How much sugar is in a tall strawberry acai refresher?

Quick Answer

A tall Strawberry Acai Refresher from Starbucks contains between 50-60 grams of sugar depending on customizations. The standard recipe without any additions contains 50 grams of sugar in a 24 oz cup. With additional syrups or sweeteners, the sugar content can increase to over 60 grams.

Nutrition Information

The Strawberry Acai Refresher is one of Starbucks’ most popular non-coffee blended drinks. It combines strawberry and acai flavors with ice and a base of either green tea or coconut milk.

Here is the reported nutrition information for a tall, 24 oz Strawberry Acai Refresher made with the standard recipe according to Starbucks (1):

Nutrition Facts Tall 24 oz
Calories 240
Total Fat 0 g
Sodium 25 mg
Total Carbohydrate 61 g
Sugars 50 g
Protein 2 g

As you can see, a tall 24 oz Strawberry Acai Refresher contains 50 grams of sugar, coming entirely from added sugars. It contains no fat, protein, or fiber.

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for women and 36 grams for men (2). So this one drink exceeds the recommended daily amount.

Factors that Increase the Sugar Content

While the standard recipe contains 50 grams of sugar, the actual amount can vary depending on customizations and additions. Here are some factors that increase the sugar content:

Added Syrups

Starbucks offers various syrups that can be added to the Strawberry Acai Refresher for an additional cost, including:

– Vanilla syrup – adds 12 grams of sugar per pump
– White chocolate mocha sauce – adds 11 grams per pump
– Caramel syrup – adds 9 grams per pump
– Hazelnut syrup – adds 13 grams per pump
– Raspberry syrup – adds 10 grams per pump

Adding just one full pump of any of these syrups can bring the total sugar content up to 60+ grams.

Added Juice

Customers can also ask for extra strawberry acai juice or other fruit juices like orange mango to be added. An extra half serving of juice adds around 5 grams of sugar.

Sweetened Non-Dairy Milk

Opting for a non-dairy milk like almond or coconut milk adds a small amount of sugar, depending on the brand Starbucks uses. For example, Califia Farms almond milk contains 7 grams of sugar per 8 oz serving.

Whipped Cream

Topping the drink with whipped cream adds around 5 grams of sugar to the total.

Sugar Content of Other Sizes

In addition to the tall 24 oz size, Starbucks offers the Strawberry Acai Refresher in two other sizes:

Grande 16 oz

A grande Strawberry Acai Refresher contains around 33 grams of sugar with the standard recipe.

Venti 30 oz

A venti contains around 60 grams of sugar.

So the taller the drink, the more sugar it contains.

Daily Value Analysis

To put the sugar content into perspective, here is how a tall Strawberry Acai Refresher stacks up against the daily recommended limits:

– 50 grams of sugar is equal to 100% of the daily value for added sugars based on a 2000 calorie diet.

– It exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommended daily limit for added sugars by:

– 25 grams for women
– 14 grams for men

Consuming this one beverage leads to excess added sugar intake for virtually anyone following a standard 2000 calorie diet.

Ingredients that Contribute Sugar

When looking at the ingredients list for the Strawberry Acai Refresher (3), these are the main sources of added sugars:

– Sugar: Includes liquid cane sugar and sucrose, which add about 12 grams of sugar per 8 oz serving.

– White grape juice concentrate: Fruit juice concentrates have naturally occurring sugars, but because the water is removed, they are considered added sugars. Each 8 oz serving of this drink contains about 30 grams of sugar just from the juice concentrate.

– Natural flavors: The “natural flavors” used in the refresher may contain sugars sources like fruit juice or syrups.

– Diced strawberries: The actual strawberry pieces contain natural fruit sugars, but these make up a very small portion of the total sugar content.

Comparisons with Other Starbucks Drinks

The Strawberry Acai Refresher is one of the most sugar-laden options at Starbucks, but many other popular drinks also contain high amounts of added sugars:

Iced Caramel Macchiato

A grande (16 oz) Iced Caramel Macchiato has 39 grams of sugar.

Bottled Frappuccino

A 13.7 oz bottled Frappuccino can have up to 50 grams of sugar depending on the flavor.

Hot Chocolate

A grande (16 oz) Hot Chocolate has 38 grams of sugar.

Chai Tea Latte

A grande Chai Tea Latte made with 2% milk has 35 grams of sugar.

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

A grande Sweet Cream Cold Brew has 39 grams of sugar.

So while the Strawberry Acai Refresher may be one of the worst sugar bombs at Starbucks, many other popular drinks also pack a heavy sugar punch. Unsurprisingly, the sugary blended “dessert-like” beverages tend to have the most added sugars.

Health Impact of Sugary Drinks

Beverages like the Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher have come under scrutiny for their heavy sugar content and potential health consequences:

– Weight gain – The extra calories from added sugars in these drinks can lead to excess calorie intake and weight gain over time (4).

– Diabetes – Frequent consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (5).

– Heart disease – Excess intake of added sugars can raise risk factors for heart disease like blood pressure and triglycerides (6).

– Dental cavities – The sugars feed cavity-causing oral bacteria that live on your teeth.

– Inflammation – High sugar intake can trigger inflammatory pathways in the body and is linked to diseases like fatty liver disease (7).

Experts recommend limiting sugary drink consumption and opting for healthier choices like water, unsweetened coffee and tea, sparkling water, or unsweetened milk.

Tips for Ordering a “Healthier” Starbucks Refresher

While no sugary Starbucks drink is truly healthy, there are some ways to cut down on the sugar content if you want to indulge:

– Order the smallest size available – the sugars increase with the larger sizes.

– Skip any extra syrups, sauces, or whipped cream – these significantly add sugar.

– Ask for only half the normal pumps of liquid cane sugar or base – you can request this.

– Choose unsweetened add-ins like extra ice, lemon slices, lime slices or mint leaves.

– Opt for the green tea base instead of the coconut milk base to avoid saturated fat and some calories.

– Consider a “Refreshers” using brewed tea instead of the creamy blended version.

– Split the drink with a friend or just order a small 4-8 oz size.

While the standard Strawberry Acai Refresher recipe is high in added sugar, there are ways to slightly reduce the amount if you want an occasional treat. But moderation is still key – it should not be a daily habit due to the health risks of excess sugar.


A tall 24 oz Starbucks Strawberry Acai Refresher contains right around 50 grams of sugar, which exceeds daily recommendations for added sugar intake. Customizations like extra syrups or larger sizes can push the total sugar content over 60 grams. The high amount of added sugar makes this popular Starbucks blended drink more of an occasional treat than a daily indulgence. Limiting sugary beverage consumption and being mindful of portion sizes is important for health.

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