Unicorn Frappucino Filled with Sugar, Drink These Alternatives

The multi-coloured Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino supplies are running out, and we should probably be thankful. The large version of the drink has 76 grams of sugar which is over twice the amount that’s in a can of Coke (35g).[i] [ii]This sweet beverage was the center of attention partly for its pretty colors and complicated assembly, but it has also alerted the public to the sugary epidemic that’s infecting our drinks, a reality that isn’t so sweet: As a society, we have a sugar addiction.

What’s in the Drink?


The Unicorn Frappucino has eight components many of which contain more sugar and additives. Delicious, right? Not really.

Here’s what’s in a Unicorn Frappucino: [iii]

  • Ice

  • Milk

  • Crème Frappuccino Syrup

  • Whipped Cream

  • Mango Syrup

  • Blue Drizzle

  • Pink Powder

  • Sour Blue Powder

After ice and milk, Starbucks’ popular drink was hardly made from food. Instead, it’s filled with sugar, salt, potassium sorbate, concentrated juice, and dextrose.

Dangers of These Ingredients

Sugar Addiction

Our diets should only have about 6-9 teaspoons of sugar every day; this is about 24-36 grams, half the amount in a Unicorn Frappuccino.  The health risk of consuming too much sugar is overwhelming. Diets with too much sugar see a greater risk of:[iv]

  • Weight gain

  • Cavities

  • Rise in blood pressure

  • Heart disease

  • Death

Watch this Dr.Axe video which shares even more about the dangers of sugar:

Too Much Salt

Salt fills the American diet — this is a concern for the elderly, those with high blood pressure, and people with diabetes.

Salt also causes trouble for your kidneys which must deal with extra sodium in the bloodstream.

Our blood vessels also have trouble with extra salt as more water fills our veins to dilute the sodium in our blood, putting pressure on our circulatory system which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. [v]

Potassium Sorbate

The Unicorn Frappuccino is filled with ingredients that contain Potassium sorbate, a preservative that stops bacteria, fungi, mold, and yeast. Large quantities can lead to allergic reactions leading to symptoms like itchy mouth, throat, eyes, and skin, as well as congestion, runny nose, and abdominal pain.

Potassium sorbate can also lead to migraines which can result in other problems like nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light. [vi]

Juice Concentrate

This is processed fruit juice which has an increased shelf life and is made because it can be shipped easier. However, nutrients are lost in the process as the fresh juice is extracted through evaporation and filtration techniques.

Like most juice, it is also high in sugar which can be an issue for your pancreas, and for diabetics. Additionally, if these juices are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup it may increase your chances of diabetes, and acid reflux disease while irritating ulcers. [vii]


Dextrose is made from starchy vegetables and turned into monosaccharides which are essentially sugars. Is dextrose bad for you? The answer is yes: This sugar is pure energy which often can’t be used quick enough by the body and is turned into fat as a result. Dextrose has many of the same effects as sugar and is associated with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. [xiv]

Since dextrose is a product of GM corn people who eat these products may putting themselves at risk.[viii] Dr. Mercola worries that when you eat GM corn and products containing the GM product you are allowing it to cause problems with your health as it sits in your gut and affects the good and bad bacteria in your digestive tract. [ix]

Worst Starbucks Drinks To Avoid: Other Calorie Filled Drinks

Other than the unicorn frappuccino, there are many other sugary and unhealthy drinks at Starbucks you may want to avoid such as: [xi] 

  1. Double Chocolatey Chip Cream Frappuccino – for a grande cup, you’re adding 420 calories to your diet. This drink includes milk, whipped cream, frappuccino syrup, mocha chips, and mocha sauce (this contains corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, potassium sorbate).  

  2. Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino– for a grande cup, you’re adding 370 calories to your diet. This drink includes milk, cream frappuccino syrup, strawberry base, whipped cream, and the classic syrup (this contains sugar, water, citric acid and potassium sorbate).

  3. Java Chip Frappuccino– for a grande cup, you’re adding 470 calories to your diet. This drink includes milk, coffee frappuccino syrup, whipped cream, mocha sauce and frappuccino chips.

  4. White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino– for a grande cup, you’re adding 520 calories to your diet. This drink includes milk, coffee frappuccino syrup, coffee, whipped cream and white chocolate mocha sauce.

  5. Caramel Coco Cluster Frappuccino– for a grande cup, you’re adding 450 calories to your diet. This drink includes milk, coffee frappuccino syrup, whipped cream, coffee, caramel sauce and mocha sauce.

