Starbucks: there’s something hypnotically reassuring about the place — from the placidly smiling mermaid on the logo to the cute barista who has your order ready by the time you get to the front of the line. But while the coffeehouse chain is famous for its laid-back vibe, you may not feel as relaxed once you learn these unnerving details about the nutritional content of some Starbucks favorites.
We combed through the worst offenders on the menu and rounded up the top 8 least healthful drinks you can order from Starbucks. While some of these beverages contain enough sugar to induce a diabetic coma in a Shetland pony, others made our naughty list for more surprising reasons — like magnificent levels of cholesterol.
While we didn’t rank items on the super popular, not-so-underground secret menu, it should come as no surprise that drinks like the Cinnamon Bun Hot Chocolate, Caramel Snickerdoodle Macchiato, and Hot Butterbeer Latte — all available at any Starbucks location with a wink and a nod to your favorite barista — are all chart-toppingly caloric and blended with half a dozen super sugary syrups.
So how do you know what’s safe to order? There are a few easy ways to avoid sipping enough calories to please a hummingbird on a sugar bender: for starters, steer clear of items that leap out as especially decadent. If the term "Caramel Brûlée" is in the name, you know you’re not doing your waistline any favors. If you sometimes indulge in these little luxuries, however, you may not be prepared for exactly how badly they stack up nutritionally when we compare them to a Snickers bar — or even a bacon cheeseburger!
Worse still, some of the most innocent-seeming beverages were actually crammed with truly astonishing levels of carbs. Prepare for some troubling surprises: one of our biggest offenders, known as an antioxidant booster, seems like an especially healthful choice — until you look a little closer. Take a look at our slideshow to find out some surprising details that might make you reconsider your next drink order.
We based all of our comparisons on the venti size with whole milk, unless otherwise specified.