Your Favorite Starbucks Drinks Ranked by Calories

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credit: Young Kim

Did you know that coffee is a healthy drink on its own? It has zero calories and, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, is a leading source of antioxidants. Ditto for tea, whether green, black or herbal. But after a few pumps of syrup by the Starbuck’s barista, coffee and tea take an unhealthy turn in the form of shockingly high sugar and calorie levels. Some contain as many calories as you’d expect in a full meal.

We've rounded up the 10 most popular drinks on the Starbucks menu (according to Google search) to see just how many calories your caffeine fix contains. Note that for each drink, nutritional info is based on a standard grande order made with 2 percent milk and any whipped cream or topping the menu item typically contains. Now brace yourself for the results, ordered from least caloric to most caloric — just know that some of the nutrition info isn't too pretty.

1

Starbucks Cappuccino

credit: Young Kim

The best-for-you Starbucks option is a straight-forward cappuccino made from espresso and milk. At 120 calories, a cappuccino uses less milk than other drinks and therefore is a little lighter, with 10 grams of sugar, but it also provides less protein — only eight grams of protein in the grande. But as far as Starbucks drinks go, this is a solid choice.

If lactose (the natural sugar in milk) troubles your stomach, you could go for a non-dairy milk alternative. Starbucks offers soy, almond and coconut milk. Note that the versions used at Starbucks contain added sugars, and only soy milk comes close to matching the protein content of dairy milk. But overall, a cappuccino is a good bet when you consider the high calorie and sugar load of other favorite Starbucks drinks.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Cappuccino has 120 calories, 10 grams of sugar and 8 grams of protein.

2

Starbucks Caffe Latte

credit: Young Kim

Though a latte has 18 grams of sugar, none of it is in the form of added sugar. This drink has two simple ingredients: milk and brewed espresso. Milk has a natural form of sugar called lactose, and unless you’re intolerant to it, the sugar isn’t a concern. If lactose causes unwanted digestive troubles, you also have the option to swap out milk for a nondairy version, such as soy, almond or coconut milk. Although, aside from soy milk, you won’t get meaningful protein from these alternatives.

The 13 grams of protein in a latte is enough to crush between-meal hunger, which is a nice perk. And because it’s made with 2 percent milk, it provides 22 percent of your daily value for saturated fat. You could go for nonfat milk and get that number down to zero (and take those calories from 190 down to 130).

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Caffe Latte has 190 calories, 18 grams of sugar and 13 grams of protein.

3

Starbucks Green Tea Latte

credit: Young Kim

Make no mistake: The first ingredient in the matcha tea blend is sugar, not matcha! That’s a bad sign. It also means you can’t customize your level of sweetness because the 240-calorie drink is made from a premade mix that contains both the tea and the sugar. Finely ground green tea leaves are rich in antioxidants and are calorie-free, but traditional matcha is slightly bitter, which might explain the 32 grams of sugar this drink contains.

Though green tea and matcha have been linked to health benefits, including protection against heart disease, added sugar raises your risk of heart disease. Whether the two ingredients cancel each other out is debatable.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Green Tea Latte has 240 calories, 32 grams of sugar and 12 grams of protein.

4

Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato

credit: Young Kim

The 250-calorie Caramel Macchiato is described as having an “oh-so-sweet finish.” That should raise the red flags. Once again, it’s the 34 grams of sugar, this time from the vanilla syrup and caramel sauce, that make this drink troubling. With 10 grams of protein, it probably contains a tad more than a cup of milk, and with that in mind, it also likely contains about five teaspoons of added sugar. What else has five teaspoons of added sugar? Two French Crullers from Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s your call if you want to get this kind of sugar high from your coffee drink. But at least you’ll be washing it down with about one-third of your daily calcium needs.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Caramel Macchiato has 250 calories, 34 grams of sugar and 10 grams of protein.

5

Starbucks Vanilla Latte

credit: Young Kim

The Vanilla Latte has 17 grams more sugar than a traditional Starbucks latte. That’s about four teaspoons of extra sugar. Shockingly though, it's better than most other popular Starbucks drinks due to its straightforward (i.e., cleaner) ingredient list (just milk, espresso and vanilla syrup). And at 250 calories with 12 grams of protein, it’s not the worst choice: That’s enough to help tame hunger. And since Starbucks prides itself on customization, you could also ask the barista to go easy on the syrup squirt to help lighten the sugar load of 35 grams of sugar.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Vanilla latte has 250 calories, 35 grams of sugar and 12 grams of protein.

