Starbucks is Lowering Sugar Content in Drinks – But is it Enough?

Everyone knows that soda is full of sugar. Odds are, you’ve weaned yourself off the bubbly stuff in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle. However, an equally disastrous amount of sugar could be hiding somewhere even nearer and dearer to your heart—in your coffee order. That’s right, you may be surprised to learn that Starbucks is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to sugary hot drinks. It even surpasses KFC and McDonald’s.

A recent report released by the UK group, Action on Sugar, has shown that 7 out of the top 10 most sugary hot beverages come from the ubiquitous coffee chain. Granted, some of the Starbucks beverages that were highest in sugar, like the Hot Mulled Fruit drink, are not served in the U.S., but there are plenty of sugar-injected options on our side of the Atlantic.

Some of the biggest U.S. offenders? The Signature Hot Chocolate, White Chocolate Mocha and the Chai Tea Latte—both grande and venti—are Starbucks’s biggest offenders and landed near the top of the list. These drinks all contain between 10 and 20 teaspoons of sugar each. While some of these sugars can be attributed to the naturally occurring lactose in milk, the numbers are still worrisome. Even a short Chai Tea Latte, the smallest size, will fill you with 5 teaspoons of sugar.

Luckily, Starbucks has committed to reducing the sugar content of their drinks across the board by 25 percent. However, they are giving themselves until 2020 to accomplish this goal.

In a statement to CNBC, a spokesperson for Starbucks said:

“Earlier this year we committed to reduce added sugar in our indulgent drinks by 25 per cent by the end of 2020. We also offer a wide variety of lighter options, sugar-free syrups and sugar-free natural sweetener and we display all nutritional information in-store and online.” 

Do you think 2020 is soon enough? Hidden sugar is a leading cause of the obesity epidemic, Type II diabetes and a known cause of disease-encouraging inflammation in the body. It’s fantastic that Starbucks is making a change, but until then it’s up to the consumers to be conscious of what goes in their bodies. Until 2020, choose sugar-smart options, like a plain latte (which has no added sugar) or a flavored latte with just one pump of flavoring instead of three. And if you are going to get a White Mocha with whipped cream, make sure it’s a treat and not your standard order.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago


Nell N.
Past Member 2 years ago

Why you should buy anything from Starbucks when you can make better coffee home and put it into the thermos bottle??? I make my coffee oldfashioned way cooking it in a coffeepot.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

baby steps

Mirra A.
.2 years ago

Maybe they could stop their aggressive business model and pay corporation tax too

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

Ahmed R.
Past Member 2 years ago

There are no Starbucks locally. Thanks anyway for the info.

Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Peter K.
peter K2 years ago

Cannot stand Starbucks, overpriced, underrated rubbish.

Cela V.
Cela V2 years ago

wow! that's a lot of sugar!!! tyfs