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The #1 Unhealthiest Starbucks Coffee Drink, According to a Dietitian

This frappuccino is definitely better as a 'special occassion' treat.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Starbucks is a haven for coffee aficionados who love options and customers who crave consistency in their brews. The coffee chain boasts an extensive menu that's virtually the same no matter which location you visit, making it the perfect place to grab a drink wherever you are in the world. Starbucks is also great for customers who want healthier coffee options because they offer easy ways for you to customize your order. But that doesn't mean that this cafe is without sugar-laden menu items.

From the indulgent Peppermint Mocha Latte to the beloved PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte), many of Starbucks' offerings are loaded with sugar, sometimes packing in a staggering 70 grams of the sweet stuff in just one cup. Treating yourself to a sweet beverage now and then is perfectly fine, but consuming these massively sugary drinks regularly can lead to a host of health issues, such as an increased risk of inflammation, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

As we mentioned, Starbucks has plenty of sugary menu items that we think are best left as a "once in a while" treat, but what are some of the absolute worst ones on the menu? To find out, we talked with Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD to get her choice for the unhealthiest Starbucks drink.

Read on to see what Sabat has to say and to learn about a few healthier drink alternatives you can order next time. Then, check out The Healthiest Starbucks Breakfast Menu Items.

The unhealthiest coffee drink at Starbucks is…the Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino

glass of Starbucks Frappuccino on a green background
Nutrition (Per 16 oz Grande Size):
Calories: 470
Fat: 17 g (Saturated Fat: 11 g)
Sodium: 280 mg
Carbs: 73 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 73 g)
Protein: 6 g

The Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino is a favorite among many frappuccino lovers, with its festive peppermint twist making it a seasonal delight that can be enjoyed year-round. This drink may be delectable, but in terms of nutrition, it's by far one of the worst options on the Starbucks menu.

"Packed with ice, milk, coffee, and an array of syrups including coffee frappuccino syrup, vanilla syrup, white chocolate mocha sauce, and peppermint syrup, this beverage is a sugar and calorie bomb, boasting a staggering 470 calories and a whopping 73 grams of sugar," says Sabat.

To put this into perspective, consider that the American Heart Association recommends women consume less than 25 grams of added sugar per day, and men less than 36 grams. The Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino surpasses these limits by two to three times, so you can see why this drink may not be the best choice to make consistently.

Not only is this beverage high in calories, fat, and sugar, but it also features some unwanted additives. "This drink's ingredient list includes additives like carrageenan, potassium sorbate, and mono and diglycerides, which have been associated with potential health risks," she says.

"While it may offer a delightful flavor profile," says Sabat, "the abundance of sugars, artificial flavors, and potentially harmful additives make it a particularly poor choice for those concerned about their health and wellness."

 10 Worst Starbucks Drinks, According to Dietitians

Drink This Instead: Iced Caffè Latte

glass of Starbucks iced latte on a green background
Nutrition (Per 16 oz Grande Size):
Calories: 130
Fat: 4.5 g (Saturated Fat: 2.5 g)
Sodium: 115 mg
Carbs: 13 g (Fiber: 0 g, Sugar: 11 g)
Protein: 8 g

One of the great things about Starbucks is how easy it is to make customizations to their drinks. Unfortunately, their frappuccinos pose a challenge as they each need the Starbucks Frappuccino Syrup as their base, which automatically adds a substantial amount of sugar before any flavored syrups are incorporated. Thankfully, Starbucks' coffees, cold brews, and lattes can easily be tailored to align with your health goals and taste preferences.

When you're in the mood for a sweet, cold coffee drink without the sugar overload, consider opting for the Starbucks Iced Caffè Latte. This drink comes with espresso, milk, and ice, delivering a mere 11 grams of sugar and 130 calories. If you're in the mood for some flavor, you can add some of your favorite syrup, but ask for only one pump—the standard amount of pumps for any syrup in a grande drink is four, which will certainly send your sugar content toppling over the limit.

Another option if you're craving a refreshingly sweet coffee drink is the Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. Though it contains 14 grams of added sugar and shares some additives with frappuccinos, it's not the best choice for your "everyday" drink, but it's a great alternative for those seeking a sugary treat without exceeding their daily sugar limit by threefold!

 7 Healthy Starbucks Drinks to Order (& 8 to Skip)

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