The Caramel Macchiato is a popular coffee drink offered by Starbucks and other coffee shops. With its sweet caramel flavor and milk foam topping, it satisfies cravings for something both sweet and caffeinated. However, the standard recipe calls for vanilla-flavored syrup, which contains sugar. This leaves health-conscious coffee drinkers wondering: is there a way to get the taste of a Caramel Macchiato without all that extra sugar?
What is a Caramel Macchiato?
A Caramel Macchiato starts with espresso shots pulled over ice. Then vanilla-flavored syrup is poured over the espresso, followed by foamed milk. The drink is finished off with a caramel drizzle across the top. The combination of espresso, vanilla, milk and caramel creates a sweet, creamy, layered beverage.
The typical Caramel Macchiato contains 25-35 grams of sugar in a small size. This amount comes from both the vanilla syrup and the caramel drizzle. For someone watching their sugar intake, that’s a lot of added sugar in one drink.
Reasons to order sugar-free
There are several reasons why someone may want to get a Caramel Macchiato without the extra sugar:
– They are limiting sugar for health reasons like diabetes or weight management
– They are following a low-carb or keto diet
– They simply don’t like very sweet coffee drinks
– They want the flavors without feeling jittery from too much sugar
– They are avoiding ingredients like high fructose corn syrup found in some syrups
The good news is that it’s definitely possible to customize a Caramel Macchiato to be sugar-free. The key is knowing what substitutions to request.
How to Order a Sugar-Free Caramel Macchiato
ordering a sugar-free Caramel Macchiato takes a bit of customization, but any good barista should be able to accommodate your request. Here are some tips:
Ask for sugar-free vanilla syrup
The standard vanilla syrup contains about 20 grams of sugar per pump. Requesting sugar-free vanilla syrup eliminates the bulk of added sugar. Sugar-free vanilla syrup is sweetened with sugar substitutes like sucralose or stevia.
If the coffee shop doesn’t have pre-made sugar-free vanilla, ask if they have sugar-free flavoring options like vanilla extract. A pump of extract or splash of milk won’t add any sugar.
Request sugar-free caramel drizzle
The caramel drizzle on top also packs a lot of sugar. Ask them to hold the standard caramel and use a sugar-free version if they have it. Some shops will have sugar-free caramel sauce or drizzle made with non-nutritive sweeteners.
If not, ask them to drizzle just a bit of plain caramel for flavor without drowning the drink in sugar. A light drizzle will add a just a gram or two.
Choose sugar-free milk options
The foamed milk also contributes a couple grams of lactose sugar. To avoid it, opt for non-dairy milks which are naturally lower in sugars. Options like:
– Unsweetened almond milk
– Unsweetened coconut milk
– Sugar-free oat milk
Skip the whipped cream
Whipped cream piles on additional sugar. A dollop of regular sweetened whipped cream can contain around 5 grams of sugar. To avoid the unnecessary sugar, ask them to leave off the whipped cream.
Sample sugar-free customization
Putting it all together, a sugar-free Caramel Macchiato order might sound like:
“I’ll take a small Caramel Macchiato made with sugar-free vanilla syrup instead of regular, sugar-free caramel drizzle on top if you have it, otherwise just a light drizzle of regular caramel, and unsweetened almond milk instead of regular milk. And no whipped cream please.”
Being specific with the customizations is key so the barista understands exactly which high-sugar ingredients to omit.
Sugar-Free Syrup Brand Recommendations
To expand their sugar-free drink options, some coffee shops stock pre-made sugar-free syrups. Here are a few top brands to look for:
Torani Sugar Free Syrups
Torani is one of the most popular Italian syrup brands. They have a wide range of sugar-free flavors sweetened with Splenda. Popular options include sugar-free vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, cinnamon dolce and many more. A pump of Torani syrup has 0 grams of sugar.
