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The Worst Ingredient In Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino & Why You Shouldn’t Drink It

When I first saw the new Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino I just knew that kids everywhere were going to be drinking this – I mean what kid isn’t going to want a drink that looks like this!  But of course…the first thing that popped into my mind was what the heck is it made out of? Well, we found out, and it’s not pretty. 

It’s full of additives that do nothing good for your body…

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Ingredients: Ice, Milk, Crème Frappuccino Syrup [Water, Sugar, Salt, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid], Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Mango Syrup [Sugar, Water, Mango Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavor, Passion Fruit Juice Concentrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Turmeric, Gum Arabic], Blue Drizzle [White Chocolate Mocha Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter, Natural Flavor, Salt, Potassium Sorbate, Monoglycerides), Classic Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid), Sour Blue Powder (Citric Acid, Color [Spirulina, Water, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid])], Pink Powder [Dextrose, Fruit And Vegetable Color (Apple, Cherry, Radish, Sweet Potato)], Sour Blue Powder [Citric Acid, Color (Spirulina, Water, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid)].

The most shocking aspect of this drink actually isn’t the ingredient list – it’s the sugar.

Considering the average ADULT male isn’t supposed to be eating more than 36 grams of sugar in an entire day (and only 25 grams if you’re a woman) – just one of these drinks is going to put you WAY over the edge – making it even worse for kids.

The Unicorn Frappuccino grande has 59 grams of sugar and a shocking 76 grams in a venti size. It’s totally outrageous that Starbucks is promoting this drink at all, and especially to children! 

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Venti has more sugar than… 

  • Entire bag of Hostess Powdered Donettes (75 grams of sugar). This is 20 donettes! 

  • Four large scoops Baskin Robbins Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (72 grams of sugar).

  • 29 Hershey’s Kisses (75 grams of sugar).

Enough said. 

I hope this makes you think twice before you buy this for yourself or your kids. Please share with everyone you know!

Xo, 

Vani

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160 responses to “The Worst Ingredient In Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino & Why You Shouldn’t Drink It

  1. Agree none of this is good – so shouldn’t you expose ALL the frappucinos? All have bad ingredients and tons of sugar! It’s not just the unicorn…

  2. It’s not being promoted as a health drink, it is a fun treat. If a parent is buying their kid a Venti size that is an issue but most responsible parents would not be buying a venti. It’s is just like every other sweet treat out there, you enjoy it every once in a while not every day.

    1. Brittany,

      I have to agree with you. I am a mother of 3 and my two youngest wanted to try these. I let my middle daughter (12) have a small one to herself. I tried to get a mini for my little one (who is 6) to share with me but they didn’t offer a mini size for this so she got a small as well with the condition that she would share with me. Everyone had only a few sips of the Frappuccino the rest went down the drain. They didn’t taste bad but we probably could have just shared 1 amongst​ the 3 of us. They are just treats. Not something we would have every day.

      1. Teaching children that overly sweet food that is not good for you is a treat is probably not a good idea. A better treat may be taking the kids for a swim or for a hike in the park or another kind of activity that they love.

      2. Or maybe, Allie, a sweet drink is a perfect treat while swimming, hiking, and other healthy activities should be daily occurrences, not rarities. 🙂

    2. I agree, nothing wrong with a little indulgence every once in a while. However, why feed cancer-causing foods to our kids at all? Let’s consider, first and foremost, the gross fact that Starbucks is marketing this known-to-be-toxic drink to children. How can parents support a company doing this? Here in California we have quite a few organic, health-focussed restaurants/juice bars/etc popping up all over…I’ve seen places doing everything from raw vegan spin-offs of the Shamrock Shake, to raw vegan “oreo cookies”, peanut butter cups, cake pops, you name it. All organic and without the abundance of cancer-causing ingredients. With healthy and nutritious options available, why is Starbucks choosing to use known-to-be-toxic ingredients? Why support a company that does not support the health and well-being of their customers? You can find tons of easy vegan dessert recipes online. It is our responsibility as parents to feed our children foods that will diminish the effects of oxidative stress, not to further perpetuate it. Until children can make educated, informed decisions on the food they consume, we parents have a duty to protect the young children of this planet. THANK YOU FOOD BABE FOR THIS EMAIL BLAST ON STARBUCKS!

