Food Babe Family - Header

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!



Please subscribe here to get CUTTING EDGE FOOD information like this sent straight to your inbox for FREE… 

Food Babe Family - Book
Food Babe Grocery Guide

Sign Up For Updates

And Get A FREE Healthy Grocery Guide Sent To You Now!

Find out what to buy and where at the top grocery stores near you

Posts may contain affiliate, sponsorship and/or partnership links for products Food Babe has approved and researched herself. If you purchase a product through an affiliate, sponsorship or partnership link, your cost will be the same (or at a discount if a special code is offered) and Food Babe will benefit from the purchase. Your support is crucial because it helps fund this blog and helps us continue to spread the word. Thank you.

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

  1. Ok so sugar will not kill you (immediately) that’s true, but it has been proven by science that the reaction in your brain to sugar is like the reaction your brain has to cocaine. Which coincidentally most likely won’t kill you immediately either. Would you give that to your children ? I certainly hope not! Pumping children full of sugar is creating addicts and sugar is liked to many diseases that kill you. Why not just avoid it? It provides zero health benifits.

    1. Actually, not to stir up an argument, but you are incorrect.
      Sugar IS a chemical addiction– not psychological at all.
      And, if enough sugar is consumed at once, it CAN reach toxic levels which can land your booty in the ER.
      From one who has had addictions to both.

    2. People who conflate sugar with cocaine have clearly never been addicted to cocaine. It’s an insult. Sugar is absolutely NOTHING like cocaine. Not. Even. Close.
      Scientific experiment time: Day 1, eat a bunch of oreos and measure the results. Day 2, do a bunch of cocaine and realize that the comedown is infinitely worse and stop making that g’dd@mn comparison.

      1. There is significant data on the effect of high fructose corn syrup causing more excitotoxin activity in the brain than cocaine, hence the comparison. PubMed. See for yourself. Why do you think that shortly after that research was published, it became next to impossible to find a can of beans, a jar of spaghetti sauce or any other processed shelf stable “food” without HFCS, which actually is NOT a food and is not corn. Which country has citizenry that would bear arms and revolt against dictators and to whom it would just be easier to poison and lessen their reproduction?

      1. Sugar is White Poison likewise basic table Salt.
        Why the Soda machines in Elementary schools, High Schools and so on?
        Sugars in Carbonated Sodas, Sweet Drinks, Dumb Down children likewise Vaccinations, targeting the developing years from 3 months on up, Create a 2.3, 3.3 Ph Acidic Value then on to Acidosis in the which rests and Eats the Lymphatic System, the largest drainage system of the body @ 75-80% Blood @ 20-25%. Interferes with Transmitters within the Adrenal Glands, on top of the Kidneys. Kidneys shut down unable to drain Lymphatic System because the Acids have dried up the Intersatial Fluids surrounding the Cells/ Lymph Nodes unable to filtrate amd UNLOAD CELLULAR EXCREMENT. Tumors Form for the Acids have fallen below the ideal 7.4 Ph. The Blood has its own 7.4 Ph. All is Chemistry, Physics & Science of the which the Parma companies, the AMA think they own for their Arrogant sake of an 8 year diploma. No person can own Chemistry, Physics & Science.
        Leave her alone. (I got your back Babe.)

    3. Well it can give an adult or even a kid diabetes that can kill you. So I recomend that you or your child ? drink ? this unhealthy, dicusting, and horrible beverage.

    4. Sugar causes Diabetes type 2, other than that sugars in just about everything so yes sugar IS addictive, whats with you Jess, saying it won’t kill?

