How Healthy Are Starbucks’ New Boba-Inspired Drinks? Dietitian Review

How Healthy Are Starbucks’ New Boba-Inspired Drinks?  Dietitian Review

Starbucks launched its new summer menu this week, including three new drinks: a Summer Berry Refresher, a Summer Berry Lemonade Refresher, and a dairy-free Summer Skies drink.

The twist? The three new drinks are Starbucks’ version of boba or bubble tea and feature “juicy raspberry-flavored pearls” inspired by popular East Asian drinks.

“We started with fruit chunks, but wanted something even bolder,” Simon Vuong, beverage developer at Starbucks, said in a statement. “So we thought, ‘Let’s put some fruit-flavored pearls in the drink and try it.’ » It’s very fun to see the way it delivers flavor when it appears in the mouth.

New boba-inspired drinks may be a fun way to quench your summer thirst, but how healthy are these new Starbucks options? Three registered dietitians reviewed the nutritional information and ingredients of these drinks. Here’s what they think.


Starbucks Summer-Berry drinks are similar to other Starbucks refreshers or non-dairy drinks: a sweet Summer-Berry base (a blend of raspberry, blueberry and blackberry flavors) is poured over ice or mixed with lemonade or coconut milk.

The star ingredient in these new drinks – and what sets them apart from other Starbucks Refreshers – is the addition of raspberry-flavored pearls made from a blend of water, sugar, calcium lactate, sodium alginate and vegetable juice concentrate, among others.

These flavored pearls are inspired by the “bubbles” of bubble tea. According to Scott Keatley, RD, co-owner of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, the pearls in traditional bubble tea are made from tapioca, which is a starch extracted from the root vegetable cassava.

Although tapioca pearls can cause some gastrointestinal issues, like constipation, Starbucks pearls are less likely to cause these side effects, Keatley said. Health. However, “it’s still wise to consume them in moderation due to their potential sugar content and other digestive considerations,” he added.

All three bubble tea-inspired drinks are high in sugar and carbs, but lack fat, fiber or protein. Here is the nutritional breakdown of each drink:

Starbucks refreshing summer fruit drink:

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 27 grams
  • Sugars: 25 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Caffeine: 50 grams

Refreshing Starbucks Summer Berry Lemonade Drink:

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Saturated fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 39 grams
  • Sugars: 37 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Caffeine: 50 grams

Summer Skies Drink Starbucks Refreshing Drink:

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 2.5 grams
  • Saturated fat: 2.5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 31 grams
  • Sugars: 29 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Caffeine: 50 grams

Experts agree that these new drinks aren’t the worst things you can order at Starbucks, but they’re not necessarily a health drink.

“These bubble teas are full of added sugar and have minimal nutritional benefits,” Keri Gans, RD, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of The regime of small changes, said Health.

Jessica Cording, RD, registered dietitian, health coach and author of The little book that changes the game agrees: “(These drinks) definitely fall into the fun category,” she said Healthadding that because these drinks contain a lot of sugar with little or no fat or protein, they could potentially cause your blood sugar to spike and then drop.

But it’s not all bad. Gans praised the spirulina concentrate that appears in the drinks to give them their bold blue color. “Spirulina may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that benefit our health,” she said. “However, it is uncertain how much teas contain to provide any benefit.”

And a quick note from Gans about the fruit-flavored pearls: “The bubbles should be chewed, not swallowed, as they could potentially pose a choking hazard.” Cording added that people with swallowing problems and young children should avoid pearls.

Overall, registered dietitians think these drinks are good in moderation. “(They) can have their place as something that a person enjoys from time to time,” Cording said.

If you choose to indulge in any of these drinks, Keatley said it’s important to consider their addition in the context of your diet as a whole. “Although the drink is high in sugar, it fits into the broader spectrum of health pleasures when consumed in moderation,” he said. “It’s free from artificial colors and uses natural ingredients, which is commendable. It’s all about balance and enjoying these treats as part of a balanced diet.”

If you want to be especially mindful of when you drink these drinks, Keatley recommends watching what else you consume each day. “For those who particularly enjoy bubble tea,” he said, “choosing days when your overall sugar intake is lower can help accommodate this indulgence without disrupting nutritional goals.”