  3. I thought I just HAD to have this last night. It had a fake mango flavor and bitter aftertaste. Prettier to look at rather than drink, and it gave me indigestion (and the resulting you-know-what) all night long.

    1. I came here to point this out. I was surprised when I read the ingredients that weren’t in bold. Figured the colors would all be artificial but was surprised to find they weren’t!

      We should give credit where it’s due, that is a step in the right direction. I still won’t personally be ordering one, but am glad they’re moving in the right direction in some areas.

      1. Unfortunately because they are forced to eliminate food coloring 🙁 if only they could eliminate all that excess sugar.

  4. Chill out, Jesus. How about not ordering one?
    The largest size has all that sugar.
    No artificial colors.
    I feel bad for your kids. Lighten up. Everything in moderation. One unicorn frappuccino for a 12 year old little girl that will make her day…. isn’t going to kill her.

    1. I am so grateful that my child will know everything there is to know about food and avoid all the heart ache and pain I went through as a child growing up on processed foods.

      1. Agreed. It’s not about “letting the kids have a good time.” Kids are happy with many different things. If you raise them to love real, unprocessed food, they won’t even want the Starbucks or even if they are lured in by the look and name, they will be overwhelmed by the taste. Give your kids some fruit – they will be just as happy, minus the detrimental chemicals wrecking havoc in your body lol.

      2. AMEN to that start them early and they will have less sick days then most children and on top of this they will have a more level attitude while going through the normal growing pains.

    2. Starbucks blew it on morals and ethics, making parents job of keeping their child healthy more difficult

      Sugar in such amounts, terrible

      Perhaps a bigger crime is the Carrageenan, scientifically known to cause a potentially fatal disease in mice.

      Goodbye starbucks, hello clean coffee with marketing ethics

      1. You better not eat any meat from grocery stores or go out to eat. Carrageenan is used in many foods. I worked as qa in a chicken processing plant and that is one of the ingredients I checked for many different chicken products from nuggets to wings and breasts. Products may or may not include this ingredient; chic fil a, taco bell chili lime, tgif, trader joes, cheddars, Sams, Tyson’s, and many many more.

  5. While I agree with the fact that the ingredients aren’t good for you. I don’t imagine one small is going to kill you or give you cancer. It’s a crazy treat to be enjoyed once in awhile. So drink up and have fun, enjoy your life in moderation.

    1. Well if you have liver disease, yeah, even a small one can kill you. When your liver can not detox sugars, this type of drink for sure is best to stay completely away from. As far as for the kids? That kind of sugar is far more deadly in their bodies than a grown up who can handle the indigestion. WHY put them through such aches and runs?

      1. Well people with those types of health issues should know better. Or parents of children who have issues shouldn’t buy it for their children. Starbucks isn’t forcing anybody to drink it. Smh some people just have to be so extreme with everything.

    2. Why can’t Starbucks make it with real ingredients ? The corporations will never change if you keep buying their crap. Poison is Poison Don’t feed your kids crap. Would you let your kids smoke once in awhile, it wouldn’t kill them once in awhile.

      1. Right! All this “oh, chill out, just one won’t hurt.” As if being fully informed about what you’re putting in your body is somehow stopping anyone from buying one of these things. If you want to pour that much sugar and chemicals into your body, have at it. I don’t know why you’d want to, but hey, knock yourself out.

    3. If you were to take a different example, maybe?

      Your stomach is full of dilute hydrochloric acid. If you were to drink a cup of the exact same stuff your stomach is filled with, even the short trip from your lips to your stomach would cause tooth enamel damage, burns in your esophagus and throat, desensitization and perhaps greater damage to taste buds, and cause inflammation that would require an immune response from your body, leading to elevated cholesterol and irregular insulin fluctuation.