  2. So everyone is upset about the sugar in this drink. One lady said it’s no worse than a milkshake. I just looked up a medium 16 oz McDonald’s chocolate mccafe shake, no cherry no whip. 84 g sugar……as for all those other ingredients, maybe not your kids, but many others consume them probably on a regular basis. As for the fat, Americans need to relearn, what good fat and bad fat are. Dairy fat isn’t bad, in fact it’s good for you, way better than margarine or any fake dairy. As for the chemicals, has this lady looked to see what’s in the ingredients of her favorite flavored drink? Most chocolate syrups and non diet syrups use high fructose corn syrup(leading cause of fatty liver in, non alcoholic Americans) yep even Gheradele(SP? ) not to mention the chemicals in the non sugar syrups….and the flavors are mostly chemical also. I get the argument, but let’s not villainize, one single drink….besides I stoped Starbucks because of their political statement. So now it’s Duncan or my new favorite Caribou Coffee. So what ever side of the isle you are on look at your ingredients of anything your going to consume…heck my favorite chefboyarede is the table ( guilty pleasure) because it has High fructose corn syrup, at least this drink uses real sugar…

      1. dairy is not good for you because it is coming from stressed and very abused and unhealthy cows.. cows are sacred and amazing and should be treated with the utmost care and respect.. please educate yourself on what goes on “behind the screen”, with the youtube documentary earthlings.. its horrendous and no self caring compassionate feeling human being would have anything to do with many things after seeing this movie.. Thank you

    1. “So everyone is upset about the sugar in this drink. One lady said it’s no worse than a milkshake. I just looked up a medium 16 oz McDonald’s chocolate mccafe shake, no cherry no whip. 84 g sugar”

      This. Exactly this. This is what it is annoying me. Everyone is up in arms about this, and how much sugar is in it. Okay? Don’t drink them every day. What about ALL the other things that have the same about? Mcflurries, Blizzards, etc etc…TONS of sugar. This is nothing new. And really, more complaints about Carrageenan and citric acid? This isn’t a freaking organic drink…..there are tons of things with these simple ingredients in it.


      1. You are so right, in the U.S., and very unhealthy people! I personally know hundreds of people and none, that’s right-NONE-would drink this nor anything with carageenan-(car wax)- nor would any of us have Blizzards, McFlurries and all of the other garbage that kills Americans slowly. If it doesn’t rot, don’t eat it.

    2. Dairy’s horrible, do research before tying to defend. I got MS (9 yrs ago) I taught myself, did my own research, been vegetarian since 2011, eliminated all Dairy and Gluten 3 yrs ago too…So DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!

    3. Unfortunately it is NOT real sugar. It is genetically modified which, most likely, is full of cancerous chemicals. I’m grateful that the Food Babe cares enough to dig deep into what society is putting into their bodies. If you choose to ignore the warnings so be it, but no need to be rude people.

    1. Vani helps people make informed choices. Thanks for getting this information and your opinions out to start a healthy discussion!!

  3. I have no doubt this drink is really bad for you, it looks disgusting. I just want to point out this drink is NOT being marketed towards kids. If you treat your kids to Starbucks and they see and want this drink, that’s your issue. This drink was made to celebrate Starbucks support of the LGBTQ community.

    1. Your comment saying the unicorn frappucino was made to celebrate Starbucks support of the LGBTQ community makes you look like a clown. Just sayin’

  4. Something to think about – I never purchase a grande or a vente sized drink for my child. Even a “tall” is a bit of a splurge. Kids are going to get sugar. It’s up to us to monitor the portions. If Starbucks has a sugary, high fat drink that kids might want to try, we don’t have to buy them the largest size available nor do they have to have it every day.

  5. This drink is has the same amount of sugar as 3 snickers bars. I read this statement online if its true this is a dangerous drink. If you’re daring enough to even take a sip of the drink please please get the smallest size.

  6. I like coffee. I do not like Starbucks coffee. I have had them on occasion and still prefer to get my own coffee beans, grind just what I will use in the next 2 or 3 days and brew my own coffee. It is not bitter and the only thing I add is a tsp of cinnamon (a great antioxidant) and a tiny pinch of sea salt.

  7. It’s sad that it takes a new, popular drink for people to suddenly become aware of nutritional facts. This stuff is fed too people every day and, yes there are plenty of studies that present the harmful effects of too much sugar consumption. One drink will simply not kill you, but a lifetime of ingesting ANYTHING in excess will have detrimental effects. I love how people try to “jump” on a company that created a unique drink (healthy or not), that is identical to drinks served on a regular basis. Ignorance is bliss.

