Is Your Starbucks Coffee Healthy?

starbucks-coffeeWhy do we drink Starbucks Coffee? For most modern people our high-paced lifestyles means that we are constantly under strain and on the run. To help us cope with the seemingly never-ending pressure, most of us fall to coffeeto keep going. But because we are in such a rush, we don’t take the time to make it. Enter Starbucks.

But what are you drinking when you have a Starbucks coffee? One thing we can tell you before we start is that takeaway coffee from big chain stores like Starbuck is nothing like the simple drink you brew at home.

What is inside a Starbucks Coffee?

GMO Milk

The first and most obvious thing you will notice about Starbucks coffee is that it is made with a lot of milk. The milk used in Starbucks coffee (and many other chain coffee outlets) comes from cows that are fed GMO crops and antibiotics.

Most GMO crops are actually used to feed dairy cows. The genetically altered “Monsanto” crops used to feed cows to promote a large milk yield.  GMO crops are weaker against natural pests than regular crops. Because of this these crops have to be sprayed with chemical herbicides like Roundup, which is also manufactured by Monsanto. Both the GMO’s and the Pesticides cross from the mother cow into her milk, which is then going into your Starbucks coffee. You may think you don’t eat GMOs or foods treated by pesticide. But if you drink Starbucks coffee you are still being exposed to these chemicals.

Most mass dairy factory farms blanket treat their cows with antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. These antibiotics then cross into the milk and ultimately end up inside your coffee, too. But enough about the milk.


The next scary ingredient on the list (before we get to the real chemicals) is sugar.

Unless you order a Sugar-Free coffee, the chances are your Starbucks coffee is loaded with sugar. Some flavoured coffees, such as the Caramel Macchiato and the Chai latte, have been found to have up to 25 teaspoons of sugar per cup!  That is three times the maximum daily intake of sugar, recommended by the American Heart Associations.  Starbucks has claimed that it is committed to bringing down the Starbucks coffee sugar content by 25% by 2020.

Sugar by any other name…

Starbucks sneaks sugar into everything by calling it something else. There are all kinds of other ingredients listed in their beverages which are, essentially, just different forms of sugar. For example, “Organic evaporated cane juice”. Cane is the plant that sugar comes from. Evaporated cane juice is sugar!  They have just added the word “organic” to make it look healthier than it is.

Corn Syrup is another culprit. It may sound harmless but corn syrup is just as bad as sugar, if not worse. Corn Syrup is sweet because it extremely high in fructose. Fructose is a concentrated form of sugar, and it has all the same effects on your body.

Why do we hate sugar? Sugar causes your insulin levels to spike. The raised insulin levels in your body have a long term effect of making you more likely to develop type two diabetes. In the short term insulin spikes cause you to become tired, sluggish and lethargic. Considering that most people are drinking coffee to stay alert and awake, it’s interesting to note that the sugar levels in your Starbucks coffee is so extreme that it actually causes your energy levels to crash after an hour or so. What happens next? You reach for the next cup of coffee to try and wake yourself up, and the whole process starts again.

What about the sugar -free options?

Most of these are sweetened by non-nutritive sweeteners. The idea behind them is that they are not supposed to make you fat, because they don’t give you any nutrition. The problem is that they have two other characteristics which are almost worse than sugar: They are full of toxic chemicals, and they are addictive.

Non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame have made headlines over the last few years for the cancer causing effects they have – and yet they remain present in our foods.

These sweeteners also have the effect of making people compulsively over eat and drink, because they are addictive. There is not much value in drinking a “sugar-free” drink if you can’t stop drinking them.

Other Harmful Ingredients in Starbucks Coffee

Aside from Sugar and Milk, there are all kinds of other ingredients in Starbucks coffee that you don’t want to put into your body. Even the Dairy free milks contain Guar gum and Carrageenan, not to mention large quantities of salt and preservatives, emulsifiers, thickeners, and flavourings.

Dairy-Free Milks Coffee Ingredients:

Below is a list of ingredients inside the dairy free milk offerings at Starbucks:

Starbucks Almond Milk: Filtered water, Almonds, Sugar, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Xantham gum, Guar gum, Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2.

Starbucks Coconut Milk: Water, Coconut Cream, Cane Sugar, Tricalcium Phosphate, Coconut Water Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Gellan Gum, Corn Dextrin, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2.