      The point is that just because your body uses a chemical, such as citric acid in the Krebbs cycle, in one of its processes does not mean that chemical is acceptable as a food supplement. And particularly is that true when the food contains much higher concentrations than does your mitochondria, in this case.

      When someone says a food is not good for you, as you have done, here, and then says it is fun and a person ought to just enjoy it, cognitive dissonance is created. That is to say two contradictory statements both being espoused as factual. When health is on the line, cognitive dissonance is a persons efforts to justify what they want, no matter how bad it is for them, by creating a fallacious argument to close the loop, in this case, “moderation.”

      The loop is not closed, though. This is not food. It is unhealthy. And it contributes to chronic disease. I have no problem with anyone who chooses to put it in their mouths anyway, but it is really kind of irresponsible to try to convince others to do the same with faulty science, isn’t it?

      BC

      1. BC,
        YES! Thank you for the best and most educated response I have ever seen in reply to the comment of “everything in moderation.” I just don’t understand that philosophy (of “everything in moderation”), but to each their own. Thank you for your response.

      2. THANK YOU! It is mind boggling how many people are reporting they are ok with toxic poison “every once in a while as a sweet treat”….

      3. & then, add to that one ‘special treat’ with all the other ‘special treats’ that your kids are growing up on …..that are ‘ok in moderation’. & Dolly doll, your kids don’t have to have issues to not buy it for them….it will GIVE them issues later in their life

      4. Exactly right! The best quote I’ve ever read was from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense pamphlet that George Washington read to his troops: “Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation as a principal is a species of vice.”

      5. What you say is true, but you are missing an important point. There are some substances that your body needs, but are very poisonous in larger amounts. Take vitamin D3 for example. It is hundreds of thousands of times more toxic than sugar, yet your body needs small amounts of it. Larger amounts can kill, but smaller amounts are needed by the body. All substances, even water, are poisonous in some amount, whether the LD50 is 29700 mg/kg for sugar or 96 mg/kg for cocaine. The dose makes the poison.

    4. Since it’s been researched and found that sugar is as addicting as heroin, would you also give your children small amounts of heroin so they can “have fun?” You know….in “moderation?”

  6. I was just telling some friends, who were interested in trying it, that it just sounds like a sugary chemical poop storm to me!! But honestly it’s really no different than any of their other frappuccino, and I’ve heard multiple people saying it taste awful.

  7. Is anything good for you anymore? Honestly, I can see that it may not be a healthy drink, but unless you are drinking one everyday and not getting daily exercise I can see the potential health risks. I have not tried it yet but definitely will. ITS FUN! It is okay to have fun !!! Getting a venti sized anything from Starbucks for a child is not the best parent move ! I heard it was good. So I guess I will just have to give it a whirl.

    1. Food. Real actual food. You know…that stuff people used to eat before manufacturing took over and food was replaced by food-like product? Here’s a good easy way to start: Only shop the parameter of the grocery store. Produce, Meat, Dairy, etc. All that crap in the middle…..is fake food.

    2. Now that we are all paying for Healthcare out the nose because of the government Obama care, your “moderation” may end up costing all of us tax payers more. You need to ask yourself how many things do I allow in “moderation” because they can add up to an unhealthy life style that we ultimately pay for. So if you don’t care about your health – or your kids health then maybe you will care about your pocket book!!!!

  8. I understand everything is in moderation, as a Holistic Health Educator, what most people do not realize is the added sugar in the OTHER foods you or your child is eating on a daily basis….cereals, juices, cookies, candies, chips, processed foods etc….even Natural or Healthy foods have sugar in them. Sure 1 Frapp isn’t going to harm that but… if you count the total grams of sugar for the day it will be very high. Diabesity (Diabetes & Obesity) in children is increasing in this country. Be educated, be informed and be conscious of the foods you and your family eat. Food for thought… Cancer feeds on sugar.

