By Mia De Graaf
Step aside pumpkin-spice latte – Starbucks has a new uber-festive, uber-calorific drink on the menu.
The chain today unveiled its seasonal ‘Christmas Tree Frappuccino’, which is essential a peppermint mocha milkshake topped with a tree-colored tower of matcha whipped cream, caramel, cranberries and a strawberry.
But while customers flocked to get their hands on one, nutritionists are warning to think twice about succumbing to the marketing ploy, for the sake of your health.
A grande, the medium size, has more calories than a quarter pounder with cheese, clocking in at 420 calories, with double the amount of sugar we should consume in a day and almost all our daily amount of saturated fat. ’This is a massive dessert masquerading as a morning drink,’ Abbey Sharp, a registered dietitian who runs Abbey’s Kitchen, told Daily Mail Online.
‘They’ve basically put all the sugary coffee syrups together, topped it off with flavored sweetened whipped cream and as many candies as they could find.
‘Not only are you getting a little caffeine perk in this Frappuccino, but you’re also going to be left with a massive sugar high before noon after inhaling one of these for breakfast.’
Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos of the Nutrition Twins told Daily Mail Online they were stunned by the calorie count.
‘If you had just one of these a week for one month, you would gain three to four pounds,’ they warned. ‘It’s certainly a treat, and not something you should have much of.’
The daily recommended sugar intake is 25 grams, which equates to six teaspoons.
The American Heart Association recommends having no more than 16 grams of saturated fat, based on an average diet of 2,000 calories a day.
The 420-calorie Christmas Tree Frappuccino contains doubled the amount of added sugar we should have (50 grams), and almost all of your daily saturated fat allowance (13 grams).
A quarter pounder with cheese, one of McDonald’s’ top sellers, has 417 calories, seven grams of unsaturated fat and nine grams of sugar.
At Burger King a hamburger has 262 calories, a cheeseburger has 302 calories, and a chicken wrap has 384 calories.
A Subway cold-cut combo has 375 calories with four grams of saturated fat and seven grams of sugar.
A stack of IHOP’s sweet cream cheese crepes with peach topping have 410 calories.
And though they do tip the scales further in terms of sugar than the other examples – with 27 grams – it is still almost half the amount in a Christmas Tree Frappuccino. Meanwhile, a slice of apple pie has 267 calories and about 18 to 20 grams of sugar.
Sharp urges her clients and readers to dodge the festive drink, which launched today and is available until Monday.
‘It’s cute, but I would so rather savor a decadent piece of cake for the 420 calories,’ Sharp said.
‘Skip this holiday drink, and go for a simple latte and a more balanced meal to prevent the crazy blood sugar spike.’
For those that can’t resist a Frappuccino or a latte – particularly the festive ones – there are some measures you can take.
Tammy and Lyssie Lakatos recommend asking for skimmed, non-fat milk to shave 30 calories off your order.
If you down-size to a Tall (the smallest option) with non-fat milk, it will come to 300 calories.
Do not add any extra sugar, since that’s an extra 10 calories per sachet, or syrup, which adds 70 calories per shot.
The Nutrition Twins also encourage customers to speak to your barista.
‘Tell them to go easy on the syrup and the toppings. They’ll listen to you, and it could save a bunch of calories.’