Monin Sugar Free Syrups
Monin is another leading gourmet syrup company. Their sugar-free syrups are sweetened with sucralose. Favorites include French vanilla, caramel, chocolate cookie and raspberry. Per pump, Monin syrups contain 0g sugar.
Skinny Syrups are a brand specifically focused on low calorie, low sugar flavors. They have simple syrup options as well as sauces and drizzles. Flavors like caramel and skinny mocha are sweetened with stevia and erythritol. Each pump of Skinny Syrup has around 0-3 grams of sugar.
Jordan’s Skinny Mixes
Jordan’s Skinny Mixes offers light and sugar-free syrups, sauces and powders. Sweetened with stevia and erythritol, their sugar-free caramel sauce makes a good replacement for standard caramel drizzle. Jordan’s Skinny Mixes has 0g sugar per serving.
DaVinci Gourmet Sugar Free Syrups
DaVinci offers a variety of sugar free flavors like caramel, cinnamon, and English toffee. Sweetened with sucralose, they have 0g sugar per pump, making them a smart choice for low-carb drinks.
Starbucks Sugar-Free Customizations
Starbucks is one coffee giant that offers several ways to customize a drink to be sugar-free. Here are some specific tips for ordering a sugar-free Caramel Macchiato there:
Ask for sugar-free vanilla syrup
The standard Starbucks Caramel Macchiato comes with vanilla syrup, which contains 20g sugar per pump. Ask them to substitute sugar-free vanilla syrup to cut the sugar.
Starbucks offers sugar-free vanilla made with sucralose as well as naturally-sweetened sugar-free vanilla, which is made with stevia. Both contain 0g sugar per pump.
Hold the caramel drizzle
Starbucks’ caramel drizzle has 24g of sugar per serving. Ask them to leave it off and do just a very light drizzle of plain caramel sauce instead, which has 12g sugar per serving.
Use sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup
For added flavor, you can ask them to use a pump or two of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup, which has 0g sugar. The cinnamon complements the caramel nicely.
Choose a sugar-free milk
Opt for a milk alternative over regular dairy. Starbucks offers coconutmilk, almondmilk or soymilk, all of which contain 0g added sugar. Stay away from any sweetened vanilla or chocolate nut milks.
Avoid the whip
Say no to whipped cream, which piles on 12g extra sugar per serving.
Sample Starbucks sugar-free order:
“I’d like a small sugar-free Caramel Macchiato please. Can I get it with 2 pumps of the naturally sweetened sugar-free vanilla syrup instead of regular vanilla, just a very light caramel drizzle instead of the full caramel drizzle, 1 pump of sugar-free cinnamon dolce, and almondmilk instead of regular milk? And no whipped cream, thanks!”
This will provide the delicious layered essence of a Caramel Macchiato without spiking your blood sugar.
Making Your Own Sugar-Free Caramel Macchiato
What if you want the taste of a Caramel Macchiato at home without added sugars? Luckily, it’s possible to DIY a sugar-free version pretty easily.
How to make it:
Brew fresh espresso, or make concentrated coffee.
Add sugar-free vanilla syrup to taste (start with 1-2 tbsp).
Pour espresso/coffee over ice.
Add milk of choice – opt for unsweetened nut or dairy milk.
Top with just a drizzle of sugar-free caramel sauce.
For the syrup, you can purchase sugar-free vanilla syrups or make your own. Combine extracts like vanilla and almond with a sugar replacement like erythritol or stevia.
For the caramel drizzle, melt coconut oil with a pinch of salt and add a sugar replacement like monk fruit or allulose to taste.
Sugar-free syrup recipe:
Homemade Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup
– 1/2 cup hot water
– 1 tbsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
– Sweetener like erythritol or stevia to taste
Combine hot water with extracts and sweetener until dissolved. Add to coffee for a sugar-free vanilla flavor.
Sugar-free caramel recipe:
Easy Sugar-Free Caramel Sauce
– 1/4 cup coconut oil
– pinch of salt
– 1/4 cup monk fruit sweetener
– 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Melt coconut oil in a pan over low heat. Stir in salt, monk fruit sweetener and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over coffee drink.
