Starbucks Just Released a Paradise Drink and Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher—but Are They Healthy?

These drinks are the latest additions to their summer menu offerings.

starbucks new drinks
Photo: Getty Images/Starbucks

Just in time for the heat wave, Starbucks kicks off summer with two new seasonal cold drink options. On Tuesday, the chain added two new flavors to the menu: the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher and the Paradise Drink.

The Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher fuses the flavors of pineapple and passion fruit with real diced pineapple chunks. The Paradise Drink is almost the same as the refresher but adds coconut milk to the mix, which brings creaminess to the drink while keeping it dairy-free.

While Starbucks declares their new drinks to be "summer essentials," we have to ask: are these cold drinks healthy options that can be ordered all summer long, or are they best saved for an occasional treat?

Here are the nutrition facts for a tall, 12-ounce Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher:

  • 80 calories
  • 0 grams total fat
  • 0 grams saturated fat
  • 10 milligrams sodium
  • 18 grams carbohydrate
  • 15 grams sugar
  • 0 grams protein
  • 35 milligrams caffeine

This drink is definitely within our recommended parameters for calories, fat and sodium, but it's a little high in added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends a daily intake of no more than 36 grams or 25 grams of added sugar for men and women, respectively. This drink would contain roughly 60% of a woman's recommended daily limit for added sugar.

"Sweetened drinks are the top source of added sugar in the diets of most Americans, accounting for about 24% of consumption. Plus, sugar-sweetened beverages are digested rapidly, leading to sharp spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels," shares Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, nutrition editor at EatingWell. "Excess added sugar consumption can lead to inflammation, weight gain and increased diabetes risk, so enjoy this drink as an infrequent treat and opt for a lower-sugar drink, like homebrewed coffee or tea, most days so you can control the amount of sugar added more easily."

Since the Starbucks refreshers are pre-mixed, there's not a way you can customize your drink for a low-sugar option. While the refresher is fine for the occasional caffeine fix, you can make yourself a healthier pineapple drink at home. Try our new Pineapple-Cilantro Agua Fresca recipe, where you can easily swap out the agave syrup for a sugar alternative.

Here's how the Starbucks Paradise Drink compares, nutrition-wise:

  • 110 calories
  • 2 grams total fat
  • 1.5 grams saturated fat
  • 50 milligrams sodium
  • 21 grams carbohydrate
  • 18 grams sugar
  • 0 grams protein
  • 35 milligrams caffeine

This drink is higher in calories, fat and sodium than the Pineapple Passionfruit Refresher, but is still low-sodium according to our standards. The coconut milk in this drink also bumps up the sugar content, so replacing it with almond milk would help lower the amount of sugar in the drink. Similar to the refresher, it falls more in line with dessert than morning joe.

If you're looking for a creamy drink to help you stay cool this summer, try our Whipped Frozen Lemonade, which has 5 fewer grams of sugar than the Paradise drink and has coconut milk among its ingredients.

These new Starbucks drinks are perfect for an occasional treat, but are high in added sugar so it's probably best if they aren't a part of your daily routine. No matter which drink you choose, Starbucks has plenty of refreshing options for you to enjoy as a pick-me-up this summer (including the Chocolate Cream Cold Brew that came out in May). Whether you get it in a drive-thru or you make it at home, relax this weekend and treat yourself to a cold drink while enjoying the summer air!

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