The Pistachio Latte Is Back at Starbucks—but Is It Healthy?
No matter the season, you can depend on Starbucks to have a tantalizing drink on the menu that matches the weather—whether it's a peppermint mocha for holiday cheer or a pumpkin spice latte to match the changing leaves. And now that we're leaving the holiday season behind us, Starbucks is bringing back a favorite winter drink: the pistachio latte.
Starbucks describes the drink as featuring "cozy flavors of sweet pistachio and rich brown butter paired with espresso and steamed milk, specially crafted to keep coffee lovers comforted in the new year." The latte is available hot or iced, and it's flavored with a pistachio sauce and brown butter topping, which should appeal to those who enjoy the similar caramel brulée latte.
Nutrition for the Starbucks Pistachio Latte
While the drink definitely sounds like a cozy way to keep warm in the cold weather, it's not as healthy as we wish it was. Here's the nutritional breakdown for a 16-ounce grande pistachio latte.
- Calories: 320
- Total Fat: 9g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Cholesterol: 25mg
- Sodium: 310mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 48g
- Total Sugars: 45g
- Protein: 12g
The pistachio latte is high in calories and sodium, according to our nutrition parameters for drinks. Plus, the drink is a significant source of sugar. While the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends different levels of daily sugar intake based on gender, this drink contains more than the daily total amount of recommended sugar for people of any gender. Even Starbucks' smaller size, the 12-ounce tall, contains 33 grams of sugar, while the maximum daily sugar intake suggested by the AHA is 36 grams. While it's certainly okay to indulge in a sweet treat every once in a while, picking up one of these lattes regularly could leave you dealing with the effects of eating too much sugar, like increased appetite or dental cavities. (You could dial back the sweetness by reducing the amount of pistachio sauce in your drink or skipping the brown butter topping.)
The pistachio latte also packs in a whopping 5 grams of saturated fat, which is high for a drink or dessert. Those watching out for their heart health may want to skip this latte, since research shows that saturated fat consumption is associated with a higher risk for heart disease.
On the brighter side, the drink contains 12 grams of protein, which is what you'd get from eating two eggs in the morning. That also means this latte has some staying power, since higher-protein foods can leave you feeling satisfied.
"The amount of calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates put this drink more inline with a full meal than a coffee drink," says EatingWell's Associate Nutrition Editor Jessica Ball, M.S. RD, "If you enjoy it, this drink is perfectly fine to have on occasion as a treat. That said, its high added sugar, fat and sodium content make it not the best choice for a regular morning beverage."
You probably don't want to make this drink an everyday indulgence, but with moderation in mind (and maybe some tweaks to the sugar content) it's a treat that will definitely put you in the post-holiday spirit. For healthier latte ideas that you can make at home this winter, try our Turmeric Latte or Spiked Vanilla Latte.