Starbucks' New Fruity Frappuccinos Are More a Dessert Than a Smoothie

by Leah Groth ; Updated April 13, 2018

Is 2017 the year of Starbucks, or what?

First, the Seattle-based coffee giant launched its limited-edition Unicorn Frappuccino, which Instagrammers went crazy over. Next came a collection of vibrantly hued, health-conscious beverages that are part of a charitable collaboration with Lady Gaga. And this week Starbucks added two brand-new fruity Frappuccinos to its lineup.

But before you get too psyched about the Berry Prickly Pear and Mango Pineapple blended drinks, you might want get the skinny about its health stats.

Both flavors seriously scream summer and are both Crème blends, which basically means they are made from a milk base and swirled with fruit. According to Starbucks, the Berry Prickly Pear “is a whole lot of fruity fun in one cup. You’ll pick up tastes of bright berries and prickly pear, with side notes of hibiscus and passion fruit.” The Mango Pineapple “gives you a taste of the tropics even when you’re nowhere close to sun and sand, with flavors of mango, caramelized pineapple and a hint of lime.”

While both flavors sound delicious, don’t mistake these fruity “crème” concoctions for an actual smoothie. Like many of the brand’s other Frappuccinos, these latest blends aren’t exactly the healthiest items on its menu.

According to the brand’s website, a 16-ounce Grande of either flavor packs 260 calories, four grams of fat (2.5 saturated) and 52 grams of carbohydrates. While they each boast four grams of protein, they also contain a whopping 50 grams sugar — more than double what the American Heart Association recommends per day for women.

And if you’re thinking about supersizing to a Venti, we’re talking 360 calories and 67 grams of sugar — almost double the recommended daily amount of sugar for men. (To put this in perspective, the average scoop of ice cream has 127 to 266 calories and four to 22 grams of sugar, depending on the flavor and the amount of milk fat.)

Also, unlike most fruit smoothies, these fruity Frappuccinos aren’t made with fruit and yogurt. Ingredients for the mango version include ice, milk, “Crème Frappuccino syrup” (a combo of things like sugar, artificial flavor, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and citric acid), various fruit “concentrates” and mango syrup (again, more sugar, juice concentrates, citric acid, potassium sorbate, turmeric and gum arabic). The prickly pear version’s ingredients are pretty much identical and equally unhealthy, but contain different fruit flavors and syrups.

So if you feel like indulging in these delicious drinks, by all means, go ahead. But keep in mind that, as with most of Starbucks’ Frappuccinos, it’s best to think of them as a dessert.

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What Do YOU Think?

Will you try Starbucks’ newest Frappuccinos? How often do you indulge in blended coffee beverages? Do you consider them healthy?

About the Author

Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.