What’s in that Starbucks Eggnog Latte?

‘Tis the season to eat, drink and be merry. And when it comes to eating and drinking, there are more than a few holiday favorites to choose from: gingerbread, candy canes and eggnog. Then there are the coffees and lattes hopped up on these classic holiday flavors—like the Starbucks’ Eggnog Latte. After years of serving this holiday favorite, the company stopped offering it last fall and customers revolted. Within weeks the beverage was back in Starbucks stores everywhere. Before you celebrate the return of the Eggnog Latte this holiday season, you might want to know a bit more about the ingredients in this Starbucks classic.

Starbucks simply states that its Eggnog Latte contains espresso, eggnog, milk and nutmeg. But, obviously eggnog is not an ingredient, but a beverage unto itself, so I went in search of the ingredients in the eggnog Starbucks uses.

Since Starbucks still does not offer ingredient information on its website, I emailed the company to obtain a list of ingredients. Instead the company directed me to its website, suggesting it’s a “…more thorough and detailed resource for customers seeking nutritional information on the food and beverages we serve…” even though the site does not offer any ingredient information. So, I called the customer service hotline in the U.S. The woman I spoke to said I needed to call a store to get ingredients. So, I called a store. The Starbucks employee told me I needed to come into the store to read the list of ingredients on the eggnog carton. So I called another store, and then another store, until finally a barista in a New York City store informed me they use Garelick Farms eggnog, so my assessment of the Starbucks Eggnog Latte is based on this eggnog, although the exact ingredients may vary from region to region, as different brands of eggnog are used in Starbucks stores.

Just one Grande Eggnog Latte (that’s medium-sized for anyone not fluent in Starbucks lingo) contains 470 calories, and that’s only if you forego whipped cream.

The real shocker is the amount of sugar in one Eggnog Latte: a whopping 52 grams of sugar. That’s the equivalent of over 15 teaspoons of sugar in a single drink! At that point there’s hardly room for coffee in that cup. If you read my earlier blog “What’s in that Starbucks Gingerbread Latte?” you already know that I wasn’t impressed by the Gingerbread Latte’s massive 38 grams of sugar, but the Eggnog Latte contains an extra 3-1/2 teaspoons of sugar. That’s 4 more teaspoons of sugar than in a can of Coke!

Eggnog—The eggnog used in a Starbucks Eggnog Latte contains: “Milk, Cream, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Non-Fat Milk, Whey, Egg Yolks, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Locust Bean Gum, Carrageenan, Annatto and Turmeric as Colors.”

Milk and Cream—Because the milk and cream are not organic, like many dairy products in North America, they likely contain genetically-modified ingredients. Check out my blog, “What’s in that Starbucks Gingerbread Latte?” to learn more.

High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)—The average American consumes 55 pounds of HFCS every year. HFCS is largely made from genetically-modified corn. It has been linked to diabetes, fatty liver disease, obesity and many other serious health conditions.

Natural and Artificial Flavors—Both natural and artificial flavors are considered trade secrets, so food manufacturers are not required by law to disclose the actual ingredients they contain. Artificial ingredients are derived in a laboratory while natural ones are made from a wide range of naturally-occurring items. Even though “natural flavors” sounds harmless enough, they typically contain any of more than 100 ingredients and some less-than-appetizing substances, including: insect excretions, sheepskin excretions or dried beaver’s sac. Check out my blog “What Exactly are Natural Flavors in Candy?” for more information about natural flavors.

Locust bean gum—is a vegetable gum extracted from the seeds of the carob tree. It is primarily used as a thickening agent. Although it’s widely used in the processed food industry, there is little safety information about it.

Carrageenan—A seemingly harmless ingredient derived from a type of seaweed known as Irish moss, carrageenan has been linked to excessively high blood sugar levels and intestinal and systemic inflammation. In a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research, animals fed carrageenan for only six days developed glucose intolerance, which is an umbrella term used to describe impaired metabolism involving excessively high blood sugar levels and may be a causal factor for diabetes. The researchers also found that carrageenan causes intestinal and systemic inflammation.

Annatto—This ingredient, derived from the seeds of the achiote tree, imparts a yellowish-orange hue to foods with which it is made. It seems safe for consumption.

Turmeric—is a yellow-colored spice used heavily in Indian curries. It is sometimes added in the food processing industry to add a yellow color to foods and beverages. Unlike some of the other ingredients in an Eggnog Latte, you don’t have to worry about this one.


Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, is an international best-selling and 18-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast!


natasha p
.9 months ago

buy vegan

Karin Hanson
Karin Hansonabout a year ago

Yikes!!! Why not just whip up an egg, milk, sugar and add that to your own coffee - too lazy???

Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Muff-Anne York-Haley


Jennifer Manzi
Jennifer Manzi2 years ago

no likey eggnog

Ricky T.
Ricky T2 years ago

Heart attack in a cup!

Erika Acosta
Erika Acosta2 years ago


Kamia T.
Kamia T2 years ago

I don't patronize Starbucks any more. Not only too far to drive to one, but after reading the ingredients in what I enjoyed, I didn't like anything any more, sadly.

Joy T.
Joy T2 years ago

In Sept. I had a sample of the Pumpkin Pie Spice, and it was delicious! I don't really care what's in it! :)