  9. Just tell them is the unicorn poop from the squatty potty! Lol. They won’t want to eat unicorn poop.

  10. The second I saw this, I thought, “Whatever is in it can’t be good!” Then when I heard there was “mango syrup” – I had no idea what that flavor has to do with unicorns…needless to say, I stopped Starbucks quite a long time ago because of the astounding amount of sugar in their frappuccino’s. Seeing this ingredient list almost makes me nauseated!

    1. It is added sugar, meaning sugar that is not mixed with fiber or other stuff to slow down absorption. Added sugar is mainly bad when you don’t exercise.

      Here are some examples:
      A fruit: not added sugar
      Fruit juice (with fiber removed): technically not considered added sugar but effectively the same
      A soda: added sugar

  11. Citric acid is a naturally occuring weak organic acid found in fruits and also part of something called the Krebs cycle aka citric acid cycle which occurs constantly in all aerobic organisms…

    1. Lizzy – yes it is found in fruit – but the food industry generally uses the stuff derived from GMO corn – unless certified organic and non-GMO project verified.

      1. Citric acid is a weak carboxylic acid. The way in which it is synthesized (either in our bodies during the krebs cycle, in a lemon, on an industrial level) has no bearing on the chemical properties of a pure molecule.

  12. Makes me sick to see this! I heard about this drink over the radio yesterday and the hosts were raving about how it is perfect for kids. Crime against humanity when people prey on our children but disguise it as something that is good and acceptable. I realize much of this is ignorance, but I know Starbucks isn’t innocent. Trying to kill off our future generations… no way!! Thanks for researching this and posting this article! <3

  13. Have we really gotten so out of touch that we honestly believe it is okay to put poison into our body “in moderation”? Who defines this “moderation”? Like Vani, processed foods in moderation wrecked my early life. I was hospitalized and nearly did not come back home.

    Human beings are the only species on the entire planet that can look at something, call it junk, out loud (!), recognize it as toxic, and then put that thing into our mouths. No other species will intentionally poison themselves like that. And we do it for what- fun? Have we no means to have fun that does not include poisoning ourselves?

    Wouldn’t it be a good time to step back and just look at the words we are putting into our comments, and realize that more than 60% of America’s population is going to spend the last 15 years of their lives suffering chronic disease and limited vitality and quality of life because of consuming poison in some mythical measure of moderation?

    BC

    1. Well said. I totally agree. We have poisoned ourselves to the point of insanity. We assume that continuing to consume poison will somehow, someday pan out just fine for us. Law of cause and effect… it’s gonna come around some time. I’m still trying to heal my body from the childhood years of processed everything.

  14. Thanks for the info FoodBabe!

    And to those who feel compelled to leave nasty comments – why? Information is simply being provided – what you do with it is entirely up to you. It’s your choice to be on this particular website, reading these particular posts. Don’t inflict your negativity on everyone else!

  15. Well all of you people know what’s in McDonald’s,Burger King,Etc full of ? and you still let your kids eat it and yourself so how is one better then the other. Pure ignorance at its finest.

  16. Thank you so much for making us aware of these things! Ultimately we are in charge of what we put in our bodies, but I think it is naive of us to not want to know, 12oz of this going into our bodies is straight up poison. However you all would like to justify it is fine, whatever helps you sleep at night, but my personal choice for myself and my children is to live a long happy life feeling great! Treats are treats but just choose wisely! Especially when it comes to your children and their future health, they will thank you when they are adults and don’t have diabetes and high cholesterol. While you say one is just a treat, you are encouraging them to start a craving for these treats and when they are on their own they will have developed bad habits. Anyways those are my 2 or 5 cents and completely MY opinion. Thanks again for sharing and helping us become aware of what we are or aren’t putting in our bodies! I will spread the word to all my friends!

  17. She said it’s surprising that Starbucks promotes this drink LMAO. Are you serious? You think Starbucks cares about your health?? All they care about is your pockets. Case and point. If you die from heart disease while drinking there products it’s “oh well, next customer.”

