With huge coffee chain Starbucks unveiling six brand-new frappuccino flavors(1), even die-hard Starbucks haters are undoubtedly tempted to try some of these novel treats.
The new flavors include cupcake, lemon bar creme, cotton candy, and red velvet.
But it’s the cinnamon roll frappuccino flavor that contains the most amount of sugar – a whopping 102 grams per venti serving, assuming you’re getting it with whipped cream (which, let’s face it, you probably are). That’s roughly equivalent to an entire one-liter bottle of Coca-Cola or 400 percent of the recommended daily limit of sugar!
A Disturbing Trend
Sugar consumption is a growing concern for the World Health Organization and other public health institutions. In a recent press release, the WHO called for adults and children to “reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake”(2), adding: “We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity, and tooth decay.”
“Most US adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet,” one study in JAMA Internal Medicine concluded. “We observed a significant relationship between added sugar consumption and increased risk for CVD mortality.”(3)
Despite the negative health impacts, excessive sugar consumption can be a difficult habit to break – not just because of the prevalence of sweet treats like Starbucks new frappuccinos, but because of what researchers call the “glucocorticoid-metabolic-brain-negative feedback pathway”, which can reinforce habitual overconsumption of sugar(4). People who experience frequent stress are at a higher risk for developing a dependency on sugar.
Making The Right Choices
While most of us are motivated to eat healthier and avoid refined sugars as much as we can, there’s no denying that aggressive marketing campaigns behind foods like the new Starbucks frappuccinos make it very difficult to avoid temptation.
But opting for simpler beverages will not only save you money, but spare your body from the massive sugar overdose you’ll get when you partake in Starbucks’ new products.
But if you’re really intent on inundating your body with that amount of sugar, you could always just dissolve 20 sugar cubes on your tongue and then down a shot of espresso – it would be a more efficient way of consuming that much sugar.
While the occasional venti frappuccino won’t kill you, consuming them regularly over an extended period of time is the opposite of healthy. So if you’re concerned about your sugar consumption, opt for coffee or teas instead – chances are the local coffee/tea shop down the road that only serves organic, free trade goods will be a healthier option for you in the long-run.