A latte is a basic coffee drink you can order at any coffeehouse. The simplicity of espresso and steamed milk makes it popular, but when you're at Starbucks, the options increase exponentially. There are multiple options for milk including non-fat, low-fat, and whole milk, as well as non-dairy options of coconut milk, almond, and soy milk. You can add flavors, such as vanilla, caramel, or hazelnut as well as seasonal flavors to your heart's content. If you're cutting out sugar, Starbucks' Iced Skinny Latte is the way to go.
The Iced Skinny Latte with sugar-free syrup uses sucralose, so there are no carbs added if you opt for flavor. If you want to cut down even more on carbs, opt for unsweetened almond milk instead of the standard non-fat milk. You'll also save calories by choosing almond milk as one cup has only a third the calories of skim milk.
Here is the description and ingredients in the standard drink from Starbucks website:
Our signature Espresso Roast combined with fresh, cold nonfat milk, a sugar-free syrup of your choosing and ice. All the taste of a regular latte, only cooler and with fewer calories – 80 for a Grande (16 fl oz) to be exact."
The Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte has much less sugar than the regular version available at Starbucks, and with some modifications, you can cut even more carbs out of the drink. Here are a few pros of going skinny with this drink:
- About 40% of the calories as the regular version, 80 calories for the grande size
- About 30% of the sugar as the regular version, 10 grams for the grande size
- The coffee flavor is smooth and clean
While the Iced Skinny Vanilla Latte has much less sugar than the regular version available at Starbucks, there is still a downside.
- The sugar content is still high but can be lowered with almond or soy milk
- The artificial flavor can be a little abrasive on your palate
- The sugar-free syrups have a slight aftertaste
The Lowdown on Starbucks' Iced Skinny Latte
When sampling the Starbucks Iced Skinny Latte, the coffee flavor was nice and clean. The consistency of the coffee was very smooth, however, the artificial vanilla flavor was off-putting. It had an abrasive quality that overpowered the coffee flavor. You might try less vanilla flavor or more ice for a more balanced drink.
Nutritionally speaking, the Starbucks Iced Skinny Latte is just okay. For a tall (12 ounce) with non-fat milk, it has about 60 calories. It also has about 8 grams of sugar, which is about par for other "sugar-free lattes" available on the market.
Starbucks Iced Skinny Latte vs. McDonald's Sugar-Free Vanilla Coffee
Ultimately, the Starbucks Iced Skinny Latte is a decent product, but it does not overtake another popular sugar-free favorite drink - McDonald's Sugar-Free Vanilla Coffee. Though it's a favorite, the ingredient list for this drink may give you pause. Specifically, McDonald's Sugar-Free Vanilla Coffee lists the following ingredients on its website:
Coffee Roast, Cream Light (Milk, Cream, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Datem, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Tetrasodium Pyrophosphate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Citrate, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup Sugar Free (Water, Erythritol, Flavors Natural & Artificial, Cellulose Gum, Sucralose, Salt, Malic Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Preservative, Acesulfame Potassium, Caramel Color [Sulfite]))