So you can definitely still enjoy the flavors of a Caramel Macchiato without all the sugar! Just follow these tips for ordering one sugar-free or make it yourself at home.
Nutrition Facts for Sugar-Free Caramel Macchiato
Going sugar-free with your Caramel Macchiato significantly reduces the calorie and carbohydrate content:
|Caramel Macchiato Version
|Standard version with sugar-sweetened vanilla and caramel (16 oz)
|With sugar-free vanilla and light caramel drizzle (16 oz)
As you can see, just by omitting the sugar-sweetened syrups and drizzle, you can save yourself nearly 150 calories and 30 grams of unnecessary sugar per drink.
Blood sugar impact
All those added sugars also equate to a blood sugar spike. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25g added sugar per day for women and 36g for men. Just one 16oz regular Caramel Macchiato exceeds this limit.
Choosing sugar-free flavors helps maintain more stable blood sugar by removing the sugar rush. This makes it a better option for diabetics and anyone controlling their blood glucose levels.
Potential Sugar-Free Ingredients to Avoid
While sugar-free syrups allow you to customize a lower sugar Caramel Macchiato, some sweeteners come with their own drawbacks. Here are a few to potentially limit or avoid:
Also known as Ace-K, this artificial sweetener is 200x sweeter than sugar. Although the FDA has approved its safety, some studies have linked Ace-K to possible carcinogenic effects in lab animals. Moderate use is likely fine but best not to overdo it.
Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) has come under fire for potential health risks including headaches, mood changes and increased cravings. People with the genetic condition phenylketonuria (PKU) also cannot metabolize it properly.
Splenda is perhaps the most widely used sugar substitute in pre-made syrups and beverages. While safe for most people, some report GI side effects like bloating. Sucralose also alters gut bacteria and triggers insulin release, so those with diabetes may want to limit intake.
One of the first artificial sweeteners, saccharin has been deemed safe but may leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Brands like Sweet N Low contain saccharin.
Natural but high glycemic sweeteners
Some sugar-free syrups are made with agave, rice syrup, maple syrup or coconut sugar. While they are natural sources, these still act like sugar in the body, spiking blood glucose levels. People watching their blood sugar should use them sparingly.
The best options for low glycemic, natural sugar-free sweeteners are:
– Monk fruit
When tweaking your Caramel Macchiato to be sugar-free, try to choose syrups made with these more blood-sugar friendly sweeteners.
Making Other Coffee Drinks Sugar-Free
The same principles used to modify a Caramel Macchiato can be applied to other sweet coffee beverages. Here are some tips for ordering sugar-free versions of other favorites:
Cinnamon Dolce Latte
Order with sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup and sugar-free milk
White Chocolate Mocha
Ask for sugar-free mocha sauce and sugar-free white chocolate syrup
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Request sugar-free vanilla + sugar-free pumpkin sauce
Use sugar-free peppermint and mocha flavors
Ask for sugar-free vanilla syrup
Skinny Caramel Latte
Sugar-free vanilla + sugar-free caramel + sugar-free milk
So whether it’s a Caramel Macchiato or something else you crave, you can enjoy the flavor without spiking your blood sugar by customizing it with sugar-free ingredients. With the right modifications, you can have your coffee, cake, and eat it too!
Ordering a sugar-free Caramel Macchiato is absolutely possible for people who want the flavor without excess carbs and calories. By requesting modifications like sugar-free syrups and low-sugar milks, you can eliminate nearly 30g of added sugar per drink. For the best results:
– Ask for sugar-free vanilla syrup instead of regular
– Opt for just a light drizzle of caramel instead of full caramel drizzle
– Choose unsweetened dairy or non-dairy milk options
– Skip the whipped cream topping
– Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame if possible
With the right customizations, you can enjoy a Caramel Macchiato or any coffee drink without the blood sugar spike! Satisfy your sweet tooth and your health.