Is Starbucks' Unicorn Frappuccino Diabetes In A Cup? What's In It And What People Think
That is why it comes as no surprise when Starbucks' latest craze - the Unicorn Frappuccino - is such a hit with its patrons who love to post picture-perfect photos on Instagram. Of course, not everyone shares the excitement out of concern over the new beverage's unhealthy sugar levels.
What Is The Unicorn Frappuccino?
The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Blended Crème is a sugary abomination in a pretty package - at least that's what its critics say. However, the critics do have a valid point with the Unicorn drink's sugar content.
The Unicorn Frappuccino's main point of spectacle are its color- and flavor-changing quality, and the company seems to be leveraging on having the customers focus on those instead of its nutrition facts.
"Magical flavors start off sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour. Swirl it to reveal a color-changing spectacle of purple and pink. It's finished with whipped cream-sprinkled pink and blue fairy powders," Starbucks describes.
What Is Really In The Unicorn Frappuccino?
Looking at the nutrition facts in a standard Grande Unicorn Frappuccino - a 16-ounce drink that uses whole milk and syrup, topped with whipped cream - is already scary. The Unicorn has zero caffeine, 16 grams (0.56 ounces) of fat in total with saturated fat making up for 10 grams (0.35 ounces), and 59 grams (2.08 ounces) of sugar at 410 calories.
Upsize that into a Venti and the figures become 18 grams (0.63 ounces) of fat with saturated fat making up 11 grams (0.39 ounces), and 76 grams (2.68 ounces) of sugar in a 500-calorie 24-ounce cup.
The figures don't look scary? Think again.
The World Health Organization released an updated recommended sugar intake for children and adults in 2015 and the Unicorn just tramples all over that.
The WHO recommends that adult females limit their additional daily sugar intake to 100 calories, amounting to approximately 6 teaspoons of sugar, while adult males have a limit of 150 calories or about 9 teaspoons.
Since there are 3.87 calories to a gram of sugar, a Grande Unicorn packs 228.33 calories of sugar while a Venti has 294.12 calories.
That's right, a Grande Unicorn Frappuccino already contains more than twice the amount of acceptable daily sugar intake. Sugar may not directly cause diabetes but ingesting excessive amounts of sugar is a sure way to break down your body and invite various diseases, including type 2 diabetes.
People Love Unicorns But Not The Frappuccino Version
The Unicorn Frappuccino already drives baristas crazy because of the difficulty in making the drink. One particular barista in Colorado, Braden Burson, even posted a video rant asking patrons not to order the Unicorn Frappuccino. The viral video has since been taken down but Starbucks says that Burson has not been dismissed for his outburst over the company's limited-edition product.
Meanwhile, celebrity chefs are concerned about the beverage's lack of nutritional value.
"That's just another form of sugar to give our kids, 'cause all our kids are gonna want that," Chef Carla Hall from The Chew says.
David Burtka also shares Hall's sentiment.
"It looks like it's not that great for you ... All that dye, and it changes color! It's tart but it's sweet. I can't imagine putting that in your body," Burtka says.
Foodie Al Roker has a far stronger opinion on the new product.
"Well, that just sounds really disgusting. There's absolutely no reason for that," Roker says.
Registered dietitian Niki Kubiak has also expressed her concern.
"It will hit your bloodstream in a concentrated way and then it will leave you tired and sometimes hungry ... There is a lot of fat in this drink, and it isn't the good kind," Kubiak explains. She also adds that drinking the Unicorn Frappuccino once is acceptable but more than that is already unhealthy.
Anthony Bourdain has an interesting take on the colorful drink.
"Wow, that's like four things I hate all in one sentence: Starbucks, unicorns, and the colors pink and purple. Also a Frappuccino! It's the perfect nexus of awfulness. Just add pumpkin spice to that mix, and you can nuke the whole county," he said.
Late-night show hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel also weighed in on the Unicorn Frappuccino, with Colbert calling it a "sugary affront to God" and Kimmel describing it as an abomination.
Watch the videos below.