Starbucks Organic Vanilla Soymilk: [Organic Soymilk (Filtered Water, Whole Organic Soybeans), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Vanilla Flavor, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Baking Soda, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin (B2), Vitamin B12].


Carrageenan – Carrageenan is used as a thickener and emulsifier to keep ingredients from separating. Unfortunately it causes digestion problems for many people and is contaminated with as much as 25% “degraded carrageenan”. As reported in a new study published in Nature, emulsifiers are cited as being partially responsible for the “rising incidence of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease by interfering with microbes in the gastrointestinal tract”. Most mainstream brands have removed carrageenan from their products,but it’s still found at Starbucks coffee.

Gellan Gum and Guar Gum– Both of these ingredients are known to cause stomach problems like bloating, gas and IBS.


The worst Starbucks coffees – what to avoid


Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

If you think that this beverage is healthy because it has “pumpkin” in it, just take a look at the extensive list of unnatural ingredients in it: GMO milk, sugar, contains 2% or less of fruit, flavourings, annatto, salt, potassium sorbate, monoglycerides, diglycerides, carrageenan, vanilla syrup (corn syrup),potassium sorbate, and sulfiting agents.

Starbucks Skinny Cinnamon Dolce Latte

The Ingredients in this “skinny” are less than skinny: The main culprits are sucralose (a non-nutritive sweetener associated with cancer), natural and artificial flavourings which have been proven to cause compulsive, addictive eating.

Starbucks Caramel Macchiato

The Caramel Macchiato contains high fructose corn syrup. This sweetener is usually made from GMO corn, and it’s been heavily linked to type 2 diabetes and stomach cancer.

Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha

This drink contains monoglycerides, which is a by-product of oil processing which contain trans fatty acid. Trans fatty acids are responsible for clogged arteries, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The whipped cream is thickened with carrageenan, which we have described above.

Starbucks Citrus Green Tea Latte

This may sound like a healthy drink, but in truth it’s loaded with sugar. In fact it contains more sugar than most of the other drinks at Starbucks. It also contains maltodextrin, corn syrup, flavourings and sweeteners, emulsifiers and, in case that’s not enough it also contains preservatives.

Starbucks Very Berry Hibiscus Refreshers

This beverage is full of artificial flavourings and sweeteners. It also contains synthesised, chemically pure erythritol. It also contains Truvia, which is extracted from Stevia using chemicals such as methanol,ethanol, acetone, acetonitrile and isopropanol.  Many of these chemicals are associated with cancer. None of them should be in your food.


The drinks listed above are examples of your average Starbucks beverages. There are many variations and flavours, but the ingredients above are what you will find in most of them. In truth you are much better off making your own coffee at home and pouring it in a travel mug to take along with you.

Even if you add sugar you will most likely only add one teaspoon full instead of 25, like some Starbucks coffees! Instead you can make your coffee with organic milk, real honey and organic coffee. No hidden preservatives, corn syrup or thickeners and emulsifiers.

Do you constantly suffer from bloating, gas or indigestion after drinking coffee?

If yes, you could be suffering from digestive issues, go to the next page and watch the 3 tips to reverse these digestive-related issues –






About the Author:

Emma Deangela is the best selling author of The Alkaline Diet Program and 80/20 Fat Loss. She has helped over tens of thousands of men and women to lose weight and transform their health with sound nutrition advice.

Do you drink coffee? What brands do you drink?

Please help them by sharing this eye-opening article with each of them using any of the social media and email buttons below.





17 responses to “Is Your Starbucks Coffee Healthy?”

  1. AA Avatar

    Your hate for starbucks is anti american . you must be for europe , all haters are .

  2. Jody Avatar

    How about just black hot coffee, no sugar and dairy?

  3. trudy wible Avatar
    trudy wible

    This is horrible news, I thought they are overdosing people
    on bad ingredients and they keep getting it, I was doing the chai
    tea and I would tell them only give me 1 pump make it so its not sweet and that worked better for me, its sad that its happening out here , even panera bread is doing it, allot of sugar and chemicals in some things but they have been a little better. Its s allot going on with all of the fast food places too. Wish it would change for the better so we can have good health. Its so sad. Thanks

  4. Avatar

    This article mentions NOTHING about the coffee itself, so why single out Starbucks over any other coffee place that uses milk and sugar in their drinks?

