I love Starbucks as much as the next person, but sometimes when you are losing weight it’s tough to know which choice is the healthiest. You can go skinny, you can go sugar freeSo what is healthier- (2)
– but is that the right choice for you? I have my own opinion of which drink is healthier, but I wanted to discover if it would depend on which diet you were following. Turns out it does, and some of the results and things I discovered along the way were MIND BLOWING.

So I decided to take my current ‘go to’ drink, black coffee with cream and the drink I hear ordered a lot and deemed the healthy option, skinny latte.

I took all the nutritional information from the Starbucks website, and both drinks are Grande – the most popular size. The first thing which I found fascinating is that if you order a filter or drip coffee (straight from the machine) it is 5 calories, but if you order an Americano it is 17 calories, with 3 grams of carbohydrate – can someone please explain what the difference is? So for this experiment I took an Americano instead of a filter coffee.

Here are the basic numbers…

Grande Skim Latte: 131 calories, 0.3 fat, 19.5 carbs (17.5 sugar), 12.6 protein

Grande Americano with 2 tbsp cream: 123 calories, 11.2 fat, 3.8 carbs, 0.6 protein

[FYI if you add syrup its another 60 calories, 0.0 fat, 15.0 carbs (14.6 sugar)]

Okay so the first thing to point out is that if you look at the calories alone, there is very little in the numbers, which may surprise a lot of you, because when you read the word CREAM you are thinking ‘woah keep me away from that’. Interesting right? So before you all leave me and order a coffee with cream, lets get down to the comparison!

Weight Watchers Slimming World Atkins If It Fits Your Macros Calorie Counting
Grande Skim Latte 3 Points 5 – 6 1/2 syns HELL NO 0.3 fat, 19.5 carbs, 12.6 protein 131
Grande Americano with cream 2 Points 2 -3 syns ALL DAY 11.2 fat, 3.8 carbs, 0.6 protein 123

So lets start with Weight Watchers, you can see that both drinks are fairly close in points, and I believe this is based on the new points system they have. So either way you are going to be following your diet plan, please bear in mind I have no idea how WW points are calculated so this may be a complete waste of your points.

If you are a Slimming World advocate then you should actually be having the coffee with CREAM over the skinny latte, because you don’t want to be wasting your syns on a drink, right? I understand ‘syns’ are a treat, and you can have between 5 and 15 per day.

It is pretty clear with Atkins, it’s a low carb diet so the latte is completely off limits, but you can apparently have between 2 – 3 tablespoons of cream per day in the ‘induction phase’ so you are good to go! The scariest thing I found in an Atkins forum is that apparently a ‘Decaf, heavy whipping cream latte’ is Atkins friendly – besides sounding sickly, in a tall (8 oz) that would be close to NINETY grams of fat, SIXTY grams of saturated fat. If you are even thinking this diet is a good idea, please get in touch, I am absolutely gobsmacked that this is even deemed ‘healthy’.

With IIFYM, the drink you choose is going to be based on IF IT FITS YOUR MACROS, so this is possibly THE most sensible outcome. I have followed an IIFYM approach, and I currently hover between there and moderation. It works for me, because it taught me more about portion control than any other diet plan.

Finally, Calorie Counting, you can see both drinks are similar in calories, so the choice is yours – but what I would point out is that it’s what makes up the calories that is important to look at. You probably don’t just count calories, you probably look at fat or carbs too depending on your dieting history.

*I should point out that if you order an iced latte, you reduce the amount of dairy, so the numbers come down.

This isn’t just about coffee…

So here’s the thing – I don’t like diet plans that over complicate your nutrition, and ‘points’ and ‘syns’ over complicate the heck out of nutrition. Isn’t this whole thing complicated enough, without creating new words for CALORIES?

From the table above, doesn’t it seem odd that there is such an extreme difference between the two drinks when calories are similar? This is because it is what makes up those calories (the macro nutrients) that is important, this is why I often state calories are not the only answer – the quality of your food is important too. We should also consider the toxins in our foods, and non fat milk in particular is processed, so whilst a lot of diets (calorie focused diets) will rave about non fat milk – is it really healthier? You can see it depends on your opinion of healthy, it also depends on whether you are interested in what you eat, as well as how much.

You see ‘Miss Low Fat’ will surely go for the latte, whilst ‘Miss Low Carb’ will opt for the coffee with cream (or this horrendous whipping cream latte) and yet ‘Miss Calorie Counter’ is going to say well I’ll have whichever one I fancy because they are nearly the same.

They are not the same, not even by a little bit.

So my reasons for disliking diets continues, counting ‘syns’ and’points’ teaches you very little about food. Would you know what the macro nutrients are in each drink? Would this even have an impact on your choice? It should – because to lose fat and change your body shape – you need to have an hormonal balance which assists you to burn fat.

So why do I now choose the coffee with cream?

  • It helps me practice moderation. It started around the holidays when the Holiday drinks are available and I am a lover of the Egg Nog Latte, the most sickly drink going. As I type I realise it’s probably like that whipping cream latte!!!! So I ordered coffee with cream, and didn’t order a holiday drink, not to deprive myself, but to remind myself I could always have one next time.
  • I don’t want to drink my calories.
  • It’s cheaper – lets be honest!
  • I am always reminded of Jill Coleman’s ‘Frappucino or Bust’ story and it’s like she sits on my shoulder whispering it to me! Thanks Jill!
  • I love coffee, so I want my coffee to taste like coffee!
  • What is in my food, is as important to me as how much I eat.


I did this research based on the conversations I have with people who make assumptions about what is considered ‘healthy’ and as you can see my Starbucks drink is not any lower in calorie than a skinny latte but it is my choice and I own it. I have a reason for ordering that drink as do many of you reading this. I would suggest thinking about what you are ordering if it is a high calorie and fat drink on a daily basis. This could be that ONE habit you could start to change, check out the nutritional information here to get a clearer idea of what you are actually drinking.


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