With its rich, indulgent drinks loaded with sugar, cream, and calories, a daily Starbucks run may seem like a surefire way to pack on extra pounds. But does Starbucks really make you fat? The short answer is that it can, but it depends on your exact drink order and overall diet.

If you’re counting calories and watching your sugar intake, some Starbucks drinks are better options than others. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the calorie and sugar content of popular Starbucks menu items.

We’ll also provide tips for ordering lower calorie drinks that won’t completely derail your diet.

The Calorie and Sugar Content of Popular Starbucks Drinks


Frappuccinos are a favorite indulgence for many Starbucks customers, but they can be quite high in calories and sugar. A Grande (16 oz) Java Chip Frappuccino, for example, contains 470 calories and a whopping 57 grams of sugar. That’s equivalent to consuming over 14 teaspoons of sugar in one drink!

If you’re looking to cut back on calories and sugar, opting for lighter options like the Coffee Light Frappuccino or a Tall (12 oz) size can make a significant difference.

Lattes and Macchiatos

Lattes and macchiatos are popular choices for those who prefer a more traditional coffee experience. However, these drinks can still contribute to your daily calorie and sugar intake. A Grande Caramel Macchiato, for instance, contains around 250 calories and 33 grams of sugar.

If you’re watching your calorie intake, consider ordering a smaller size or requesting sugar-free syrups to reduce the overall calorie and sugar content. Remember, every little swap can make a difference!

Espresso Drinks

Espresso drinks, such as Americanos and Flat Whites, are often favored by those who enjoy a strong and intense coffee flavor. These drinks tend to have fewer calories and sugar compared to sweeter options like Frappuccinos.

A Grande Caffe Americano, for example, contains only 15 calories with no added sugar. If you’re looking for a lower-calorie option, sticking to simple espresso-based drinks can be a great choice.

Teas, Refreshers, and Cold Brews

For those who prefer a non-coffee alternative, Starbucks offers a variety of teas, refreshers, and cold brews. These drinks generally have fewer calories and sugar compared to their coffee counterparts. For instance, a Grande Iced Green Tea contains just 45 calories and 11 grams of sugar.

If you’re looking for a refreshing and lighter option, exploring Starbucks’ tea and cold brew menu can be a great way to satisfy your cravings without consuming excess calories and sugar.

It’s important to note that the nutritional information provided is based on standard recipes and serving sizes, and customization can significantly alter the calorie and sugar content of your drink. If you’re concerned about your calorie and sugar intake, be sure to check the Starbucks website or consult with a registered dietitian for more personalized recommendations.

How Your Customizations Impact Calories


When it comes to customizing your Starbucks beverage, the type of milk you choose can have a significant impact on the calorie content. Whole milk, for example, is higher in calories and fat compared to options like skim milk or almond milk.

If you’re looking to reduce your calorie intake, opting for a lower-fat milk alternative can be a great choice. For more detailed information on the calorie content of different milk options, you can visit Starbucks’ official nutrition page.

Syrups and Sauces

Another way you can inadvertently increase the calorie count of your Starbucks drink is by adding flavored syrups or sauces. While they may enhance the taste of your beverage, they can also add a considerable amount of sugar and calories. It’s important to be mindful of the amount you add.

Consider opting for sugar-free or lighter versions of these syrups if you’re looking to cut back on calories.

Whipped Cream

A dollop of whipped cream on top of your Starbucks drink may be tempting, but it’s worth noting that it can significantly increase the calorie content. Whipped cream is rich in fat and calories, so if you’re watching your waistline, it may be best to skip this indulgence.

If you still want to add a touch of sweetness, consider using alternatives like cinnamon or cocoa powder instead.

Espresso Shots

Espresso shots can add a caffeine kick to your Starbucks drink, but they can also contribute to the overall calorie count. Each shot of espresso contains a small number of calories, so if you’re looking to reduce your intake, you can consider reducing the number of shots you add to your drink.

However, it’s important to note that the impact of espresso shots on the overall calorie content of your beverage is relatively minimal compared to other customizations.

Remember, customizing your Starbucks drink is a personal choice, and it’s perfectly okay to enjoy your favorite beverage just the way you like it. However, being aware of how different customizations can impact the calorie content can help you make more informed choices and align them with your dietary goals.

Are There Any Low Calorie Starbucks Drinks?

For those watching their calorie intake, Starbucks offers a range of low-calorie drink options that still deliver on flavor. These drinks are perfect for those who want to enjoy their favorite Starbucks beverage without feeling guilty about their calorie consumption.

Whether you’re a fan of coffee, tea, or frappuccinos, there are options available to suit your taste preferences.

Skinny Drinks

Starbucks offers a line of “skinny” drinks that are made with non-fat milk and sugar-free syrups. These drinks are a great option for those looking to cut back on calories. Some popular skinny drink options include the Skinny Vanilla Latte, Skinny Caramel Macchiato, and the Skinny Mocha.

These drinks provide all the flavor of their regular counterparts but with fewer calories.

Iced Teas and Cold Brew Coffee

If you’re looking for a refreshing and low-calorie option, Starbucks offers a variety of iced teas and cold brew coffees. These drinks can be customized with sugar-free syrups and non-fat milk to reduce their calorie content.

Some popular choices include the Iced Passion Tango Tea, Iced Green Tea, and the Cold Brew Coffee with non-fat milk and sugar-free syrup.

Light Frappuccinos

For those who enjoy a blended and creamy treat, Starbucks offers light frappuccinos that are lower in calories compared to their regular counterparts. These frappuccinos are made with non-fat milk and sugar-free syrups, resulting in a lighter and more calorie-conscious option.

Some delicious light frappuccino options include the Light Mocha Frappuccino, Light Caramel Frappuccino, and the Light Java Chip Frappuccino.

It’s important to note that while these low-calorie options are available at Starbucks, it’s still essential to be mindful of portion sizes and overall calorie intake. Additionally, customization options such as sugar-free syrups and non-fat milk can help reduce the calorie content of your drink.

For more information on Starbucks’ nutritional content and low-calorie options, you can visit their official website at www.starbucks.com.

Tips for Ordering Lower Calorie Drinks

When it comes to enjoying your favorite Starbucks beverages without worrying about the calories, there are several simple tips you can follow. By making a few strategic choices, you can still savor your favorite drinks while keeping your calorie intake in check.

Opt for Skim or Nonfat Milk

One easy way to reduce the calorie content of your Starbucks drink is to choose skim or nonfat milk instead of whole milk or cream. Skim milk has significantly fewer calories and less fat, making it a healthier option.

By opting for a lighter milk choice, you can still enjoy the creamy texture without the extra calories.

Skip the Whipped Cream

While whipped cream may add a delightful touch to your Starbucks beverage, it also adds extra calories and fat. By skipping the whipped cream, you can instantly reduce the calorie content of your drink.

If you still want that creamy topping, you can opt for a dollop of foam instead, which has fewer calories and fat.

Ask for Less Pumps of Syrup

Starbucks drinks are often sweetened with flavored syrups, which can significantly contribute to the calorie count. By asking for fewer pumps of syrup or opting for sugar-free alternatives, you can reduce the amount of sugar and calories in your drink.

This simple adjustment can make a big difference in the overall calorie content of your beverage.

Order a Tall Size

When it comes to Starbucks, size matters. The larger the size of your drink, the more calories it typically contains. If you’re looking to cut back on calories, consider ordering a Tall size rather than a Grande or Venti.

This way, you can still enjoy your favorite beverage while consuming fewer calories.

Stick to Simple Coffee and Tea

One of the best ways to keep your Starbucks drink low in calories is to stick to simple coffee and tea options. Black coffee and green tea, for example, have minimal calories and provide a natural energy boost.

By avoiding fancy concoctions loaded with syrups and toppings, you can enjoy a delicious, low-calorie drink.

Remember, these tips are not only for Starbucks but can also be applied to other coffee shops. By making mindful choices and being aware of the ingredients in your drink, you can still enjoy your favorite beverages without packing on the extra pounds.

The Bottom Line: Can Starbucks Make You Gain Weight?

Starbucks, with its wide variety of tempting beverages and delicious treats, has become a favorite spot for many people to satisfy their caffeine cravings. However, the question remains: can indulging in Starbucks products lead to weight gain?

It’s important to note that weight gain is ultimately determined by an individual’s overall diet and lifestyle choices. While consuming Starbucks products in moderation can be a part of a balanced diet, excessive consumption of high-calorie drinks and snacks can contribute to weight gain.

Understanding the Caloric Content

Many of Starbucks’ popular drinks, such as Frappuccinos and flavored lattes, contain a significant amount of calories, added sugars, and unhealthy fats. These indulgent beverages can quickly add up in terms of calorie intake, especially if they are consumed regularly or in large sizes.

For instance, a venti-sized Java Chip Frappuccino with whipped cream can contain around 500 calories and 20 grams of fat. This is equivalent to a full meal in terms of calorie content. Pairing this with a high-calorie pastry or snack can further contribute to weight gain.

Making Healthier Choices

While Starbucks does offer healthier options, it’s important to be mindful of your choices to avoid excessive calorie intake. Consider opting for lower-calorie drinks such as plain coffee, unsweetened teas, or light versions of your favorite beverages.

Additionally, choosing snacks that are lower in calories and higher in nutritional value, such as fresh fruit or protein bars, can help to balance out your overall calorie intake.

Ultimately, it’s about making informed choices and practicing moderation. Enjoying a treat from Starbucks occasionally as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to make a significant impact on your weight.

However, relying on Starbucks as a daily source of high-calorie beverages and snacks can contribute to weight gain over time.

Seeking Balance in Your Diet

To maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to consider your overall diet and lifestyle. Incorporating regular exercise, consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, and practicing portion control are key factors in weight management.

Remember, it’s not just about avoiding Starbucks products but also being mindful of your overall calorie intake from all sources. Balancing indulgences with healthier choices throughout the day can help you maintain a healthy weight and enjoy your favorite Starbucks treats without guilt.

For more information on maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, you can visit reputable websites such as Mayo Clinic or NHS.


While some Starbucks drinks definitely qualify as calorie bombs, you don’t have to resign yourself to weight gain if you enjoy an occasional coffeehouse treat. By customizing your order and opting for lighter fare like tea, coffee, and cold brew, you can still enjoy Starbucks in moderation as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle.

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