Skip to content

5 Iced Coffee Brands That Use the Lowest Quality Ingredients

You may want to skip over these next time you're at the grocery store, per the advice of dietitians.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

There's nothing quite like popping into your favorite coffee shop to grab a delicious iced beverage that you can sip on all morning. In fact, we are year-round iced coffee drinkers over here. (Just because the weather is cooling down, it doesn't mean you have to give up your preferred way of drinking coffee in the morning or on an afternoon break.) But sometimes, time and money come into play, and you may not always have the resources to enjoy this treat with your friends at your favorite local coffee shop.

Thankfully, many brands bottle up their iced coffee and sell it in grocery stores, so that you can save time and money by bringing some home. With so many selections to choose from in stores, it can feel overwhelming to try and make healthy choices for yourself. How do you know which of the many pre-bottled iced coffee selections that are out there contain the best ingredients—and more importantly, which have the worst or lowest quality ingredients?

This is exactly why we talked with a handful of dietitians to get their votes on the iced coffee brands with the lowest quality ingredients. Although you don't have to avoid these bottled iced coffees altogether, it's helpful to be aware of and understand what you're consuming with your morning cup of joe.

So, without further ado, here are five iced coffee brands that dietitians claim contain the lowest quality ingredients.

Starbucks Frappuccino

Starbucks Bottled Frap
Courtesy of Amazon

You'll get a huge helping of added sugar if you order a Frappuccino at your local Starbucks—and the bottled version is no exception.

"This iced coffee contains 34 grams of added sugar, and you may not notice it in the ingredient label, but maltodextrin is also a sweetener, just like sugar," says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RDN, co-author of the Menopause Diet Plan, A Natural Guide to Hormones, Health, and Happiness.

"Thirty-four grams of sugar is nearly nine teaspoons added sugar. For that reason alone, I'd pass on this one," says Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, and member of our Medical Expert Advisory Board.

International Delight Caramel Macchiato Iced Coffee

International Delight
Courtesy of International Delight

International Delight is a company known for its many flavors of coffee creamer, but they also sell iced coffees you can enjoy at home. Unfortunately, many of these options are full of sugar and strange ingredients.

"This iced coffee contains gellan gum, which is similar to carrageen, yet touts that it contains no carrageenan," says Ward. "It also markets that it has no corn syrup, but that doesn't prevent it from providing 46% of the suggested daily added sugar intake for adults."

8 Coffee Creamers With the Highest Quality Ingredients

Java Monster Nitro Cold Brew Latte, Coffee + Energy Drink

Monster Cold brew

Monster is known for its energy drinks, but the company makes cold brew as well. While this may sound tempting, Young suggests skipping this one if you can.

"This product contains sucralose, an artificial sweetener and sugar substitute, whose long-term use is questionable," says Young.

In fact, recent research has found a potential association between sucralose and obesity, inflammation, and even diabetes. So, if you need a caffeine boost, stick a regular iced coffee instead of the Monster energy drink version.

Chobani Cold Brew Coffee Sweet Creamer

Chobani cold brew

At first glance, one may assume that a Chobani iced coffee would be healthy, especially since the company is known for its delicious yogurts. However, this one is loaded with sugar.

"One serving contains 15 grams of added sugar, which is roughly four packets of sugar added to your morning cold brew," says Sydney Greene, MS, RD.

If you're monitoring your sugar intake, you'd be better off sticking to a black iced coffee and adding in a little bit of sugar on your own. That way, you can control your portions more easily.

8 Coffee Shop Chains With the Best Quality Coffee

Dunkin' French Vanilla Iced Coffee

dunkin iced coffee
Courtesy of Walmart

Whether you're pulling into the drive-thru or grabbing a bottle of this French Vanilla Iced Coffee, you're almost always guaranteed to consume a lot of added sugar with to Dunkin' iced coffees.

"One bottle contains a whopping 40 grams of sugar. In addition to the mega amount of sugar, this coffee drink contains potassium phosphate, a food additive used to thicken and emulsify foods," says Greene.

Again, you're much better off adding your own sugar to plain coffee in order to avoid crazy amounts of added sugar in one serving. You don't need 40 grams of sugar to make a delicious cup of iced coffee!

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha
Filed Under