Starbucks: there’s something hypnotically reassuring about the place — from the placidly smiling mermaid on the logo to the cute barista who has your order ready by the time you get to the front of the line. But while the coffeehouse chain is famous for its laid-back vibe, you may not feel as relaxed once you learn these unnerving details about the nutritional content of some Starbucks favorites.
We combed through the worst offenders on the menu and rounded up the top least healthful drinks you can order from Starbucks. While some of these beverages contain enough sugar to induce a diabetic coma in a Shetland pony, others made our naughty list for more surprising reasons — like magnificent levels of cholesterol.
While we didn’t rank items on the super popular, not-so-underground secret menu, it should come as no surprise that drinks like the Cinnamon Bun Hot Chocolate, Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato, and Hot Butterbeer Latte — all available at any Starbucks location with a wink and a nod to your favorite barista — are all chart-toppingly caloric and blended with half a dozen super sugary syrups.
So how do you know what’s safe to order? There are a few easy ways to avoid sipping enough calories to please a hummingbird on a sugar bender: for starters, steer clear of items that leap out as especially decadent. If the term "Caramel Brûlée" is in the name, you know you’re not doing your waistline any favors. If you sometimes indulge in these little luxuries, however, you may not be prepared for exactly how badly they stack up nutritionally when we compare them to a Snickers bar — or even a bacon cheeseburger!
Worse still, some of the most innocent-seeming beverages were actually crammed with truly astonishing levels of carbs. Prepare for some troubling surprises: one of our biggest offenders, known as an antioxidant booster, seems like an especially healthful choice — until you look a little closer. Take a look at our slideshow to find out some surprising details that might make you reconsider your next drink order.
We based all of our comparisons on the venti size with whole milk, unless otherwise specified.
1. Peppermint Mocha
Is this the best way to accomplish your New Year's resolutions? If your gym membership lapsed months ago, skip this dessert masquerading as caffeine: while high in Vitamin A, calcium, and iron, this sweet treat contains the same amount of saturated fat as a large serving of foie gras.
2. Chai Tea Latte
Brace yourself: while the Chai Tea Latte may sound healthful, it packs 340 calories — that’s more than a Taco Bell Beef Gordita Supreme — and although it is the least sweet option of all the items we're reviewing, it still contains as much sugar as two melted Snickers bars.
3. Caramel Flan Latte
To burn the calories you intake drinking one of these bad boys, you would need to spend an hour and fifteen minutes biking. This drink is the carbohydrate equivalent of 6 ½ slices of wheat bread.
4. Caramel Brulee Latte
A cup of coffee is like the Caramel Brulee Latte the same way my apartment is like the palace of Versailles. This prime example of end-of-the-empire decadence jams 580 calories, twenty grams of fat, and eighty-five grams of carbs into its scant twenty ounces.
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