Avoiding Hidden Calories at Starbucks

Avoiding Hidden Calories at Starbucks

One of the most common coffee shops individuals flock to regularly is Starbucks, the bringer of caffeinated beverages.  Known as the home of the latte and macchiato, Starbucks has been flourishing for over a decade and there is no sign of slowing.  What makes this place so wonderful?  Is it the caffeine?  Is it the flavor?  Is it the vibe?  To an extent, the answer to these questions is yes and no.  Described below is a full discussion on some of the perks of Starbucks with a brief discussion on the nutrition information in some of the more popular beverages at this local café.

Avoiding Hidden Calories at Starbucks

With every favorite restaurant comes a most common or most ordered item.  Starbucks has a plethora of commonly ordered drinks and while there is vast diversity on the general menu, there are still some items ordered more than others.

  1. The Iced Caramel Macchiato. The caramel macchiato is a flavorful drink which can certainly hit the spot while lifting spirits with caffeine.  One of the perks is the drink usually is best when iced or chilled, making this a warm-city favorite in the U.S.  Unfortunately for lovers of this popular drink comes a burden on calories in the form of sugar and fat.  The Starbucks nutrition information lists this drink as one of the most calorically dense, with a Grande sized macchiato offering about 240 calories per drink [1].  While the nutrition information states there is about 10 grams of protein, this is not an invitation to have three every day in an effort to supplement your workout.  For those who are watching body fat values, body weight, and attempting to stay lean, a better choice would be the skinny version, which offers 140 calories and only 18 grams of sugar per Grande serving.  If you must divulge in a Starbucks treat such as this, try it sparingly and aim for the skinny version whenever possible.
  2. The Green Tea Frappuccino. Anything with the word Frappuccino means it is sweet and delicious.  While many Frappuccino drinks are popular, this particular one is deceiving.  Loaded with matcha green tea, which is great for antioxidant support, a Grande green tea Frappuccino contains roughly 300 calories and 63 grams of sugar per serving [2], that is about 63 teaspoons worth of sugar.  While this drink’s nutrition information can vary and change with the size and type of milk used, the Starbucks nutrition information guide is a great way to create a drink which can be low in calories.  Challenge yourself to drink a hot green tea loaded with matcha to save on the calories and ask for no sweetener or sugar when you order.  This change will end up being nutritionally dense and the calories will be minimal.
  3. The Soy latte. While tasty and loaded with about 150 mg of caffeine, the soy latte is a better option for anyone looking to scrimp on calories while enjoying a small treat.  The Starbucks nutrition information states a Grande sized soy latte will cost you 150 calories, but with only eight grams of sugar per serving [3], making this a better option than the other two more popular drinks.  This simple treat is a great way to indulge now and again, but a more reasonable option is to have a blonde roast of coffee with light sugar and cream added.


While it is ok to indulge in some tasty beverages every now and again, it is wise to watch what you put in your body.  If you stop at Starbucks five days per week and your drink contains 200 calories each, you are now in a weekly deficit of 1,000 calories, and that is only from beverages.  If you think that drinking these sugary drinks early in the day means you will just work it off during the day, you are setting your fitness goals up for hard time.  When you are watching your weight, fat, and leanness, this could be one of the roadblocks which could prevent you from reaching that next level.  In addition, the amounts of caffeine in each serving may cause you to “crash” midday and prevent you from going to the gym after work.

The Challenge: Have a Plan

The next time you stop at Starbucks, challenge yourself to order with a plan.  Aim to look up your drink online at the Starbucks nutrition website and create a drink low in calories, sugar, and fat to help keep the excess weight off.  Anytime there is a skinny version, give it a shot and always remember you can tell the barista you do not want any added sugar or sweetener in your drink.  Challenge yourself to consume less than 50 calories from coffee every day over the next week and compare your energy levels.



[1] http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/caramel-macchiato

[2] http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/tazo-green-tea-frappuccino-blended-cr%C3%A8me?size=11002680&milk=63&whip=125&sweetened=0#size=11002681&milk=63&whip=NA&sweetened=0

[3] http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/caffe-latte#size=42&milk=64

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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