Starbucks' Zombie Frappuccino Has a Scary Amount of Sugar

Leah Groth

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s no surprise that Starbucks would release a creepy-themed Frappuccino. After weeks of swirling rumors, the coffee chain has confirmed its Zombie Frappuccino is available now through October 31. But the scariest thing about the frosty beverage may be how much sugar it contains.

“It’s more trick than treat with delicious apple and caramel flavors,” Starbucks writes on its website about the limited edition beverage.

Like its Unicorn frap, which dominated Instagram last spring, the new drink is ghoulishly cool-looking: The base of the drink is apple- and caramel-flavored Frappuccino creme, with a red, bloody-looking drizzle topped with pink whipped cream, meant to resemble brains. But also like the Unicorn frap, the drink is full of sugar, calories and fat grams. For instance, a Venti prepared with whole milk has 390 calories, seven grams of fat and a whopping 70 grams of sugar. Yes, 70 freaking grams!

Let’s talk about this ungodly amount sugar in more detail. The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 36 grams of sugar per day and that women consume no more than 24 grams. You don’t have to be good at math to notice that 70 is a considerably weightier number than both 36 and 24 — even if you add them together! Just one of these zombie drinks contains about double the amount of sugar recommended for men and nearly triple the amount for women.

So how did it taste? As can be expected by the amount of sugar packed into a cup, it is what could be explained by many as sickeningly sweet. The taste is pretty potent and distinct: My face actually wrinkled a little as I took my first sip. It was like one of those caramel-apple lollipops in liquid form with the addition of lots and lots of cream.

Then there’s the aftertaste (mocha), which I didn’t initially notice. My 4-year-old thought it tasted “awesome” and immediately thought it was a strawberry shake. After he spilled it all over my car, my friend also mentioned it smelled like strawberry. It’s definitely unique, but unless you are used to consuming copious amounts of sugar, it might make your teeth hurt.

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The consensus? The only thing going for the Zombie Frappuccino is that it will look cool on your social media feed. Business Insider suggests snapping images in a timely manner because, “As the beverage begins to melt — which happens quite quickly — it goes from Hollywood-style Frankenstein to a garden-variety zombie with its flesh slowly disintegrating. The blood mixes with the green Frappuccino to create a murky, muddy drink that’s hardly worth a Snapchat, much less an Instagram.”

So is the Zombie Frappuccino worth the possible sugar high and subsequent crash? Only you can be the judge of that. If you are dying to try one — pun intended — we suggest sticking with a Tall or making some modifications to cut the sugar content. Substituting low-fat, nonfat or almond milk for whole or getting rid of the whip after your photo shoot will definitely make the drink a bit healthier — but also may defeat the purpose of ordering it in the first place.

What Do YOU Think?

Are you surprised by the amount of sugar in a Zombie Frappuccino? Will you order one? Do you think it is irresponsible of companies to offer drinks that are so high in sugar?