6

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

credit: Young Kim

This fan favorite, usually available in early September, is 380 calories — that's slightly lower in calories than many popular Starbucks drinks — and is made with a fair amount of milk. The caveat? It is more sugar than pumpkin, as noted on the ingredient list.

The grande has 14 grams of protein, the amount you’d get in about one-and-two-thirds cup of milk. While overall the Pumpkin Latte is still a poor choice, the ample protein makes it better than many others on the list. At least that will go toward filling you up and slowing down the absorption of all that sugar. That, coupled with the 150 milligrams of caffeine, might help make the energy crash from those 50 grams of sugar a little less drastic.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has 380 calories, 50 grams of sugar and 14 grams of protein.

7

Starbucks Hot Chocolate

credit: Young Kim

Hot chocolate might be a sweet indulgence, but for comparison’s sake, a packet of Swiss Miss Simply Cocoa keeps calories tame, with just 90 per serving compared to the whopping 400 this Starbucks drink offers. The Swiss Miss version also cuts the sugar by more than 50 percent.

If you’re going to go for it, you might want to consider using nonfat milk, which shaves off 50 calories. Pass on the whipped cream and you’ll get it down to 270 calories. Beyond the calories, it’s worth noting that Starbucks whipped cream isn’t made of the most natural substance. It contains fillers and emulsifiers, such as mono- and diglycerides along with carrageenan, which might be linked to inflammation, according to a study by Environmental Health Perspectives.

Nutritional info: This grande Starbucks Hot Chocolate has 400 calories, 43 grams of sugar and 14 grams of protein.

8

Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino

credit: Young Kim

The Coffee Frappuccino syrup is doing most of the damage in the Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino. Because even if you skip the whip (and slash more than 100 calories off the 410 total), you’re better off, at least calorie-wise, with a cake pop that has 170 calories. Yes, this drink is more dessert than a cup of java.

And since it has just four grams of protein (without the whipped cream), there’s probably just half a cup of milk blended in this syrupy sip. That’s why customizing the milk, from nonfat to whole, only has a 20-calorie difference. As with other high-calorie fan favorite Starbucks drinks, either consider it a dessert and mindfully indulge or take a pass and opt for a more wholesome, lighter drink instead.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino has 410 calories, 61 grams of sugar and 5 grams of protein.

9

Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino

credit: Young Kim

Though lower in calories than other Starbucks drinks, the Caramel Frappuccino contains a whopping 66 grams of sugar. That exceptionally high dose of sugar probably comes from the caramel drizzle. Based on the sugar and calorie levels, this drink is similar to an ice-cream float. In fact, a small Baskin Robbins ice-cream float has fewer calories, less sugar and contains a tad more protein, signaling the similarities.

If you’re looking for a caffeine pick-me-up, this drink may not do it for you. The same size standard dark roast coffee has 260 milligrams of caffeine but the Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino has only 100 milligrams. Plus, all that sugar is sure to make your energy levels crash.

Nutritional info: This grande Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino has 420 calories, 66 grams of sugar and 4 grams of protein.

10

Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha

credit: Young Kim

At 430 calories, the Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha has 90 more calories than a medium order of McDonald’s french fries. And with 53 grams of sugar, it has more sweetener than adults (or kids) need in a day. The 12 grams of saturated fat might not do you any favors, either.

Though Starbucks lets you customize your options, one of the main ingredients in this drink — the white chocolate mocha sauce — is likely contributing to the over-the-top calorie and sugar content. Skip the whip and you’ll save 70 calories and slash four grams of fat. Although, this slight moderation still won’t make the White Chocolate Mocha a nutritional winner.

Nutritional info: A grande Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha has 430 calories, 53 grams of sugar and 14 grams of protein.

What Do YOU Think?

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Are you more of a cappuccino lover, or is a Frappuccino your go-to Starbucks drink? Do you skip the whip or have other ways to customize your drink? Let us know your favorites and how you customize them in the comment section below.

Calories in McDonald's Coffee Drinks

credit: Young Kim
Overview

Did you know that coffee is a healthy drink on its own? It has zero calories and, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, is a leading source of antioxidants. Ditto for tea, whether green, black or herbal. But after a few pumps of syrup by the Starbuck’s barista, coffee and tea take an unhealthy turn in the form of shockingly high sugar and calorie levels. Some contain as many calories as you’d expect in a full meal.

We've rounded up the 10 most popular drinks on the Starbucks menu (according to Google search) to see just how many calories your caffeine fix contains. Note that for each drink, nutritional info is based on a standard grande order made with 2 percent milk and any whipped cream or topping the menu item typically contains. Now brace yourself for the results, ordered from least caloric to most caloric — just know that some of the nutrition info isn't too pretty.

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