Starbucks Hold the Sugar, Please!

For so many people, having a cup of coffee to start their day, and then more during the course of the day, is just part of any normal day. Over 60% of Americans claim to start their day with a cup of coffee. And while coffee does have many health benefits, like containing some antioxidants, and helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, dietitians say that people have no idea as to the negative impact that drinking too much of certain kinds of coffee can have on their health.

Too Much Sugar

But wait Jan! We thought you love coffee and think it has great health benefits! Well I do, but when that plain cup of Joe gets converted into the sugary lattés or the blended drinks too often, it can have a negative effect. Many of the fancy Starbucks drinks are loaded in extra sugar and calories, which can cause major hormone imbalances in the body, let alone contributing to the obesity epidemic which we know to be at record highs.

The Unicorn Frappuccino

We all know that the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino (which was made for Instagram fame and fanfare and followed by others such as The Mermaid Frappuccino) was the real rage. But have a closer look at the Unicorn drink. Did you know that a Grande of 16 ounces contains around 410 calories with 59 grams of sugar? If you need to make a comparison, a 16 ounce Coca-Cola contains 190 calories with 52 grams of sugar thrown in.  And we all know that Coke is way over-loaded with sugar. The Unicorn definitely exceeds what nutritionists would consider acceptable levels of calories and sugars in a beverage. And the Unicorn isn’t the worst one either. Look at the S’mores Frappuccino – it consists of 490 calories and 67 grams of sugar in the 16-ounce Grande serving!

Too Much Sugar

A study completed in 2016 and published in the JAMA Internal Medicine publication states that if a person’s calorie intake on a daily basis consists of 25% or more sugar, then their risk of perishing from heart disease actually doubles, compared to diets that consist of less than 10% sugar. Other diseases that sugar detrimentally affects are insulin resistance, pancreatic cancer, liver failure, and of course obesity.

Starbucks Coffee

Registered nutritionists/dietitians say that by drinking the high-calorie Starbucks beverages, you cause your blood glucose to spike up, which can increase problems like insulin resistance, which is associated with diseases like type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, a Starbucks spokesperson has said that Starbucks is now committed to reducing their added sugar in some of the indulgent beverages by 25% by the end 2020, but that ultimately consumers have the responsibility of making their own nutritional choices.

5 Starbucks Drinks With Less Sugar

Of course, this is not to say you can’t enjoy you favorite rich Starbuck’s drink occasionally. But take a look at these 5 Starbuck drinks you can enjoy now.

Iced coffee

This Starbuck’s summer staple drink comes in an unsweetened version with no sugar and no calories. The sweetened version is 60 calories with 15 g of sugar. Adding some whole milk to your unsweetened ice coffee is just a mere 30 calories with 2 g sugar.

Starbucks Iced Coffee


Teavana Shaken Ice Passion Tango Tea

You should ask for the non-sweetened version of this delightful fruity drink. It already contains plenty of zest, so you won’t miss the added sugar or syrup.


If you love the steamed milk you get in a latte, and also love the pick-me-up of the expresso, but want to cut back on calories, the Americano with steamed milk can be a real favorite at Starbucks.

Mint Majesty Hot Tea

Any of the herbal teas contain 0 calories and have plenty of antioxidants. The Starbucks mint tea has a really refreshing taste, not only delicious but providing health benefits for your GI system and gut. Not only do you cut back on sugar, but if you are trying to cut down on caffeine as well, this is the ideal drink.

Brewed Chai Tea with a Splash of Steamed Milk

Ah, Chai Tea! My favorite! A tall Chai Tea Latté has 42 grams of sugar and contains 240 calories and 45 grams of carbs; more sugar than what is needed in a day, plus the carbs. But if you’d rather opt for your brewed hot chai tea, asking for steamed skim milk instead, and you cut it right down to only 30 calories!

I'll Drink (coffee) To That!

If you want to slim down and cut your sugar intake, you can still find what you are looking for at your favorite Starbucks – and that’s good news! Can we drink to that?


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