    1. Yes, but it’s a trendy dink from a popular company, so it makes for a great example. Unlike some off the wall drink that people grab on a quick run into the gas station.

      1. Hence my comment “ignorance is bliss”. Starbucks sells other drinks with even more sugar than this frappuccino and you can buy far worse products at a gas station or grocery store. I definitely do not condone that amount of sugar, but it makes me laugh when people try to scold Starbucks for making a drink with high sugar or “bad” ingredients. Frankly and unfortunately, the negative nutritional value did not stop people from trying the drink as numerous stores sold out over the past few days. Consumerism prevails.

  8. You can defend this garbage all you want, but when “sugar” and “syrup” are basically half the ingredient list…I mean who really needs that? We know it’s all refined sugar….so no one really.

  9. I’m curious about your perspective about the March for Science that occurred around the world on Earth Day, April 22, 2017. Thanks.

    1. @ Tim Suddeth: Finally! Someone who made a comment with absolutely no credibility what so ever, but contained real impact…it made me laugh! ?

    2. Someone who actually made a comment not about how much sugar. I was wondering if there would be a comment like this.

  10. I would like to point out that juicing can be just as bad if not worse with the amount of sugar. It is not just Starbucks doing this crap, it is also many other drinks and even homemade juice. As I said before, if you eat a little bit once in a while, you’ll be fine, but if you eat a lot every day, it may not go so well.

    If you want to change companies for the better, don’t go attacking carrageenan and flavors, because they are not bad. Focus on extreme amounts of sugar and similar stuff.

  11. As a 64 year old woman, who has sat back and watched the ever increasing level of obesity and negative health issues concerning our children, grow exponentially over the past several decades. Here are my observations, take them or leave them, but try with a modicum of intelligence to understand the obvious. One: if what you are putting in you, or worse, your child’s mouth is a substance that contains words with so many letters in it, that not only do you need a dictionary to be able to spell and, pronounce said substances, but you are also in need of a library of books to explain what those substances are, much less what they are doing to the body. It would likely conclude that they are not good for you. Two: if you believe, that what you are feeding your children is none of my business, (unless you are not seeking medical assistance that is causing societies medical insurance to skyrocket). Once again you have not thought this issue through, clearly and concisely. Always remember that your liberty to swing your metaphorical fists, stop short of my metaphorical nose, or in this case, my metaphorical wallet, if we are going to get all pseudo intellectual on the subject.

    1. Ahhh, so refreshing to read something that’s sprinkled with common sense : ) I remember when I was 16 y.o. back in 1966…Yipes!! …thinking, if I did not put sugar and cream in my coffee as my father did…in 50 years or whatever from then and I were still around…there would be that much less of stuff/health issues that maybe I would have to deal with. Today I am so fortunate to not be on medications…even though I was almost dead at five months of age from meningitis…two months after getting a meningitis shot…and spending a lifetime of bone and joint problems from it. Really, if you don’t care about yourself…do your best to care about your children..there is already so much other stuff effecting their health…autism is another discussion. Good health to you and yours : )

  12. It is very frustrating for me to keep finding in these comments people repeatedly saying that cocaine use causes a chemical dependence while sugar only causes a psychological dependence.
    That is absolutely false.
    There is a physiological-chemical- response your body has to sugar consumption– it is absolutely a chemical addiction– MORE so than cocaine, actually!
    The naturally occurring yeast in your gut ( The Second Brain) when overgrown (from sugar consumption, its food, as all bakers and brewers know) releases chemicals which signal your brain to strongly desire more sugar consumption. When you deny that overwhelming desire, you experience a chemical withdrawal– headaches, irritability, fatigue, and more ensue until you’ve detoxified.
    People need to do their homework.

