As we head into finals, everyone will be grabbing a caffeine fix (or two) from their favorite on-campus coffee shops before spending hours on end stu(dying). Starbucks is my provider of choice. I love my coffee, and anyone who knows me knows that I require a lot of sugar in my daily cup of joe.

Now, along with a lot of other people out there, I’m trying to be more healthy (key word: trying) and that includes reducing my sugar intake. However, sacrificing my sugar should not require me to sacrifice my latte.

Lucky for me, Starbucks offer a “skinny” alternative to most of their popular drinks, allowing for less sugar and calories. The “skinny” options usually include nonfat milk, the removal of whipped cream, and the replacement of regular syrup with sugar-free. But are the alternatives actually “skinny”? I took a look at the sugar content, courtesy of Starbucks’ website, and this is what I found.

Caffe Mocha


Photo by Luna Zhang

A grande Caffe Mocha has a gaspingly high sugar content, coming in at 35g for hot and 30g for iced. Now, before you swear off your indulgence forever, the skinny options of the drink have less than half of the sugar, with 15g for a hot mocha and 8g for an iced. The main obvious difference is the lack of whipped cream on the skinny versions, cutting more than a few unneeded grams of sugar and calories.

Caramel Macchiato


Photo by Kristen Eisenhauer

A grande caramel macchiato contains 32g of sugar. Compared to it’s skinny counterpart, that contains only 18g, it’s awfully high. The main difference is the 2% milk being subbed for nonfat milk in the skinny version and again the removal of the whipped cream on top.

Iced Vanilla Latte


Photo courtesy of @serinalove7 on Instagram

A personal favorite of mine, I was shocked to see that my daily grande latte had 28g of sugar and 190 calories. Luckily, the skinny version only has 10g of sugar and 80 calories, so I don’t have to sacrifice my daily caffeine intake.



Photo by Lauren Murray

While I myself have not indulged in a frappucino since I was 13, my friend who is a barista always talks about the popularity of the sweet concoction. Most frappucinos have only 100mg of caffeine which is, on average, 33% less caffeine than the rest of the items on the menu.

Since the last frappuccino I drank was caramel, I used that for my reference. A grande has 64g of sugar, which is over 60% of your daily intake. The “skinny” option, referred to as light, has 29g. While still not great, it’s a slight improvement.

So next time you order your favorite Starbucks drink, order the “skinny” version, it’s worth the slight change in taste to benefit your health. You’ll still get your coffee without the guilt, and if you really prefer more sugar than your coffee, you can always add some later.