  18. We know that even a medical doctor who had an ounce of a brain would say this is dangerous sugar consumption in a “treat”. This ones who are on here talking about giving just a little “poison” to a child are those who justify everything in life so that they don’t have to take responsibility for feeding their kids healthy food. By justification, it creates more little “victims” for the the medical industry. Soon these children will all be lugging around diabetic insulin pumps to school comparing blood sugar numbers. As of now, they all bring in their inhalers and compare colors as if it’s some “badge of honor.” So, yes, parents, justify 76 grams of sugar today, 100 grams tomorrow, and then an early death on the horizon. We will say, poor thing just died in a diabetic coma and we have no idea how it came to this! It came to this because there’s such a thing as cumulative effect. What other treats did your child have at school that same day as this sugar bomb from Starbucks? So, yes, justify a little poison here and there, and you’ll end up setting this child up for a life long of hell w/chronic disease. It’s your choice… or do you realize that you have choices?

    1. Sodas aren’t that bad yet there are some I don’t drink anymore… I thought that if you start getting caffeine headaches that’s not good … I used to have these kinds of things growing up though and had no problems with my health until college…. I agree though that this drink is not healthy but seriously …. people take it this to the extreme

  19. I’m shocked parents even take their kids into a starbucks, oh I know
    so the parent can get a cup of crap they are addicted to…it’s all crap folks
    no matter what your age…& people wonder why they are sick…if it’s sweet spit it OUT & teach your precious kids the truth about addictive poison… sugar & chemicals are not a treat, make them a healthy fruit smoothie, then no one needs to go to the drug pushers aka drs.

  20. That’s appalling. As I was reading the ingredients the same thing was so apparent. All the damn sugar! Thank you for the work you do Vani. I know it’s not easy shedding such important light on big corporations but I respect you for doing it anyways. Feel the fear and do it anyways! Xo

  21. Can your juice receipes be put in a blender and blended, if I don’t have a juicer???
    Ex: Kickin Kale Juice?

  22. On a positive note, I’m certain this would work just as well as a McDonald’s milkshake for any constipation problems. Very quick and very thorough.

  23. Want to know which frappuccinos have MORE sugar than the Unicorn frappuccino?

    Vanilla Frappuccino
    Caramel Frappuccino
    Green Tea Frappuccino
    Java Chip Frappuccino
    Mocha Frappuccino
    White Mocha Frappuccino

    It’s ridiculous to get all upset about one drink without looking at what else they serve… EVERY DAY!

  24. Vani! This is absolute garbage! I own a Tiny Coffee Cart In a major Hospital in Northern California. I am trying to make a different kind of Cafe/Coffee Shop Experience. THANKS TO YEARS OF LEARNING FROM YOUR BLOG. I have almost completely changed my menu offerings to only REAL FOOD and Organic offerings. We only use Real food in our Frapuccinos, Mochas,Pumpkin Lattes ect. It takes a bit more planning and connecting with the customer, but that is what we “THRIVE” on. I feel horrible offering this garbage to my customers. People trying to better their health appreciate my coffee shop and the care we show by offering them Real Food/Organic Coffee, Tea, Smoothie and Frappucinno alternatives. In the coming months I expect to reach my goal of “A Clean Menu” meaning all my offerings will total 80% Healthy choices (No added sugar of any kind, 150 calorie or less, low fat, low sodium. organic and non gmo).20% over the calorie threshold but never added sugar. At one time I thought it would be impossible to run my business this way, but with your help, I think I can do it. THANK YOU!

  25. I tried the little sample cup. That was enough for me. Who in the world would order anything bigger than a tall from Starbucks. Good Grief.

  26. Like all liberal companies, making money out of hurting people with lies and poison.

  27. When I saw pictures of this “Unicorn” frappuccino, I knew it would get a big appeal to all those who like pretty things and don’t really drink coffee per say. Starbucks has come a long way from being a place to get good coffee made fresh in front of you. I used to get a daily coffee from them when I work and none of those fancy drinks. I don’t drink sugary drinks period. I f I want something sweet I ‘d rather one donut over a drink that is a weeks worth of sugar in it no matter how pretty. Shame on those parents who give their children this drink.

