It should come as no surprise that Starbucks’ sweet frappes and lattes contain sugar. But when you learn exactly how much added sugar is in your daily pick-me-up, you may feel the urge to put it down.
Starbucks’ flavored beverages can contain up to 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving, points out a new report by an advocacy group called Action on Sugar. While the assessment was done on drinks in the United Kingdom, many of the numbers are pretty similar here in the states.
In nutritional label terms, 25 teaspoons is 125 grams of sugar. To put that in perspective, a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 33 grams of sugar. Put yet another way, 125 grams is about 12 and a half Krispy Kreme donuts.
The American Heart Association recommends the average man limit added sugar to 9 teaspoons (45 grams) a day and the average woman limit it to 6 teaspoons (30 grams). A diet too rich in sugar can contribute to a host of health conditions, including obesity, diabetes and some cancers.
While we don’t typically associate a coffee or tea-based drink with dessert, many of Starbucks’ offerings qualify. A venti chai crème Frappuccino, for example, contains 67 grams of sugar. A 12-ounce Oreo McFlurry at McDonald’s contains 64 grams of sugar.
A Starbucks spokesperson told Action on Sugar that the brand is “committed” to reducing added sugar by 25 percent in drinks with 350 calories or more by the end of 2020.
But you don’t have to wait that long. To reduce the amount of sugar you consume, aim to order smaller sizes at Starbucks, or just stick to plain old coffee. That stuff has tons of benefits. Plus, you could save a lot of moolah quitting your fancy frappe habit altogether.
If you need more convincing to give up your venti-sized whatevers, hear this: A recent study from the University of New South Wales found that sugary drinks could be as be as harmful to the brain as stress or abuse.
The study, which was performed on rats, found that the animals who were fed a sugar solution over the course of several months had “lower expression of the receptor that binds the major stress hormone cortisol,” which could impact the ability to recover after experience a stressful situation.
While human response has not been tested, the changes in the mice’s brains suggest that humans could experience something similar.