  5. Julia Avatar

    So it’s not the coffee per se that the culprit, it’s all the other stuff that you have objections to! This article needs to be a little more clear about that distinction, because it makes it sounds that the Starbucks coffee itself is harmful! Very misleading!

    1. PG Avatar

      The coffee, as most commercial coffee’s, is imported and as such contains heavy doses of pesticides from countries that put no controls on the amount or type of pesticides that are used on foods that are exported.
      You can bet for sure that the growers of these coffee’s do not drink the coffee that is exported but grow their own organic coffee for local consumption.
      Add the pesticide laden coffee with the other chemicals mentioned in this story and the American starbuck’ s customer is drinking a toxic brew for sure.

    2. L.D. Avatar

      The article never said it’s not the coffee? The article clearly states from the beginning it has pesticides in it.

  6. Jim Avatar

    Kind of a misreading title. A more accurate headline might have been mixed coffee drinks often can Large quantities of sugar and milk. Anyone at all concerned about their health likely understands the issues with sugar and anyone with lactose issues knows about the issue of milk on the digestive system . The arguments you use here apply to any sweetened coffee drink made by anyone (except for the milk additives when a shop uses organic milk) . So to single out Starbucks is kind of unfair. The milk is obtained from local dairies so the comments about the milk source may not apply in all cases. There is hardly anything in the article that is new or eye opening . I will continue to enjoy my black unsweetened coffee from Starbucks and everywhere else I purchase coffee.

  7. Angie Walden Avatar
    Angie Walden

    Hello .. Emma, i noticed that in all this … you did not mention that the high caffeine causes a high pitched ringing in the ears. and it stays there for a long time. i guess after a while the ringing goes away, but what if after much coffee drinking of the high caffeine content coffee the noise does not go away??.

  8. Allen Barenholtz Avatar
    Allen Barenholtz

    I can easily agree with the problems with all of the additives mentioned here – – thank you so much for your careful research!

    I enjoy coffee black, and I usually say, ” just a cup around it, please!”

    What about the quality of the coffee itself? Any health concerns there? Non-organic? GMO? Pesticides?

    Thank you so much!


  9. Cheryl Avatar

    I only drink black coffee. Is there anything wrong with Starbucks black coffee?

  10. John Murray Avatar
    John Murray


    Your article headline Is Your Starbucks Coffee Healthy would lead one to believe you are referring to the quality of Starbucks coffee itself. and its quality. But the article does not seem to be about Starbucks coffee at all but about some unhealthful ingredients other than coffee mixed into a variety of imaginatively named beverages also sold by Starbucks. Yep, they contain coffee, but coffee is not what your article is about. My take on it is that these beverages are nothing more than liquid candy bars–I drank one once and the sugar spike was incredible. But I think you ought to make it clear you are not commenting about the quality and purity of Starbucks coffee itself–unless you are, in which case please make that clear and keep your analysis focused. Should one be concerned about the quality and purity of Starbucks coffee, Emma? Let us know. And, have you thought about taking on Dunkin’ Donuts in the same way? There one might discover similar challenges to health, who knows? All best, JM

  11. Philip Grossman Avatar
    Philip Grossman

    I consider myself a purist. My Starbuck’s coffee choice is Pike with no room for milk. Am I still putting myself in danger?

  12. Philip Grossman Avatar
    Philip Grossman

    Do you not see my name and email address to the left of the asterisked items?

  13. Ani Avatar

    Do you know for a fact that Starbucks uses GMO milk? Also depending upon what type of genetic modification has been carried out, the resulting crop is more resistant to diseases and pests than natural ones. Please don’t write something without proving it.

  14. K. Avatar

    Thank you for the very onpoint and accurate info. It is APPRECIATED!

  15. Surfzen Avatar

    Some Starbucks have a Clover Coffee Machine. The store volume and counter space seems to determine which stores have the machine. You can do a search on their website to find the store nearest you that has the Clover. It costs about $0.50 extra for coffee made in the machine but you will soon see that you will agree with Howard Schultz when he said the Clover makes the best cup of coffee he ever had so he bought the entire company, took the machine off the market and Starbucks is the only place getting new Clovers. There are about a thousand that were sold by the previous owners so you might have a coffee shop near you with one. Try it, it will change your life. (I come close at home with my Aeropress Coffee maker for a total cost of $30 plus the cost of filters.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *