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Yoni Freedhoff M.D.  Headshot

Tim Hortons Junkies, Prepare to Gain Weight

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Did you hear that some Tim Hortons locations are getting rid of their smallest size coffee and shifting everything else up to one size larger? What was once a medium is now a small, a large is now a medium, and so on and so forth.

Just for kicks, let's talk calories.

Let's say you're a double-double drinker (as many Canadians are -- for my American friends, a double-double is double cream, double sugar). Let's also say that you have two a day (meaning your Tim's fix was two small double-doubles daily). If you continue to order up the same, given Tim's new larger sizes, how many extra calories could you be consuming a year? I estimated the calorie intake using Tim Hortons' nutrition calculator.

  • Small: 18,250 extra calories (roughly 5lbs more).
  • Medium: 18,250 extra calories (roughly 5lbs more).
  • Large: 29,200 extra calories (roughly 8lbs more).

So for those keeping score, or if you yourself are a Tim's junkie, if you gain weight consequent to these changes, it's not necessarily because of your genetics, it's not necessarily because of inactivity or a lack of "willpower," and it's not necessarily because of epigenetics, obesogens, advertisements or ill-directed crop subsidies. It could be because of one single, solitary change in your daily food environment.

Think anything else has changed in our food environment since let's say the 1970s? How many other changes have there been that have been foisted on us that impact on weight?

What year did chocolate milk start in school lunch programs, or vending machines show up in school halls? When did pizza and ice cream days become entrenched as fundraisers? Which genius decided that kids need treats each and every time they step on a blade of grass outside, or "sports drinks" when we were all just fine with water? How large has your go-to fast food combo grown? What meal is your boss bringing in for you to eat while you work late? How many foods are you buying that your parents used to make from scratch? How many times are you going out to eat or buying takeout because your day is spent tethered to an electronic leash and your evening chauffeuring kids around when you used to be free-range?

I could go on, and on, and on.

The world has changed. While there are certainly hundreds of factors involved in societal weight gain, there's no doubt (in my mind at least), the most important factor by far is the environment we've got not choice but to live in, and if we really want to see things change, it's the environment we need to work on.

Now of course bodies aren't perfect math formulas, and not every Tim's drinker's going to gain weight -- but some are. And that said, daily Tim's coffee drinkers, maybe now's the time to make the switch to black?

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