• Tue, Aug 23 2011

We Researched It: The Healthiest And Unhealthiest Coffees At Starbucks

We all love to stop at Starbucks for a morning boost or afternoon snack, but do you know how many calories are in those iced coffees, espressos and Frappuccinos? Just how skinny is their skinny latte? And where do you find the nutrition facts for the soy in their soy chai lattes?

Here are my findings coming to you live from my favorite coffeehouse as I sit outdoors and enjoy my caramel iced coffee (which I’m happy to report only contains 190 calories):

Note: All nutritional content is based on a 16 ounce Grande size.

Worst Offenders:

Ranging from 370 to 570 calories and 17 to 22 grams of fat, it’s safe to say that none of the espressos made with whole milk and whipped cream are good choices. We recommend ordering your drinks made with low- or no-fat milk (and go for a tall, not a venti), but regardless of size or type of milk, these drinks are best left alone:

Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha — Made with whole milk and whipped cream, this has a whopping 570 calories and 22 grams of fat. Even with skim milk, it still has 430 calories.

Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino — Just the name of this frosty drink gives it away. It has 500 calories, 9 grams of fat and 98 carbs.

Iced Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha — With whole milk and whipped cream, it has 530 calories and 22 grams of fat.

Caffe Mocha — With whole milk and whipped cream, this has 360 calories, 19 grams of fat and 42 carbs. I wish they listed sugar content too because I bet this is loaded with the sweet stuff. Switch to non-fat milk and hold the whip, and now it has 220 calories and only 2.5 grams of fat. This may not be the worst latte, but since it’s what I often order, I was eager to find out.

 

Best Choices:

Frothy drinks with whipped cream topping haven’t earned Starbucks a reputation for being healthy, but it’s possible to get your java without a jolt of sugar and fat. Try these options:

Regular Coffee — Even with whole milk added, a Caffe Misto only contains 130 calories, 7 grams of fat and 9 grams of carbs. Opt for non-fat milk and you can practically get out the door without any calories (70) or fat.

Cappuccino — With non-fat milk and no whip, this contains just 80 calories and 0 fat.

Iced Skinny Flavored Latte — When made with non-fat milk, this cold drink has just 80 calories and 12 carbs.

Iced Caffe Latte — Again, with non-fat milk (are you seeing a pattern here?), this has only 90 calories, 0 fat and 13 carbs.

Tazo Teas — With no milk added, most teas have zero calories, fat or carbs. Add whole milk, and they soar to 220 to 390 calories with 7 to 13 grams of fat.

A note about soy milk: Starbucks offers soy milk as a non-dairy option for any of their drinks. Be forewarned though, it’s a vanilla soy with sugar, meaning, not only will your sugar content go up, but your calorie count will, too.

For a complete listing of all beverages, check out their website.

Photo: Starbucks.com

 

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  • jules

    exactly how much milk are you adding to those teas and regular coffees?

    Even if you added a quarter cup of whole milk, it would be more like 40 calories and 2 grams of fat.

    • Briana Rognlin

      You’re right – adding whole milk, creamer and sugar to any of the drinks adds calories, but shouldn’t we all know that dumping a bunch of extras in your coffee adds calories (and fat, if it’s cream or whole milk)? It’s easy to get mindless about adding things we consider “condiments” but the devil is in the details–all the milk, mayo, ketchup and sour cream that we add to otherwise healthy or low-calorie foods really pack on the calories.

    • Bobbi

      Tea lattes, like Chai, are at least half milk.

      Also, most drinks are made with 2%

    • Moira

      If they’re taking their sources from the starbucks website, it’s likely they’re talking about tea and coffee misto’s, which are half milk.

      As for the rest of these…Yeah. I cringe when people order a venti peppermint white mocha at christmas. And don’t even get me started on the eggnog lattes.

      As well, Bobbi’s right, most drinks are made with 2%.

      Want to get healthy at starbucks and still drink your favorite drink? Ask your barista how to cut calories, odds are good we’ve thought about it, because the 15 pounds you gain after getting hired and discovering that drinks are free on shift? Not fun.

  • Kim Foster, MD

    I’m glad to see your footnote about soy milk in there. It would be easy to assume that you’re making a healthier choice by opting for soy–but not necessarily, with all that extra sugar!

  • Beth

    Thanks for the Soy tip! I ALWAYS get soy lattes from there and now I know why they are so tasty! Back to skim I go! hahahaha

  • queencaffeine

    Being a real coffee drinker my entire life all I have to say is that all those embellishments cannot hide the horrible tasting coffee that is served at Starbucks it should really be Starsucks. McDonald’s has way finer coffee, at least is not burnt!