If I can piggyback a bit, the New York Times certainly has the room to carry me. And Mark Bittman is a big reason why. He's authored many cookbooks, and frankly, more useful food polemics than the more famous Michael Pollan.
His latest deals with breakfast cereal, or in other words, America's morning bowl of candy. We're told it's the most important meal of the day (for some reason), but people are often too busy (they'd say) to prepare something themselves. As such, they pour crisped up something or other from a box, douse it in milk, and consume.
I'll stop there, because there's no reason to write the linked article again. What I will do, however, is draw a parallel with coffee.
There is an ever increasing body of scientific literature that links coffee drinking with lower incidence of just about everything you want to avoid. It probably does some good things too, especially if you're about to go run. But while the evidence is growing, it's unfortunately irrelevant for most coffee drinkers. That's because, when most people refer to their morning coffee, they are, in fact, talking about a bucket of milk and sugar.
Before I go any further, I should say this: There is nothing wrong with people making that choice. I ate a cookie yesterday, and do not feel as if I've contributed to the metabolic epidemic in this country. Eat what you like; drink what you like.
It is a little troubling, however, to see the number of people for whom a mocha is breakfast. It's not that they can't enjoy such a drink - just that it's better served as a treat, rather than a meal.
Perhaps more troubling is that these are the sorts of coffee drinks most likely to be consumed by the younger crowd. Teenagers do not drink black coffee. They do like milkshakes though, even with trace espresso tossed in. This is a lifetime taste we're encouraging, and perhaps, some damaging consequences are being facilitated.
Of course, none of this is really my concern. Nor, in fact, will it be a revelation to anyone. No one orders a mocha thinking that it's the healthy choice. Perhaps I'd be better served not to undermine my sentiments so soon after expressing them, but in this case, it can't be helped. What to eat and drink is a free choice, as it should be. But sometimes, the better decision has to be noted.