Sometimes you can’t help but crave that creamy taste of a nice ice-cold frappuccino. If this is the case, order a “light”, no whip frappuccino instead. You’ll experience the same taste, the only difference is that they use sugar-free syrup as oppose to the regular ones and nonfat milk instead of regular milk. The Caramel Light Frappuccino is a great example of this; a grande cup is 140 calories, definitely much lower than the others ones mentioned above.

Best Starbucks Drinks Under 150 Calories (Tall)

Instead of drinking sugary, fattening drinks filled with calories, try these tasty alternatives instead: [x]

  1. Caffe Americano (you can also get this iced) (11 calories) –  made with a shot of espresso and topped with hot water.

  2. Caffe Misto with Soy (63 calories) –  a combination of brewed coffee and steamed soy milk. You can substitute this for almond milk as well.

  3. Cappuccino (91 calories) – an espresso, heated with soy milk.

  4. Teavana Shaken Black Iced Tea (30 calories) – just tea which means you can afford to lightly sweeten it with sugar. [xiiii]

  5. Teavana Sparkling Berry Sangria Herbal Tea (120 calories)-  if you know you want to splurge on a Starbucks drink, opt for this, one of many alternatives that is better than those fattening frappuccinos. [xii] 

Ordering these drinks also saves this one barista, who wasn’t very happy, from making this unicorn frappuccino repeatedly. As supplies finally run out, this crazy obsession with unicorns will fade away,  but until then, baristas all around the nation will have to continue to make and serve this frappuccino to its sugar-addicted customers.

[i] Commons J. This is how much sugar is in a Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. Evening Standard. 2017. Available at: http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/foodanddrink/this-is-how-much-sugar-is-in-a-starbucks-unicorn-frappuccino-a3522491.html. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[ii] Journey A, Coke S, us C et al. Coca-Cola Sugar In A 330ml Can | FAQ | Coca-Cola GB. Coca-colacouk. 2017. Available at: http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/faq/how-much-sugar-is-in-coca-cola. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[iii] Unicorn Frappuccino® Blended Crème. Starbucks Coffee Company. 2017. Available at: https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/unicorn-frappuccino-blended-cr%C3%A8me. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[iv] Corliss J. Eating too much added sugar increases the risk of dying with heart disease – Harvard Health Blog. Harvard Health Blog. 2016. Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[v] Health Risks and Disease Related to Salt and Sodium. The Nutrition Source. Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/sodium-health-risks-and-disease/. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[vi] Nnama H. Adverse Health Effects of Potassium Sorbate. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2011. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/353871-adverse-health-effects-of-potassium-sorbate/. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[vii] Mayo Clinic Staff. High potassium (hyperkalemia) When to see a doctor – Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hyperkalemia/basics/when-to-see-doctor/sym-20050776. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[viii] Vance S. What is Dextrose and Why it’s in Your Food. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2010. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/274155-what-is-dextrose-in-food/. Accessed April 25, 2017.c

[ix] Daily Mail Reporter. Is GMO CORN making you sick? How one woman discovered that the widely-used ingredient caused her insomnia, chronic nausea and headaches. Mail Online. 2013. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2380985/Is-GMO-CORN-making-sick-How-woman-discovered-widely-used-ingredient-caused-insomnia-chronic-nausea-headaches.html. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[x] S, L. (2011, December 29). 15 Delicious Drinks All For Less Than 150 Calories. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.starbucks.com/blog/15-delicious-drinks-all-for-less-than-150-calories/1125

[xi] Starbucks Frappuccino® and other blended drinks. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages

[xii] Starbucks.com. (n.d.). Teavana® Sparkling Berry Sangria Herbal Tea. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/tea/sparkling-berry-sangria-herbal-tea?foodZone=9999#size=11064182

[xiii] Starbucks.com. (n.d.). Teavana® Shaken Iced Black Tea. Retrieved April 25, 2017, from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/iced-tea/teavana-black-shaken-iced-tea#size=11035108

[xiv] Vance S. What is Dextrose and Why it’s in Your Food. LIVESTRONGCOM. 2010. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/274155-what-is-dextrose-in-food/. Accessed April 25, 2017.

[xvii] Starbucks.com. (n.d.). Caramel Light Frappuccino® Blended Coffee. Retrieved April 26, 2017, from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/caramel-frappuccino-light-blended-beverage

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