsweetened and then adding in a few drops of liquid stevia to sweeten it to your taste. Iced coffee is a very popular drink nowadays that you can usually find in an unsweetened variety without additives, too. Coffee, milk and cream should be the only ingredients in a drink like this!

Hope you are enjoying the Ingredient Label Series and stay tuned for more posts in the near future! Let me know if you have any questions, comments. Thanks for reading!