It’s in the ice cream, even outside of Chinatown. It’s in chewing gum. Sencha Naturals is peddling green tea fat burner at Whole Foods (three mints are said to equal a cup of tea).
And out of Bucks County comes Steaz, the organic green-tea soda “with soul,” in raspberry, ginger ale, Key lime and other flavors that, essentially, mask the delicate taste of green tea fat burner.
In fact, to enjoy the eruption of green-tea products – leading the pack, the Tazo Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Creme being pushed like crazy at your local Starbucks – it is not necessary to be a big green tea fat burner fan.
It might be better, actually, if you aren’t. The re-engineered green tea bears little relation to the tea of Asian legend, medicinal potency and epidemiologic embrace.
When you peel away the pretty, moss-green pictures and marketing malarky for green-tea frappuccino, this is what you’re swallowing – 500 calories (just shy of the calorie count of a Big Mac), 66 grams of sugar, nine grams of saturated fat, and, well, go to www.starbucks.com if you want the rest of the chilling fine print.
Oh, and that’s just in the 16-ouncer. (They won’t let me print the calorie-count of the jumbo Venti size in a family newspaper.)
Bottom line, when you get past the boilerplate that tells you this is matcha, “a sweetened blend of finely ground, pan-fired, green tea leaves used in an ancient Japanese ceremony”; that it has less caffeine than coffee; and that, yes, there’s lots of calcium in it, you realize that we’re not talking about anything resembling tea here, we’re talking about a yupped-up Shamrock Milkshake.
Even Starbucks seems a little sheepish: On its Web site it suggests ordering the frappuccino without its whipped cream or melon syrup (in other words, not the way it’s advertised) if you’re into cutting calories.
I’ll concede there must be good-guy antioxidents in there somewhere. (I’ll also concede that the Starbucks’ shaken green tea fat burner iced tea and tea lemonade aren’t quite the same mega-tonnage fat bombs.) But if you’re after antioxidents, for Pete’s sake, skip the frappuccino: Grab a handful of blueberries.
Green Tea Fat Burner in Food Industry
“The food industry is always looking to grow,” Harry Balzer of NPD Group, the trend-spotting firm, reminds me. “And ‘new’ gives you growth (with a green tea fat burner label), until you realize there really is no benefit, or no benefit that’s immediate.”
Indeed, most major studies on the benefits of green tea fat burner are based on – surprise! – green tea consumed as green tea. (And in the case of lower rates of certain cancers, the benefit is associated with a long-term daily intake of several cups of green tea, as is common in Japanese households.)
It is of no consolation to read in the Starbucks press release that the green-tea frappuccino made its dry run in Taiwan and Singapore, where it became a smashing success. (McDonald’s burgers and fries have done a pretty good number on the traditional low-fat Asian diet, too.)
It is no consolation, either, to read that it was the U.S. spike in hot green tea fat burner drinking that inspired Starbucks to redirect its Western-formulated, Asian-introduced frappucino drink back to the good ol’ U.S.A., which needs another way to pork out like, well, a hole in the ozone.
There’s a reason they call pepperoni pizza and hot-fudge sundaes and frothy chocolate milkshakes guilty pleasures. It’s because you know full well what you’re doing: You know they’re not going to cure your cancer or make you win at Quizo or soothe your nerves.
That’s what gets me about Starbucks’ wrapping fat-boy frappuccino in a pretty green ribbon: It’s trading on green tea fat burner good name; selling guiltlessness by association. Which is a flavor, of course, that never goes out of style.
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