  28. Vani,
    You are so right for exposing these corporations for profiting off others’ ill health & I am grateful for your work. Since the only reason I ever drink Starbucks black coffee is because I get gift cards, I will now boycott them for selling their garbage & also because they don’t ever have organic coffee.
    Thank you for all you do!

  29. Starbucks ingredient list is a MILE LONG, a sure sign of UNHEALTHY.
    I’ve seen recommendations for consumption of a maximum of 25 grams of sugar for women and 35 grams for men. This drink contains 2-3 days worth of sugar. Does it come with a massive headache?

    Thanks for uncovering the truth about this drink.

  30. Not to mention the sugar is not organic, which means it is likely GMO. Scary stuff. I wonder if it glows in the dark! 😉

    1. Even if the sugar is organic, its still sugar. Obviously GMO sugar beet sugar is worse, but don’t delude yourself into thinking organic sugar is healthy. Less harmful yes, but both still lead to obesity and diabetes.

      And a side note, not to you specifically, but to anyone reading this. While I feel what Vani is doing is great work, the fact that people are actually shocked about what multinational fast food businesses put in their food, it speaks more on the shocked people than the businesses. Of course businesses are gonna use cheap products/ingredients (short of ones with integrity like Chipotle). That why if you truly are concerned with your health, you cook your own meals, from the freshest, least processed ingredients possible. I personally haven’t read an ingredient label in pretty much 3 years, due to the fact that I don’t purchase food with ingredient lists ie everything is whole and fresh. That’s how you become truly healthy. And when you eat like that 350 days a year, you can actually afford to indulge once a month without any long term problems. And to the people who say they don’t have time to cook for themselves, I say you are a liar. I work 12 hr shifts and go to the gym for an hour after each shift, yet I find time to cook 2, sometimes 3 meals a day for myself.

  31. What people need to understand is that what you put in your mouth is the most important thing that you do. It will either promote disease or prevent disease. If you make excuses for things like this and try to rationalize it, then you don’t realize the consequences until they show up as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. At that point, you are the mercy of the medical industry, and they are known to solve your problems with more chemicals, that are not supposed to be in your body. All disease stems from a toxic body and not enough nutrients. Once you get the junk and GMO’s out of your body, not only will you feel better, look better, have more energy and prevent disease. It’s really up to you, but just know KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. That is what Vani is trying to do for you. If you are not interested, perhaps you should get off her mailing list! Keep sharing your great information Vani…people really need to WAKE UP and become empowered with their choices!

  32. I agree this drink is awful, but it actually has less sugar than their other fraps. Please write on article about ALL the fraps and how Starbucks is selling diabetus

  33. I am sure Starbucks is heavily invested in Big Pharma along with everyone in the Grocery Manufacturers Assoc. and the Industrial Ag and Chem Companies.
    When they make us sick, they still win!
    Everybody stop buying their stuff and WE WIN!!!

  34. I wonder how many of these people making negative comments about “once in a while treats” have a glass of fine wine at dinner? Or a social drink…. once in a while..

  35. Isn’t Citric Acid a naturally occurring ingredient? It’s found in some fruits/vegetables and used as a flavoring agent in many food products.

  36. It’s not worse than drinking a bottle of coca-cola. Don’t know why this is a big deal. We all know soda is bad for you. But it’s not going to kill you if you have it once in a while, like this clickbait article is suggesting.

    1. Yes, it is worse than drinking a bottle of cocacola, go and check the food facts and see it by yourself:

      Coca-Cola 24Oz.
      ——————-
      Calories: 300
      Sodiium: 70mg
      total fat: 0g
      Cholesterol: 0mg

      Unicorn Frappuccino 24Oz
      ——————-
      Calories: 500 (+%60)
      Sodium: 310 mg (yes, +400%, and maximun recommended is 1500mg per day.)
      Total fat 18 g
      Cholesterol: 55mg (and daily recommended is 200 – 250mg, that means about 25% of daily required in one single drink )

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