Summer is officially here and Starbucks is celebrating the season with new menu offerings. On the program: the Starbucks Paradise Drink, which is already creating a lot of buzz.
The drink has a decidedly mixed drink feel, and it’s meant to taste like summer. “Starbucks Refreshers Paradise Drink is like sunshine in a cup – the bright tropical flavors are radiant, happy and cheerful,” said Raegan Powell, Starbucks R&D senior product developer who helped create the drink, in a statement. Press. “It’s the perfect summer sip for a little moment of escape wherever you are.”
People are already sharing photos and reviews of the new drink on social media, and the general consensus seems to be that it’s delicious. But what’s in Paradise Drink, and is it healthy? Nutritionists step in.
What’s in Starbucks Paradise drink?
Starbucks Paradise drink is a combination of pineapple and passion fruit flavors, blended with diced pineapple and coconut milk. Starbucks specifically calls it a “creamy, dreamy, tropical sip.”
The drink is specifically made up of the following:
Ice Cream, Passionfruit Pineapple Refreshing Base (water, sugars (sugar, white grape juice concentrate), natural flavors, citric acid, green coffee extract, beta-carotene, rebaudioside A [a purified form of stevia]coconut milk (water, coconut cream, cane sugar, tricalcium phosphate, coconut water concentrate, sea salt, natural flavors, xanthan gum, gellan gum, corn dextrin, guar gum, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2), freeze-dried pineapple.
Is Starbucks Paradise drink vegan?
Yes! The Starbucks Paradise drink is made with coconut milk, fruit, and juices, making it a vegan drink.
Starbucks heavenly drink nutrition
Here’s what you look for in the nutrition department when you have a big Starbucks Paradise drink:
- Calories: 140
- Fat: 2.5 g (2.5 g saturated fat)
- Carbohydrates: 27g
- Protein: 1g
- Sugars: 23g
- Sodium: 65mg
- Fiber: 1g
- Caffeine: 45mg
Is the Paradise Drink healthy?
Starbucks never claimed its Paradise Drink was healthy, and nutrition experts say that’s definitely not the case.
Keri Gans, MS, RD, New York-based nutrition consultant and author of The small change diet calls it “another high sugar drink with minimal nutrition”, adding, “this drink may be refreshing, but nutritionally far from heaven”.
The high sugar content is concerning, says Vanessa Rissetto, MS, RD, co-founder of Culina Health in New York. “If you have blood sugar issues, it won’t help your cause,” she says. And, even if you don’t, a drink with 23 grams of sugar and minimal protein “is going to be digested quickly and leave you feeling hungry faster,” she says.
In addition to the high sugar load (equaling about six teaspoons of sugar), the drink “doesn’t provide much nutritional value,” says Jessica Cording, MS, RD, author of The Little Book of Game Changers: 50 Healthy Habits for Managing Stress and Anxiety. “Coconut milk is very low in protein,” she adds.
How to improve the Paradise Drink for you
Experts say it’s hard to make this drink healthier without losing any of its flavor. “Best enjoyed as an occasional treat,” Cording says. His advice: Take a size smaller and pair it with something that contains protein, like a boiled egg, to reduce your risk of blood sugar crashes later.
“A handful of nuts would provide protein, healthy fats and fiber, slow digestion and help stabilize blood sugar,” says Cording.
Rissetto recommends that you “enjoy your drink and move on.” And, she adds, “if 23 grams of sugar in a drink doesn’t meet your daily health goals, then maybe don’t consume it every day.”
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