When we think about unhealthy drinks, our minds immediately go to soda. But, a pick-me-up from Starbucks can be incredibly unhealthy if you order poorly. While a simple coffee is excellent, many of their offerings are desserts disguised as drinks.
“The worst drink for heart health are sweet Frappuccino drinks,” said registered dietician Heidi Moretti, resident nutritional advisor to Sovereign Laboratories. “They are loaded with processed sugars, fats, and sometimes artificial ingredients, which cause inflammation throughout the body, including the heart and blood vessels. Frappuccinos also are loaded with calories, and devoid of metabolic nutrients, which cause many people to pack on pounds.”
While Frappuccinos are listed on the menu board like all the other drinks, they really should be in their own category as a dessert. A venti (large) Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino has 590 calories and 75 grams of sugar. But, when it’s listed next to a latte, it’s easy to think of it as just an average drink and order them far too often. If Frappuccinos were instead highlighted on the menu as a dessert, people would perhaps buy them less frequently but enjoy them more. The drink also has 85 percent of your daily saturated fat and 16 percent of your daily sodium. Drinks shouldn’t have that large of a contribution to your nutrition unless your doctor has told you otherwise.
Starbucks has lattes, espresso drinks, teas and so many other drink options that aren’t outrageous. You can order from Starbucks without worrying about your health goals. But Frappuccinos are worse than average milkshakes, especially as they market themselves as something you might enjoy every day — a Frappuccino shouldn’t be anyone’s regular order. If you are going to order a Frappuccino, be sure to get one in the smallest size, a “tall.” A tall drink is 12 ounces, unlike the venti, which has 24 ounces if you are ordering an iced drink. You’ll save yourself calories, sugar and fat if you watch your portion size and make sure these are a special occasion drink instead of your go-to.
Next time you’re in a coffee shop, give the menu a second read and double-check your order. A treat can be pleasant but, as blended coffee drinks are really milkshakes, ask yourself if you’re there for coffee or dessert.