Is the green tea frappuccino from Starbucks healthy?

The green tea frappuccino from Starbucks has become an increasingly popular menu item in recent years. With its promised blend of green tea, milk, ice, and sweetener, it appeals to consumers as a refreshing, potentially healthy drink option. However, there are questions around how healthy the green tea frappuccino really is. This article will analyze the nutritional content and ingredients that go into a Starbucks green tea frappuccino to determine if it can be considered a healthy beverage choice.

Some quick answers to key questions on the green tea frappuccino’s healthiness:

  • Is it high in calories and sugar? Yes, a typical green tea frappuccino contains 300-400 calories and 45-60g of sugar.
  • Does it have artificial ingredients? Potentially – many of the flavorings and sweeteners are artificial.
  • Does it contain real green tea? Yes, but only a small amount – around 20mg of green tea extract.
  • Is it nutritious? Not very – it contains little fiber, protein, vitamins or minerals.
  • Is it highly caffeinated? No – around 60mg of caffeine compared to 150-200mg in a coffee drink.

So while it contains some healthful green tea components, the high sugar content, artificial ingredients, and lack of nutrients make it more of an indulgent treat than a health drink.

Nutritional Content

To fully evaluate the green tea frappuccino’s health credentials, we need to dig into its precise nutritional content. Starbucks provides complete nutrition facts for all of its menu items online. Here is the breakdown for a typical venti (24 oz) green tea frappuccino made with whole milk and no customizations:

Calories: 370
With 370 calories, this drink accounts for around 18% of a standard 2000 calorie daily diet. While not excessive, it’s a significant calorie addition from a single beverage.

Total Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 6g

The 9g of total fat represents 14% of the recommended daily value, while the 6g of saturated fat makes up 30% of the daily value. These levels are quite high given the drink contains no ingredients inherently high in fat like cream. The saturated fat is likely from the whole milk.

Cholesterol: 45mg
At 15% of the daily value for cholesterol, the level is higher than expected given the lack of eggs or other cholesterol-containing ingredients. Again, the milk is the likely source.

Sodium: 180mg

180mg of sodium is fairly low at just 8% of the daily recommended limit.

Total Carbohydrates: 63g, Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 61g
This is where the drink gets quite unhealthy. With no fiber and a whopping 61g of sugar, almost the entire 63g of carbs come from sugar. This represents over 60% of the daily value for added sugars in just one drink.

Protein: 6g

A minor amount of protein comes from the milk.

So in terms of macros, the green tea frappuccino is alarmingly high in both saturated fat and added sugars, while being devoid of fiber. This is quite an unhealthy nutritional makeup.


Analyzing the actual ingredients in a Starbucks green tea frappuccino gives more insights into its nutrition and health impacts:

Brewed Green Tea – The primary green tea component is minimal at just 20mg of matcha green tea extract. This likely provides only small amounts of antioxidants and polyphenols associated with green tea benefits.

Sugar – Different forms of added sugars make up the bulk of the recipe. These include sucrose (plain white sugar), cane sugar syrup, and natural flavors which often contain sugars. These contribute no nutrition.

Milk – Whole milk provides some protein and calcium, but also the high saturated fat content.

Ice – No nutritional value, but contributes to the thick, icy texture.

preservatives – Potassium sorbate is used as a preservative.

stabilizers/thickeners – Cellulose gum and xanthan gum give the drink more viscosity and thickness.

Natural and artificial flavors – Exact components are proprietary, but likely include both natural and synthetic flavor chemicals for the green tea flavor.

Fruit juice concentrates – Small amounts of dehydrated apple, pineapple, lime and lemon juices.

Soy lecithin – An emulsifier and stabilizer derived from soybeans.

Caramel color – Added primarily for aesthetics.

So a majority of the ingredients are sugars, thickeners, preservatives and flavor chemicals – quite an unhealthy mix. The green tea content itself is very low. There are also artificial and highly processed ingredients present.

Health Benefits

Given its high sugar and low nutrient content, the green tea frappuccino is quite lacking in potential health benefits. However, some benefits can be highlighted:

Antioxidants – The green tea extract provides polyphenols and EGCG, antioxidants that may help reduce cell damage in the body. However, the amount from a typical serving is quite low.

Caffeine – Around 60mg of caffeine can help increase alertness and focus. But caffeine from natural green tea would likely be better than the likely artificial caffeine added.

Hydration – The high fluid content helps with hydration, though hydration benefits could be achieved from water or unsweetened teas.

Milk nutrients – The milk provides a bioavailable source of calcium and vitamin D. But the negatives of saturated fat likely outweigh this benefit.

So while a small antioxidant and hydration benefit is present, most of the drink’s components either lack nutritional value or are unhealthy, making significant health benefits unlikely.

Health Risks

There are also some potential health risks of habitually drinking Starbucks’ green tea frappuccino:

Weight gain – With 61g of sugar and 370 calories, the drink can easily lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain over time, increasing obesity risk.

Blood sugar spikes – The high glycemic index of the sugars causes rapid blood sugar spikes, which over time can contribute to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes risk.

Dental cavities – The combination of sugar and acidity leads to dental erosion and cavities with habitual consumption.

Artificial additives – Artificial flavors, sweeteners and preservatives may negatively impact gut health and metabolism.

Caffeine dependence – Over-consumption can lead to caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

Milk allergies – The milk ingredients pose problems for those with dairy allergies or sensitivities.

So for most people, making green tea frappuccinos a regular habit likely outweighs any minor benefits with increased risk of obesity, dental problems, and other issues. Moderation is key if consuming.


For those seeking a healthy cold green tea drink, there are many lower sugar, more natural alternatives to the Starbucks green tea frappuccino:

Unsweetened iced green tea – Brew plain green tea and pour it over ice. Retains all the antioxidants without added sugar. Add fresh mint or fruit for flavor.

Matcha latte – Made with just matcha powder, hot water and milk of choice. Can be served over ice. Still has caffeine but minimal sugar.

Green tea smoothie – Blend brewed green tea with yogurt and fresh or frozen fruit for a nutrient-dense smoothie.

Sparkling green tea – Mix brewed chilled green tea with sparking water and a touch of honey or stevia if desired.

Homemade green tea frappuccino – Blend green tea, milk/nondairy milk, frozen banana and other fruit. Much less sugar than Starbucks version.

The takeaway is you can achieve green tea’s benefits without the unhealthy sugars and additives found in the Starbucks bottled beverage. Make your own healthy, homemade version instead.

The Bottom Line

Starbucks’ green tea frappuccino contains minimal real green tea and instead derives most of its calories from added sugars. With 61g of sugar in a venti serving, it exceeds daily recommended limits from a single beverage. Habitual consumption is likely to negatively impact weight and dental health. While it can be enjoyed as an occasional treat, consumers should not mistake this drink as being truly healthy. Homemade versions with far less sugar are a better option for experiencing green tea benefits in a refreshing cold drink. Overall, the green tea frappuccino is an indulgence lacking legitimate nutrition, not a health-promoting beverage.

Serving Size Calories Sugar (g)
Tall (12 fl oz) 180 38
Grande (16 fl oz) 250 50
Venti (24 fl oz) 370 61


  1. Starbucks. “Green Tea Crème Frappuccino® Blended Crème.” Accessed October 30, 2023.
  2. Rogers, K. “Are Starbucks’ Green Tea Frappuccinos Healthy?” Healthline. May 29, 2019.
  3. Leech, J. “All You Need to Know About the Starbucks Green Tea Frappuccino.” Healthline. April 24, 2019.

Leave a Comment