Apparently, beginning in September, Starbucks started testing “lower-sugar” versions of its Frappuccinos in its retail locales, including in California. I’m not sure if I’ve come across these versions yet because when I’m in a Starbucks, I don’t even look at that part of the menu, though I do sometimes ask for a self-tailored version of a blended, ice drink and the baristas are usually pretty receptive (thank you) and, in fact, that often leads to interesting conversations about the sugar content in Starbucks’ products. For example, most baristas, whether at Starbucks or another coffee chain, aren’t aware that their almond, soy and coconut milks generally contain added sugar and so don’t present much of an alternative for those trying to cut back on the lactose in milk.
Back to the new “lower-sugar” Fraps, which reportedly contain almost 50 grams of sugar—or double the recommended daily intake! And who knows what other appealing treats an average gal might wash down with that Frap—like frosted cake balls on a stick? Which is why, at the onset of 2018, before Mr. Schultz retired as Starbucks’ executive chair and became chair emeritus, I wrote him a virtual note asking him to consider including low-sugar sweets in those glass cases of baked goods.
I’d seen Mr. Schultz speak at business conference in Seattle soon after 9-11. He is socially aware and philanthropically generous in regards to education and employment, and is now looking to run for president, so he seems like a potential first mover among retail coffee chains, someone willing to take risks in trying out the market for low-sugar sweets, if not also truly low-sugar blended drinks. Of course it’s Goodbuy Sugar’s dream to see at least one, low-sugar, low-carb slice of cake in every Starbucks, and labeled as such, so that millions of (pre)diabetics and those watching their sugar intake can feel good about enjoying a treat with their coffee. That was the gist of the email I sent to Mr. Schultz, for which I’ve not received a response, but something—namely, the new Fraps—tells me we won’t be seeing alternative sweets anytime soon.
For now, if your sweet tooth gets ornery during a visit to Starbucks, a low-sugar nut bar at the counter or one of the naturally sweet, no-sugar ice teas, which are remarkably tasty, should suffice. You might also ask a barista to blend you up a mix of coffee with or without a sugar-free flavored syrup (ask for one or two pumps instead of three to avoid an overly sweet taste) and maybe a little milk, and/or you can add some half and half and stevia (usually on hand at the store) to taste. A dollop of whipped cream on any drink adds decadence, but it’s still only available in a sweetened form. Or just add stevia to a very dry cappuccino, so you get some of the richness of full milk foam with much less dairy sugar. None of these may be same as having a low-carb, Frap-like shake—or having our low-carb cake and eating it too—but at the moment, it’s gonna have to do.