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Weight Loss & Diet

Best and Worst Drinks for Weight Loss at Starbucks

Best and Worst Drinks for Weight Loss at Starbucks
Author
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

In this article:

  • Starbucks is the largest coffee shop in the US and world. Many beverages are high in calories and sugar. But some are better for weight loss.
  • Starbucks will customize any drink for you. You can order short even though it is not on the menu, skip whipped cream, get fewer syrup pumps, and select skim milk to reduce calories and sugar.
  • Fresh Filter Coffee, Caffe Americano, Espresso, and Brew Tea are best bets. Mocha, Macchiato, and Frappuccino can set you back.
  • Lark can help you lose weight and make healthier choices every day. The compassionate coach is always available for you.

Starbucks is the biggest coffee shop chain in the US and world. Are you one of millions Americans who use Starbucks for a regular pick-me-up or an occasional jolt? Then you need to know how your orders affect your weight.

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Research in Preventing Chronic Disease found that 2 in 5 US adults drink sugar-sweetened coffee and tea drinks daily. Some Starbucks beverages are laden with calories and sugar. Others are more reasonable. They can be great choices for getting weight loss benefits related to coffee and caffeine!

These tips can help you get a better drink.

  1. Check the nutrition information before you go.
  2. A Short is available even if you do not see it on the menu. It is the smallest drink.
  3. Baristas will customize your order however you like. That means you can ask for less syrup or more ice, for example, to lower calories.
  4. You can add stevia, cocoa powder, vanilla, and cinnamon to your drink. That increases flavor with hardly any calories.
  5. Skim milk, almond milk, and coconut milk are lower in calories than whole milk. Soy milk is in between.

Starbucks has some help for you. Its brochure suggests lower-calorie swaps and menu items.

But now, here are our picks for the best and worst drinks for weight loss at Starbucks.

Best Weight Loss Drinks at Starbucks


These drinks can give you a lift or refresh you without setting you back much. Calories are given for the Grande size.

1. Brewed Coffee (10 calories)

Plain and simple, this is for pure coffee lovers. It is still reasonable with almond milk or skim milk and stevia.

2. Espresso (15 calories) or Caffe Americano (15 calories)

These are blends of coffee and water, so they will not set you back much. They are still nearly calorie-free with cinnamon or cocoa powder and stevia.

3. Iced Green Tea or Iced Black Tea (0 Calories)

Worse options are Iced Chai Tea Latte (240 calories)

4. Espresso con Panna (35 calories)

This drink shows you the value of portion control. It has whipped cream and vanilla syrup, but does not go overboard on calories. It is a good choice when you want to savor a treat.

5. Royal English Breakfast Tea (0 calories)

Brewed tea gives you less of a caffeine jolt than coffee, and it is also low-calorie. Royal English Breakfast Tea, Green Tea, and Earl Grey Tea are calorie-free. Peach Tea (0 calories) is a completely caffeine-free choice because it is an herbal tea.

Worst Weight Loss Drinks at Starbucks


Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes, and other concerns. Our picks for worst weight loss drinks are high in added sugars and calories.

1. Pumpkin Spice Latte (415 calories)

It is no surprise that a drink inspired by a pie is not that healthy. But did you know it has 50 grams of sugar? That is way more than the amount in a slice of pumpkin pie. Honey Oat Milk (270 calories) and Blonde Vanilla (250 calories) Lattes are pretty bad, too. But you can get Sugar-Free Syrup instead of full sugar, and skip the whip. A better choice is a Caffe Latte with Skim Milk (150 calories) with cinnamon powder and stevia.

2. Hot Chocolate (555 calories)

How do they even pack in 47 grams of sugar?! It comes with 4 pumps of Mocha Syrup. White Hot Chocolate (470 calories) is pretty bad, too. Instead, consider a Flat White with Skim Milk (150 calories) with some cocoa powder and stevia.

3. Caramel Ribbon Crunch Creme Frappuccino (450 calories)

What do you get when you mix milk and ice with sweetened whipped cream, sugar-sweetened syrup, caramel sauce, dark caramel sauce, and caramel crunch drizzle? That adds up to 46 grams of sugar. Plus, the drink has 22 grams of fat if you use whole milk. Honey Almond Milk Cold Brew (60 calories) is a much safer choice.

4. Chai Tea Latte (255 calories)

It is not as bad as some choices, but it has 42 grams of sugar. You can make it better by getting 1 or 2 pumps of syrup instead of 4, and asking for skim milk. Or just get Chai Tea (0 calories). Peach Iced Tea (60 calories) is okay, and you can cut sugar and calories more if you get Light Apple and Light Peach Juice Blends.

5. Refreshers (130 calories)

These sound good, with flavors of tropical fruits such as kiwi and dragon fruit. But the reality is that they have a lot of added sugars and not much fruit. Iced Passion Tango Tea (0 calories) is a better choice for a fruit-flavored beverage. Evolution Drinks (170 calories) at least have real fruit. But the best choice yet? An orange or banana.

No Cost Health Kit to Lower Your Risk of Diabetes

Free Health Kit
Weight 160lbs
Height 64
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Risk

Losing weight can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and that’s not all. When you lose a few extra pounds, energy levels can increase, cholesterol and blood pressure can improve, and clothes fit better. Best of all is that Lark makes weight loss simple!

Lark doesn’t just know which choices can lead to weight loss. Lark coaches you on how to make good choices that can become habits. With small changes that fit right into your lifestyle, you can drop pounds and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Your personal coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone so you can get expert tips, track meals, physical activity, and weight loss. 

The entire program may be available at no cost to you if your health insurer covers it. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark! You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.

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