Diabetes Cure

Diabetes-Friendly Starbucks Drinks

Starbucks is a reliable companion no matter the season, whether it’s the cozy peppermint scents of winter or the refreshing cold brews of summertime.

But most drinks at coffee chains like Starbucks come absolutely loaded with calories and sugar. They’re delicious, but not the healthiest of choices, especially if you have diabetes.

Luckily, Starbucks has more than a few low-carb ingredients on hand, and as regulars know, it’s possible to customize your own drinks. If you know the options and get creative, you can invent your own diabetes-friendly drinks.

We update his article regularly because Starbucks changes its menu regularly. Unfortunately, in the last year, Starbucks stopped offering its beloved sugar-free cinnamon syrup.

First, let’s review the ingredients you have to work with:

Low-Carb Flavors:

  • Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup — If you need some of that sweet flavor that Starbucks is famous for, this stuff is likely to be your best friend. Starbucks has sadly winnowed its sugar-free syrup options down to this one flavor. Your barista will gladly pump it into any drink you wish.
  • Cinnamon — Unfortunately, the sugar-free cinnamon syrup is gone. The best way to recreate it is to add sprinkled cinnamon to your sugar-free vanilla syrup.

Milk and Milk Alternatives:

  • Whole Milk, 2%, and Nonfat Milk — These dairy milks all have about the same carbohydrate content. A grande (medium) Caffé Misto, which is half steamed milk and half brewed coffee, contains 10g of carbohydrates when made with dairy milk.
  • Half and Half has marginally fewer carbs than whole milk, 2%, and nonfat milk.
  • Heavy Cream — Yes, Starbucks will make you a drink full of heavy cream. Heavy cream has fewer carbohydrates than the other dairy options, slightly more than half. A grande Caffé Misto made with heavy cream will probably contain about 6g of carbs. This option is popular with keto dieters looking to boost their fat intake, but may be a poor choice for anyone watching their weight.
  • Almond Milk — Starbucks uses Califa Farms Barista Blend almond milk, which contains about half as many total carbohydrates as dairy milk, though they do come in the form of added cane sugar.
  • Coconut Milk — Starbucks uses its own brand of “single-origin Sumatra coconut milk.” This coconut milk contains isn’t the same stuff that you cook with: the food ingredient is made from boiling coconut flakes, but the dairy alternative has added sugar and a bunch of ingredients that make the texture more milk-like. It has 70 percent as many carbs as dairy milk, some of which are in the form of added sugar.
  • Oat Milk — Oatly’s Barista Edition oat milk has more carbs than dairy milk, about 33 percent more, but no added sugar.
  • Soy Milk — Starbucks’ soy milk contains about 40 percent fewer carbs than dairy milk, but it’s in the form of added sugar.
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If carbs are the most important thing to you, you’re best off with almond milk, followed by heavy cream and soy milk. Oat milk has the most carbs.

If you’re more concerned with added sugar, be careful with the alternative milks, which are sweetened to match milk’s natural sweetness. Oat milk is an exception, though it has even more carbs than dairy milk.

Packaged Sweeteners

  • Splenda — Splenda is low-carb, but not actually a zero-carb option, because it contains dextrose. One packet of Splenda officially has less than 1 gram of carbohydrates.
  • Stevia in the Raw — The same goes for Stevia. Stevia contains dextrose, and one packet officially has less than 1 gram of carbohydrates.

If you prefer allulose, monk fruit, or any other sugar alternative, you’ll have to bring it with you.


A note: many low-carb Starbucks drinks are best ordered in person rather than online. That’s because Starbucks’ online platform doesn’t always give the option to remove the sugar syrup that is automatically pumped in. Speak to the cashier and make it explicit that you want zero added sugar.

We also encourage you to ask if you’re not sure. The Starbucks website is not exactly reliable — for example, it variously refers to the iced black tea as sweetened and unsweetened.

Here are the drinks that automatically contain no added sugar:

  • Brewed coffee — all blends
  • Caffé Misto (half steamed milk, half brewed coffee)
  • Caffè Americano (espresso with a small amount of cream)
  • Iced Caffè Americano
  • Caffè Latte (espresso with milk and milk foam)
  • Latte Macchiato (a stronger Caffè Latte)
  • Cappuccino
  • Espresso
  • Iced Espresso
  • Espresso Macchiato (espresso with a “dollop” of steamed milk and milk foam)
  • Flat white (a stronger “ristretto” shot with steamed milk)
  • Brewed tea
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Any of the drinks above can be easily customized with sugar alternatives and milk choices.

People in the low-carb community have gotten very creative with their low-sugar recipes. The Diet Chefs, for example, recommend recreating a low-carb frappuccino by adding sugar-free syrup and heavy cream to an iced coffee, or recreating the viral “pink drink” by adding cream and sugar-free syrup to brewed passion tango tea over ice.

Some drinks may be impossible to transform into low-carb varieties. For example, hot and iced chai tea are generally made with a chai syrup that contains both spices and added sugar — you can’t add one without the other. But your Starbucks may have zero-carb chai tea bags that will allow you to create your own sugar-free chai recipe.

Starbucks Food

Starbucks has more food options every time we look up. If you’re watching your carbs, you’ll probably want to stay away from most of the options. Sandwiches and scones are obviously packed with carbohydrates, but even the wraps contain 30g or more of net carbs.

  • Sous Vide Egg Bites — These are the real winners for breakfast. Starbucks offers three flavors of these little egg bites. They look like muffins, but they’re made primarily from egg and cheese, with very little starch or sugar added in. Each flavor has about 10g of carbohydrates per serving.
  • Protein Boxes — The clearest sign that Starbucks cares about its low-carb customers, these lunch boxes make an effortless snack lunch spread with components like hard-boiled eggs, cheese, salami, and nuts. Skip the crackers to make it a truly low-carb meal.
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Starbucks also stocks beef jerky and string cheese near the cookies and snack bars.

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