What’s in Your Starbucks Gingerbread Latte?

Before you head to your local Starbucks for one of the company’s seasonal favorites –Gingerbread Lattes – you might want to keep reading.

Each medium-sized (that’s Grande in Starbucks-speak) Gingerbread Latte packs a whopping 38 grams of sugar. Just for comparison, a can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar. If you’re not familiar with counting grams of sugar, 4 grams is the equivalent of one teaspoon of the white stuff. That means there are nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar in a medium-sized beverage if you’re doing the math. The World Health Organization recommends that people limit sugar to 5 percent of their daily caloric intake. For an average adult, that works out to about 25 grams of sugar a day. Drink just one Gingerbread Latte and you’ve significantly surpassed your sugar quota for the whole day.

But, that’s just the beginning. Here are some of the ingredients in the Gingerbread Latte:

Milk— While all milk typically contains the naturally-occurring hormone BST (bovine somatotropin), a growing portion of non-organic milk contains rBST, which is a genetically-modified version of the hormone developed by Monsanto using genetically-engineered E. coli bacteria. Yes, the same critters that are linked to food poisoning. Last year alone Starbucks received over 120,000 signatures requesting the company switch to GMO-free milk yet it has done nothing to date.

Gingerbread Syrup:  This syrup contains Sugar, water, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate, citric acid, caramel color. We’ve already discussed sugar. Water is obviously straightforward, but let’s explore some of the other ingredients.

Natural and Artificial Flavors—Natural flavors are derived from natural substances while artificial ones are artificially-derived in a laboratory. While that might lead you to think that natural flavors are superior, and indeed they may be, there is much more to them than you might think. Because both natural and artificial flavors are protected by law as trade secrets, food manufacturers using them are not required to disclose what they actually contain. Natural flavors can include a wide range of items, including: dried beaver’s sac, sheepskin excretions or insect excretions. The single ingredient “natural flavors” can contain any of more than 100 ingredients, most of which are probably not desirable. Check out my blog “What Exactly are Natural Flavors in Candy?” for more information.

Sodium Benzoate—Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative and is frequently found in liquids to lengthen their shelf life, such as flavor syrups. Research shows that sodium benzoate is known to form higher amounts of benzene in the presence of vitamin C than on its own. Vitamin C is normally present in the body, so it’s possible that sodium benzoate consumed in beverages or in the diet may turn into benzene once consumed. The World Health Organization considers benzene a major public health concern. Its cancer research agency, The International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified benzene as a Class 1 carcinogen linked to leukemia and other types of cancer.

Citric Acid—This ingredient is an acid naturally found in citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes. It’s used as both a flavor and preservative in beverages and foods.

Caramel Color (E150C)—While many companies tout caramel color as a natural ingredient made by heating sugar, they fail to mention the use of ammonia in its creation. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has petitioned the FDA to disallow the use of caramel color E150C since it’s made with ammonia and is a potential carcinogen that also reduces immune system function by depleting white blood cells.

Perhaps rock star Neil Young said it best last year when he took a stand against Starbucks’ alliance with the pro-GMO organization, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) through a statement on his website which read: “GOODBYE STARBUCKS!!! I used to line up and get my latte everyday, but yesterday was my last one.


Sue H
Sue Habout a month ago

Yikes! Makes me glad that I don't do starbucks.

Jeramie D
Jeramie D1 years ago

Disgusting. Just drink plain coffee

Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Tanya W.
Tanya W3 years ago

We don't have Starbucks near where I live. Did try a cappuccino once and didn't like it

Tanya W.
Tanya W3 years ago

Thanks ☕



Maureen King
Maureen King3 years ago

Never been in a Starbucks in my life and like a lot of people have no plans to go there.Been to a McDonalds once. Subway ( once in the U.S.) once here.Can't stomach any of them.They don't get my money Like my food and drink,real.

Ann M.
Ann M3 years ago

I ditched starbucks a while ago, used my remaining money on the card to buy some people breakfast sandwiches and haven't missed it. I now make my own 'designer' coffee and enjoy it much more.

Mona Pietsch
Mona Pietsch3 years ago

Thank you