If you’re looking to cut sugar from your diet, you should take a long, hard look at your coffee habits. Most people are surprised when they find out how much sugar there is in their favorite Starbucks treats. Some of the flavored lattes and iced drinks have as much sugar as the average soda! Luckily, there are plenty of sugar-free drinks at Starbucks that will satisfy your coffee craving without overloading you with sugar.
In this article, we’re going to list our favorite sugar-free Starbucks drinks, as well as some low-sugar options, and explain why added sugar is your real enemy and what you need to watch out for. Don’t worry; there are plenty of delicious drinks at Starbucks that have reasonable amounts of sugar. Let’s jump in.
The 8 Best Sugar-Free Starbucks Drinks
1. Plain Black Coffee
It might seem obvious, but plain black coffee without any milk or sugar is your best bet if you want to cut sugar out of your diet. Even adding milk can add small amounts of sugar to your diet, so we recommend sticking to black coffee if you’re serious about reducing your sugar intake.
Cutting out flavored drinks and other specialty coffee beverages is a drastic move, so consider alternating between a sugary drink and black coffee. It will make it easier to stick with the habit than quitting sugary coffee cold turkey.
2. Espresso Shot
If you’re only looking for a caffeine pick-me-up, a simple shot of espresso is a great sugar-free option. Just like black coffee, a shot of espresso has zero grams of sugar and provides about as much caffeine as a full 8-ounce cup of coffee. As a bonus, Starbucks espresso is good enough to be enjoyable on its own, making it a great diet and wallet-friendly way to get your coffee fix.
The cappuccino is the less milky cousin of the latte. Cappuccinos have more milk foam than lattes, making them thicker and creamier while using less milk and more espresso. At Starbucks, the tall cappuccino has 9 grams of sugar from milk. Compared to the popular pumpkin spice latte, which has a whopping 39 grams of sugar, 9 grams doesn’t sound so bad. Plus, those grams coming from milk are from naturally occurring sugars like lactose, not refined sugar.
4. Flat White
If a cappuccino doesn’t have quite enough milk for you, a flat white is a milkier option. The tall flat white has 13 grams of sugar, making it slightly sweeter than a cappuccino but not nearly as sweet as some of the syrup-laden flavored lattes. Flat whites fill in the gap between lattes and cappuccinos and are good for people that find cappuccinos too strong.
5. Cold Brew
Starbucks’ cold brew is smooth, delicious, and doesn’t have any sugar. Cold brew coffee is naturally sweeter than hot-brewed coffee because of the longer, slower extraction process. If you like chocolatey tasting notes and velvety mouthfeel, you’ll love cold brew. Starbucks also has an option to add cold foam to their cold brew coffees, upping the sugar by only 5 grams and making the drink even sweeter.
Most people don’t think of getting tea at Starbucks, but it can be the perfect option for people trying to reduce their sugar consumption. Starbucks has an impressive array of teas to choose from, including black teas like Earl Grey and chai, green tea, and a smattering of herbal options. If you drink your tea without milk and sugar, you have a 100% sugar-free drink, but even adding a splash of milk will only add a tiny amount of natural sugar compared to the rest of the Starbucks’ menu.
7. Flavored Coffee
If black coffee and tea isn’t your cup of, well, tea, you can order flavored coffee with two or fewer pumps. Two pumps of Starbucks’ flavored syrups only have 10 grams of sugar, so you can enjoy a tastier treat without feeling guilty. We recommend starting with one pump and only adding the second if you feel like you need it. You may be surprised how much flavor only one pump adds.
8. Your Favorite Flavored Latte With Sugar-free Syrup
Some people don’t realize that many of Starbucks’ flavored syrups have sugar-free versions. Next time you have a hankering for one of Starbucks’ delicious, sweet, flavored lattes, ask your barista if they can make it with sugar-free syrup instead. Replacing the sugar-heavy regular syrup with the sugar-free version can allow you to enjoy your favorite coffee drinks without adding tons of sugar to your diet.
Added Sugar vs. Natural Sugar
Sugar is sugar, whether it’s added or natural, but added sugar is where many people get into trouble. Naturally occurring sugar from sources like milk is perfectly acceptable and generally won’t be above the daily recommended intake level. Our modern diets have trained us to prefer ever-increasing levels of sweetness, and companies add sugar to their food and beverage to get us to choose their products over the competition.
Added sugar can put you over the recommended daily allowance of sugar in just a single coffee, so avoiding drinks with added sugar is important if you want to continue your coffee habit without harming your health.
Starbucks’ flavored lattes and specialty coffee drinks don’t have to be cut from your diet entirely if you’re watching your sugar. There are plenty of sugar-free syrups and low-sugar options to choose from, so you can continue enjoying your morning coffee without overindulging in sugar.
In extreme circumstances, your doctor might recommend removing sugar from your diet entirely, but, luckily, there are still plenty of sugar-free Starbucks drinks you can order. Regular black coffee, tea, and cold brew are the best 100% sugar-free options.
Featured Image Credit: Samule Sun, Unsplash