Starbucks’ Not-So-Healthy Alternatives, Plus an Outright Health Nightmare

Starbucks has a bit of a split personality this spring. On one hand, the famed coffee retailer has announced a new line of “healthy” smoothies, which include the well-known superfood, kale. On the other, it has also just announced the arrival of the S’Mores Frappuccino: a whirlwind of sugar and other nasty ingredients.

While this may seem strange, peeking below the surface, the new smoothie line is not as healthy as it may seem. And the Frappuccino? It’s basically what we’ve come to expect from Starbucks, as unfortunately, sugar and artificial flavors run through just about all of their specialty beverages.

First, let’s talk about the Evolution Fresh Smoothies, which Starbucks announced on March 31. The smoothies will reportedly consist of a combination of Starbucks’ Evolution Fresh Juices and Dannon yogurts. According to Jeff Hansberry, president of Evolution Fresh, the smoothies will be “free from artificial sweeteners or fillers,” and patrons will be able to add ingredients such as fresh kale or protein powders to augment their smoothies in-store.

The good side? Evolution Fresh Juices are 100 percent real, cold-pressed juices. Plus, kale and yogurt are, in their natural forms, incredibly healthy ingredients. The downside? The juices are not organic, leaving their ingredients susceptible to pesticide contamination. Kale in particular has repeatedly been featured on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list of pesticide-laden produce. So, when choosing kale, organic is key.

Then there’s the yogurt. While natural yogurt made from organic milk is amazing for its probiotic benefits, most processed yogurts do not actually contain live active cultures, so their probiotic benefits are either diminished or negated (always check your labels!). Plus, if flavored Dannon yogurts are used in the mix, you can bet they contain sugar—America’s favorite poison—and likely “natural flavors,” which could be made of essentially anything that used to come from nature before heavy processing.

On top of that, most protein powders on the market are highly processed, and often chock-full of preservatives and other additives.

So, that’s the “healthy” Starbucks alternative… what about the nightmare? The new S’Mores Frappuccino, set to arrive on April 28, is rife with sugary syrups, artificial flavorings, and barely-pronounceable ingredients. According to Starbucks, features of the new Frap will include “marshmallow-infused whipped cream,” a “graham cracker crumble,” and “milk chocolate sauce.” Sadly, the overload of sugar and sprinkle of gluten are just the tip of the iceberg.

starbucksIf the “marshmallow-infused whipped cream” to be used consists of the same marshmallows that are found in Starbucks’ Gluten-Free Marshmallow Dream Bars, then the ingredients will be corn syrup, sugar, modified corn starch, and gelatin. So, the first two ingredients are basically sugar. However, the corn syrup may be even worse, as it contains an unbalanced fructose-to-glucose ratio, which leads the liver to store it as fat. Not to mention the fact that it’s likely derived from GMO corn (as likely is the modified corn starch).

It has not yet been announced which flavor syrups will be used in this concoction, however, most (if not all) of Starbucks’ flavor syrups contain both natural and artificial flavorings, potentially artificial colors, as well as preservatives. Some also contain caramel color, which as we have previous reported, has been linked by some research to carcinogenic qualities. Yup, that’s a health nightmare, all right.

So, we’d say skip the Starbucks and brew your own delicious (and healthy!) organic coffee at home. Blend it up with a bit of organic coconut oil, some organic raw cacao, and a dash of organic coconut crystals, and you’ve got yourself a winning beverage that won’t wreak havoc on your body!

-The Alternative Daily


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