    1. “releases chemicals which signal your brain to strongly desire more sugar consumption”

      A physical addiction means that you will get serious health effects from suddenly quitting because the body becomes physically dependent on it. A psychological addiction means that the brain releases dopamine, making you feel good and want more due to it being pleasurable. If your statement is true, it happens through a dopamine release in the brain, therefore being a psychological addiction. So yes, the chemical addiction you speak of IS a psychological addiction. I found no reliable sources that support the idea of physical withdrawal symptoms from sugar. If you can find some I will look into it.

  13. I hear you. However most children in America will drink one of these their entire lives, particularly since they were only available for one week . And for the joy it brings in the memory of such a fun experience and the anticipation of a rare treat, I doubt that the residual effects of that one memory making experience will kill them. Your exaggerations are a bit overstated in this post. Should we be serving this to our children at every meal? Of course not.

  14. I think the point of this article is to raise awareness that once you have a drink like this, you have to really watch out for what other sugary foods you eat during the day. Of course, if you have this Frappy once, you aren’t going to fall over dead. We just all have to be careful, because it’s a lot easier to consume sugary foods and drinks like the Unicorn Frappucino. I do lowkey want to try this though, but I can settle for a smaller size and 2% milk in it(which cuts down the sugar, by a little bit though).

  15. Thanks for this website my mom told me not to drink it and I was like ok why and now I know why I don’t want my little booty in the E.R.thank you guys

  16. Jesus people it’s a damn drink who cares!!! How much sugar is in your coffee, or any daily drink at that? Unless you just drink water and only water don’t argue on how much sugar is in this drink when everything we eat and drink on a daily basis is bad for you. Like I said if your only consuming water and eating celery than men there really is no real argument here. Enjoy your miserable day arguing about what ppl are consuming while I sit back and enjoy my daily sugar intake

    1. I take my coffee with no sugar, thank you very much.

      Sure, certain food items have naturally occurring sugars. But there is absolutely no need to add more heaping spoonfuls of sugar to your food and drink on top of that!

      A sugar splurge once in a great while may be okay if you otherwise watch your nutrition and physical fitness. But drinking corporate trash like this every day is a major problem. Refined sugars and starches are at the root of the modern epidemic of bad health and obesity.

      Do you want to be in good health and good shape and also be excitingly attractive? Or do you just want to stuff your face with garbage every day while sitting on the couch watching sports and sitcoms?

  17. Don’t drink coffee, but apparently something as simple as the caramel and vanilla frap both have more sugar. But hey, all the free press is probably helping the sales of this drink 😛

    On another note, (just because I was curious) I looked up both Coke and Pepsi sugar amounts and they’re almost as high. Both are in the 50’s like this drink 🙁

  18. Esta bebida es mortal esmuy mala para los niños yo no se la doy a mis mascotas. Orribleeeeeeeee. Como dice E derbez

  19. We pay for others healthcare, although that will stop soon and each ill person will pay their own for chronic diseases, like diabetes, cancer and heart disease, which is primarily caused by what one eats, with less causation attributed to our polluted food, soil, water and air.

  20. Yes, All true. But I just want to know where it says doctors are recommending this drink?

  21. Many people probably do not have a problem with a kid enjoying an occasional drink like this. However, the real issue is why are these companies putting exorbitant amounts of sugar and toxic ingredients in these drinks? Shouldn’t we demand that these companies have some sort of moral conscience in terms of the ingredients in the products they develop??? Don’t they have some responsibility to provide a product that will not put children in a “sugar coma” and cause eventual sickness, i.e., diabetes, etc. Effects of sugar are cumulative!!! If a child has a breakfast cereal like Lucky Charms, a lunch that also has tons of sugar, treats throughout the day/night, etc., how much sugar are these kids getting in a single day? My God, it’s too much! How can we expect to raise health conscientious kids? Later these same kids who become adults and have kids, pass this unhealthy paradigm onto their children, and their children. Where does it all end? Seriously, YES, these companies should absolutely be held accountable for putting this much sugar into one single drink. Ridiculous! They do not care about children, but PROFITS! They are using our children while taking advantage of parent’s ignorance, as a means to get wealthy. Unconscionable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

food babe with grocery cart - footer image