Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few days, you know about Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino. It’s brilliant marketing, by the way – bright colours, playing to the universal love of unicorns, and it’s only in existence for five days.
And it took exactly one day for people to find something to complain about. This meme is floating around social media:
And people are outraged. “You mean to tell me that this artificially coloured and flavoured sweet drink is loaded with sugar? You’re going to cause diabetes!” they cry. I saw one person suggest that Starbucks should be held legally responsible for marketing this to children. Never mind the extreme ignorance on how diabetes happens, people are genuinely pissed off and surprised that this thing isn’t the picture of healthy living. And to those people I have just one question.
What in the actual hell did you expect?
Who took a look at this flourescent beverage and expected anything less than a sugar-loaded cup filled with sweet, sour deliciousness? And, maybe more importantly, have you looked at Starbucks’ other drinks – do you have any idea how much sugar you consume on a daily basis? If you think the Unicorn Frap is the problem, you truly have no idea.
A quick perusal of Starbucks’ nutritional information website shows me that SEVERAL of their drinks meet or exceed 76g of sugar. The Venti Java Chip Frappuccino, for example, comes in at a whopping 89g if you add the whip (85g without). In fact, most of their frappuccino options come in with a sky-high sugar content.
A Grande Caramel Apple Spice has 71g of sugar, while a Venti Peach Iced Green Tea Lemonade comes in at 48g. Even a Grande Oprah Chai Latte with coconut milk registers at 28g of sugar – still well above recommended limits.
If you really think that opting for a different beverage choice this week would’ve been healthier, you’re probably just plain wrong.
Starbucks aside, many of our everyday drinks contain exorbinant amounts of sugar – and, although there maybe should be, I’m not seeing the outrage over that. A single can of Mountain Dew has 46g of the stuff. And a medium Sonic Vanilla Shake has 71g. Are you seeing the trend yet?
And I haven’t even gotten into the fact that I’m a grown-ass woman who can make my own diet choices. And if I want to indulge in a rainbow drink once or twice or ten times this week – that’s my goddamn right. And it’s yours too.
The problem is not this pretty drink that you’ve suddenly decided to demonize. The problem is society as a whole. We put sugar in everything – a LOT of it. Any time you’re opting for that sweet treat, you’re going well over what “they” say you should.
Sugar is a problem. I’m not disputing that. We eat too much of it, it’s hiding everywhere, it’s causing health issues. It’s just plain not healthy for us. But let’s stop acting like this is one drink’s or even one company’s fault. Instead of shaming me for eating the equivalent of three Snickers bars, why don’t you advocate for reduced sugar content all around? Lobby Starbucks for actually healthier options. Pressure policy-makers to tighten up regulations. Encourage nutrition education and then lobby for healthy options to actually be affordable.
This isn’t about the unicorn. It’s about society. Place your blame where it’s deserved.