Love Starbucks? Know before you go!

Love Starbucks? So do I, but know before you go!

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What prompted this (to see the video of this blog, scroll to bottom or click here) was when a friend said “it would be interesting to do a video on what people consume at Starbucks. Sit there on a busy Saturday afternoon. I bet people don’t know what they’re consuming in terms of calories and fat and sugar”.

I said: “You’re probably right. I bet they don’t know”. So I did a little eavesdropping. Normally, I don’t care what people order but obviously for the purpose of this video, I needed to know.

One of the most commonly ordered drinks is the Caramel Macchiato: a Caramel Macchiato is freshly steamed milk with vanilla flavored syrup marked with espresso and finished with caramel sauce.  Yum!

16 oz is the most common size. For those that frequent Starbucks you know they have the Tall, the Grande, the Venti. The 16 oz, the middle size, is the most common size.

In a 16 oz Caramel Macchiato there are 270 calories, 6g saturated fat and 32g of sugar. When it comes to the sugar we have to be careful because that includes not just added sugar but also what is naturally occurring in milk, such as lactose. So we’ll subtract that away but we are still looking at almost 4 teaspoons—each of these packets representing a teaspoon of added sugar to that drink.  Significant when you consider that American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women per day and 9 teaspoons for men.

Another common drink is the Frappuccino line—which I just think is brilliant marketing strategy to invent basically a caffeinated milkshake! But the Mocha Frappuccino is the one that I have—it is a blended beverage of coffee with rich Mocha flavored sauce, blended with milk and ice, topped with sweetened whipped cream.

Again, this 16 oz, the middle size, is the most commonly ordered size and in this 16 oz you have 400 calories, 9g saturated fat and 60g of sugar. Again, we take the lactose out of the equation but you are still looking at almost 13 packets or 13 teaspoons of added sugar. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t open these up individually and eat them but that is essentially what you are doing when you’re drinking liquid calories, liquid sugar like this. That by the way is over a quarter of a cup of sugar.

Good news is that there is a light Frappuccino line which is great. The equivalent of a Mocha Frappuccino in the light version is only 130 calories. So 400 to 130 calories—definitely a better option. I don’t want to discourage you from going to Starbucks but I want to encourage you to know what it is that you’re consuming.  Starbucks has a great website at that lists a number of drinks that are less than 200 calories. That’s going to fit into your budget much better, specially when you consider that 400 – 500 calories might be a typical meal. So there you have a lit bit of information about Starbucks.

Consider this a public service announcement from your registered dietitian nutritionist!


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