Starbucks for Diabetes

Title of article in front of a picture of three hands holding coffee drinks

Whether you’ve had Starbucks runs as a part of your daily morning routine for years or if you enjoy an occasional meet up with friends at the popular coffee chain, having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to quit your coffee. Making a few easy changes to your order can help you keep enjoying your afternoon pick-me-up without sacrificing your health. Here are my top 8 recommended Starbucks drinks for people who have diabetes. 

Change the way you think about your order

Think about how this drink is fitting into your day. Is it a part of breakfast? An afternoon snack? This will help you decide how many carbohydrates to aim for when choosing a drink. 

If it’s a part of the meal, make sure that your carbs from your drink allow for some carbs with food. If it’s a snack, then your drink might be taking up most of your carb for the snack, and that’s ok! You can always add cheese or nuts as a low carb food option to pair with your drink. 

Either way, aiming for less than 30 grams of carbohydrates to include in your drink is a great goal. The drinks below show you how to take your Starbucks order from something that might really spike your blood sugar, to something you can enjoy without worrying about your health. These drinks can also work for women with gestational diabetes or PCOS.

Order like a pro

Reduce the syrup

Most Starbucks drinks include 4 pumps of regular syrup plus toppings. Each pump of syrup has 5 grams of carbohydrates from sugar. By reducing how many pumps of syrup you include, you can cut your carb intake quite a bit and help keep your blood sugar in range.

Should I go sugar-free?

Not necessarily. Studies have shown that sugar-free sweeteners may not be the best for overall gut health, so if this is a concern, then simply cut back on how many pumps of regular syrup you add in. 

If you don’t use sugar-free sweeteners often and you aren’t sensitive to alternative sweeteners, then this can be a good option for you. Starbucks sugar free syrups don’t add any carbohydrates or calories to your drink, so you can add 2-4 pumps to any caffe latte, cappuccino, or iced coffee you like. 

Check the nutrition facts for the standard version of the drink for carbohydrate amounts. Remember, you’ll still have some carbs in the standard drinks because milk contains lactose which is a natural sugar. 

Consider almond milk instead of whole milk

The downside to using almond milk is that there isn’t as much fat, protein, or calcium in it. Fat is digested slower than carbs so it helps us stay full longer. However, there are fewer carbohydrates in almond milk, so it can help reduce your carb amount in your drink.

Top 8 Drinks for People with Diabetes

These drinks are in no particular order and use a variety of the tips above. Each drink is a grande size. At last, your recommended Starbucks drinks for diabetes.

  • Honey Almondmilk Flat White
    • What to ask for: two pumps of honey blend syrup instead of four.
    • Why it works: this drink uses almond milk which is naturally lower in carbohydrates than dairy milk. Reducing the syrup allows you to enjoy the flavor of the usual syrup but allows for 10 fewer grams of sugar. 
    • Carbohydrates included: 20 grams
  • Caffe Latte with 1 pump of flavored syrup
    • What to ask for: order a latte and choose 1 pump of any flavor syrup you like. In the fall you might enjoy pumpkin spice, for winter choose peppermint, for spring, a classic vanilla latte. 
    • Why it works: by including just one pump of syrup, you’ll only add 5 grams of carbohydrate from sugar. And, you might be surprised at how much flavor you get from one pump! 
    • Carbohydrates included: 24 grams
  • Sugar Cookie Almondmilk Latte
    • What to ask for: two pumps of syrup instead of four.
    • Why it works: again, you’ve reduced your carbs in two ways by choosing almond milk instead of dairy milk and by reducing the added sugar from syrup while still holding true to the original flavors of the drink. Sugar cookie syrup may not be available year-round so you can order different versions of this drink by requesting an Almondmilk Latte with any syrup of your choice.
    • Carbohydrates included: 22 grams
  • Sugar Free Vanilla Cappuccino
    • What to ask for: order a cappuccino with two to four pumps of sugar free vanilla syrup.
    • Why it works: sugar free syrup doesn’t add any carbohydrates to your drink. 
    • Carbohydrates included: 14 grams 
  • Irish Cream Cold Brew
    • What to ask for: no substitutions needed, or you can ask for only one pump of irish cream syrup instead of the usual two pumps.
    • Why it works: The usual order only includes two pumps of syrup
    • Carbohydrates included: 24 grams for the usual order, or 19 grams if requesting one pump of syrup 
  • Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
    • What to ask for: no substitutions needed
    • Why it works: the usual order uses less syrup than most drinks and uses less milk than other drinks. Oatmilk has about the same amount of carbohydrates as dairy milk. 
    • Carbohydrates included: 22 grams
  • Strawberry Acai Starbucks Refreshers Beverage
    • What to ask for: no substitutions needed
    • Why it works:this is a great option on a hot day if you aren’t in the mood for coffee. 
    • Carbohydrates included: 23 grams
  • Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade
    • What to ask for: no substitutions needed
    • Why it works: the combo of tea and lemonade has a lot less sugar than a regular lemonade and is another great option if you aren’t in the mood for coffee. 
    • Carbohydrates included: 12 grams 

Recap

You don’t have to give up Starbucks just because you have diabetes. There are a lot of options if you think about how the drink fits into your day and potentially make a few easy substitutions. Starbucks baristas are used to various requests so you won’t look out of place for asking! 

If you found this article helpful, please share it with a friend or leave a comment! 

This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for medical treatment or diagnosis. You should consult with your doctor before changing your diet or starting supplements for any health condition.

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