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I Get Paid to Fuel Addiction

A barista's insight on why you should be asking, "a venti cup of what?" the next time you order your favorite at Starbucks.

I love Starbucks. Close your eyes and you can smell that delicious, sexy aroma of coffee, hear the muddled blend of relaxing music, steaming milk and blenders whirling among friendly chatter. It is a place where I have always felt welcomed and very productive. What I have referred to as my second home during college, where I have spent most of my paycheck and time doing homework. Whether you grab your coffee fix on the go or bunker down in the welcoming space there is nothing better than sipping on your favorite beverage.

Before working at Starbucks I never knew what to order, in my teenage years I definitely had my share of frappucinos, and as my caffeine obsession ignited I would order the handcrafted espresso beverages. Some days I would order an iced vanilla latte, some days an iced caramel macchiato would be calling my name and on some days I would indulge in the ever so tasty iced white chocolate mocha.

Who else would still order an iced drink even in a blizzard?

After working at Starbucks for a while, however, my drinks of choice are an iced almond milk latte or an unsweetened iced green tea. But why the elimination of excitement and flavor?

Before I drop the harsh truth on you, let's look at what default ingredients go into some of our favorite beverages.

Pumps of syrup in your drink (AKA Sugar)

  • Flavored Lattes (hot or iced)—(Which include vanilla, caramel, cinnamon dolce, hazelnut, toffee nut syrups)—Sugar, espresso shots, two percent milk
  • Mochas or white chocolate mochas (hot or iced)—Sugar, espresso shots, two percent milk, whipped cream (more sugar)
  • Caramel Macchiatos (iced or hot)—Sugar, two percent milk, espresso shots, caramel drizzle (more sugar)

I've put the sugar components in bold, but why? Because the amount of sugar in these drinks needs to be highlighted, bolded, and put in caps for everyone to be aware of.

**I would just like to say before I continue, that I am not suggesting that you should never order anything from Starbucks again. I am just trying to raise awareness about what is in your cup so that you can make informed choices.**

Why should we be aware of the amount of sugar lurking in our daily coffee fix?

Sugar, in excess amounts, can cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

But we all knew that right?

We know that it's not good for us, but that sweet tooth knows how to make choices for us (did I mention sugar is highly addictive?)

Negative Effects of Sugar

Check out this video to learn more about the negative effects of sugar on our mind and body.

So how much sugar is really in your cup? (You may want to take a seat and brace yourself.)

After you skim down that list of delicious beverages and look at the grams of sugar in just a medium size, I would like to bring your attention to this very important piece of information.

The American Heart Association suggests that adults do not consume more than 24 grams (about six teaspoons) of sugar per day.

Let me repeat that.

The American Heart Association suggests that adults do not consume more than 24 grams (about six teaspoons) of sugar per day.

“Y/N, I'll have your venti cup of diabetes... sorry, I mean Venti caramel frappucino.”

It pains me, really, that most people have no idea how much sugar is in their drinks.

Again, I'm not trying to tell you, you should never drink a frappucino or holiday beverage ever again, all things in moderation.

I am here to reach out to people like me who need their caffeine fix every day.

You should be aware of what is in your cup and how it affects your body, especially if it is something you are consuming every day.

A few months ago I became aware that I was always feeling fatigued, having bad acne flare-ups in my now adult life and very dehydrated all the time (but we will save the topic of negative effects of excess caffeine consumption for another day).

Are you in the same boat? What can you do? Because like me, there is no way you are going to cut your love for coffee out of your life.

Step 1: Becoming aware (Congrats, you have already completed this step by reading this article!)

Step 2: You need to educate yourself on alternative options (I will list these down below).

Step 3: Wean yourself off, which is going to include a battle between you and your sweet tooth. So that means continue to order your usual but try to order a healthier option on some days.

Step 4: While you are battling your cravings, work on rewiring your brain on how harmful sugar really is and that you will feel healthier and happier with less of it in your life. Hence you need to rewire your brain to find joy in bland, strong, drinks.

Step 5: The transition is not going to happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and learn how to create balance. With new acceptance and better choices, you will start to feel a healthy change within.

Healthier Options:

  • Iced Teas—Make sure to order them unsweetened (all Starbucks iced teas come default sweetened). Be wary of adding lemonade, but the infusions (strawberry, pineapple, and peach) are just herbal teas and don’t have any sugar!
  • Hot Teas
  • Latte(iced or hot)—Don’t add any syrup.
  • Latte Macchiato (iced or hot)—(This is basically a caramel macchiato without the sugar overload.)
  • Iced coffee (unsweetened) or Cold brew
  • Flat White
  • Regular Coffee/Misto

If you are also wary of dairy: almond, soy, or coconut milk are options and also help lower the calorie count.

While you are weaning off sugary drinks, sugar-free syrups/sauces are available in vanilla, cinnamon dolce, and mocha. (Be aware of artificial sweeteners however because they can also have negative effects on your health over time).

If it's just one of those days and you need a little sweetness in your cup, add a packet of Stevia (this sugar comes from plants and is not artificial, but should also be used in moderation) or sprinkle some cinnamon on top.

I may get paid to help feed sugar addiction but I think people should at least be aware of what they are paying for. 

So go enjoy your daily fix, but keep in mind what lurks hidden in many of your favorite beverages. Make it your goal to make healthier choices, and your body and mind will thank you.

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