Pro Tips to Healthify Your Starbucks Order.

Once upon a time… someone asked me how they could make their coffee order healthier. I realize most people don’t drink rocket fuel (what I fondly call my quad shot americano with just a light splash of heavy cream) nor do they want to, so I took a sampling of my Twitter followers regular Starsucks orders and… wow.

I think people probably don’t realize just what or how much of everything they’re drinking. It’s not just calories either, it’s the chemicals in the calorie-free flavors you ask for four pumps of, the 10+ oz of dairy you probably don’t need, and the 15+ g of sugar a flavor adds per beverage.

FYI: Each pump of flavored syrup is +20 calories and +5g of sugar to your drink. Sugar free has no calories or “sugar” so intead just substitute those for unknown chemicals you can’t pronounce, much less understand how they’re affecting your body, or how they capture the flavor without the calories. I don’t get it, so I don’t drink it (anymore). Even matcha is 25 cals and 5 g of sugar, and mocha syrup is 25 cals and 4g of sugar. Whipped cream, you say? 60-110, depending on the drink, but just 1-2g of sugar.

Espresso is a constant. There’s 5 calories per shot and no sugar – 75mg of caffeine (this is what I care about). My drink, before I top off with my rich dairy treat, is a whopping 20 calories. I drink heavy whipping cream even though it’s full fat *gasp* because it has no sugar and the rich consistency makes my drink feel creamy – more latte than americano. A tall -nonfat- latte has 100 calories and 14g of sugar. That’s 10 calories from espresso shots, so 90 from the milk + 14g of that darned sugar. There’s obviously no calories from fat. Wait, what’s that line from Mean Girls again?

“I’m only eating foods with less than 30 percent calories from fat.”
“It’s 40%… Well, 48 over 120 equals X over 100 and then you cross multiply and get the value of X.”
“Whatever. I’m getting cheese fries.”

Let’s remix this: I only drink coffee with less than 30 percent calories from sugar.
It’s 62%. Well, 56 (4 kcals per gram of sugar, google it) over 90 equals x over 100 and then you cross multiply and get the value of X.

Understand that a tall nonfat latte from Starbucks is only 100 calories, but 62% of them are from basic ass sugar. Remember to add 5g sugar and 20 calories per pump of flavor you may add in…

Wanna know what has less calories from sugar in it? A Snickers bar. CANDY!!!

Sub in the below nutritional info and you’ll find that only 43% of the total calories in a Snickers are due to sugar. That’s sad. You’re drinking a Snickers bar, and it isn’t even a Snickers bar. You should be complaining to Starsucks for ripping you off.

snickers bar nutrition Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 4.40.14 PM

It’s not you, it’s your drink. Coffee beverages made with a milk base – let’s keep with a latte – start at ~13g of sugar in a tall and 23g in a venti. Soy milk is the sugariest base, and 2% actually has 1g less sugar per size than nonfat… that should confuse you.

All in all, “typical” “coffee” orders are mostly milk, so basically you’re drinking a Snickers bar. It’s a silent diet sabotager. Just for grins: a venti vanilla latte (what I drank in high school) is 320 calories and 44g of sugar… That’s fucking disgusting. I’m hating on milk because I want people to recognize the presence and amount of sugar they consume when they mindlessly sip their lattes – not so much the calories. Also, lots of people also just don’t digest dairy byproducts well, and that’s a lot at once… I tend to feel way better when I limit my dairy intake, with the splash – literally just a few drops is all you need – being the only source I consume on the daily.

Take your coffee back. Try asking for half your normal syrup, try a tall americano with heavy cream instead of a latte. The rich texture and taste will sweeten the espresso and negate the fact you’re drinking water! I promise! I bet you’ll feel noticeably better from consuming less dairy/milk, chemicalized flavors and empty calories. I’m not against the occasional rich, Starbucks-y drink either, especially when the season calls my name. But if you do order one of those frosty ice cream shakes or a sugar-laden latte, see it for what it is – a cheat. A treat. Dessert. It’s not coffee, so stop kidding yourself. Espresso has a taste, and it’s nothing like pumpkin spice.


8 thoughts on “Pro Tips to Healthify Your Starbucks Order.

  1. As a Starbucks barista, I have to hold back a laugh when people order “skinny” lattes but then ask why they didn’t get whipped cream. Americanos are the best way to go! As long as your barista pays attention to making sure the shots dont turn (about 10 seconds without touching another liquid and your drinking bitter grossness), you’ll love the taste. Another suggestion is asking for the espresso shots used in a flat white to make an Americano. These shots are slightly sweeter. And, the new cold brew coffee has about 5 calories and because it is brewed cold, is naturally sweet!

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  3. To slightly digress from the Starsucks angle (because the closest to me is 20 miles or so) I recently changed how I make coffee at home and it’s a life changer for me. I add a few drops of pure vanilla and a bit of ground cinnamon straight into my grounds and brew. Instead of sugar or (ew) creamer, I lightly sweeten with honey and that’s it. So much flavor blending and so easy!

  4. Thank you for this. As a young mom, coffee is a staple to stay alive after my long nights. I currently haven’t been able to fit true workouts into my schedule and making changes to my diet to get back to my pre pregnancy weight is where I’m at. I’ll have to give this a try!

  5. Good info. Too bad so many people like sweet. I have always drank dark coffee and 1 cream. I actually like my coffee to taste like coffee.

  6. Love this post! I worry about sugar often, so I’m glad I have this helpful guide. I hope this isn’t a silly question but when you order a quad shot Americano is there a size you have to order, or is just a one size fits all?

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