COLUMBIA, Mo., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Coffee and energy drinks such as Starbucks' new 31-ounce drink, Trenta, can be loaded with excess sugar and calories, a U.S. researcher says.
Ellen Schuster, a University of Missouri nutrition expert, says consumers should be wary of extra calories and sugar in the quest for bigger, bolder drinks. For example, a Trenta-sized Starbuck's lemonade could include 21 teaspoons of sugar, Schuster says.
"The sheer size of new coffee and energy drinks increases consumers' potential for unhealthy calorie and sugar consumption," Schuster, state specialist for University of Missouri Extension and the College of Human Environmental Sciences, says in a statement.
Health experts at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., say moderate consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages is unlikely to cause harm, but large quantities -- such as more than four cups of coffee -- can cause difficulty sleeping, irritability, restlessness, stomach problems and irregular heartbeat.
"Ideally, it's best to avoid drinking calories, because drinks leave you less full than solid foods," Schuster says. "By eating calories in the form of high-calorie, high-sugar drinks, people crowd out other nutritious foods. However, like any indulgence, it's fine to order a 'Trenta' drink as an occasional treat."