There are many Starbucks drink options that are low carb and sugar free, perfect for when you’re traveling or on the road. In this guide, I list some examples of low carb Starbucks drinks as well as how to customize and order your favorite drink.
I generally consider a low carb drink to have 5 grams or fewer of net carbs (net carbs = total carbs – fiber – sugar alcohols), but this will vary based on your daily net carb allowance.
Examples of low carb drinks at starbucks
There are many different low carb drinks that you can get at Starbucks with the right substitutions. Here are some examples to get you started with ideas:
- Iced Coffee with Milk: brewed coffee with milk and served over ice
- Ordering: Ask for unsweetened so they don’t add the classic syrup, and also ask for almond milk instead of the standard 2% milk
- Nutrition: 15 Calories and 1g Net Carbs for 12oz Tall [more nutrition info]
- Iced Caffè Latte: brewed espresso with milk and served over ice
- Ordering: Ask for almond milk instead of the standard 2% milk
- Nutrition: 50 Calories and 4g Net Carbs for 12oz Tall [more nutrition info]
- Flat White: brewed espresso with steamed milk
- Ordering: Ask for almond milk instead of the standard whole milk
- Nutrition: 70 Calories and 6g Net Carbs for 12oz Tall [more nutrition info]
- Peach Citrus White Tea: teavana iced white tea with peach flavors
- Ordering: Ask for an unsweetened version so they don’t add the standard liquid cane sugar
- Nutrition: 0 Calories and 0g Net Carbs for 12oz Tall [more nutrition info]
- Caffè Misto: a one-to-one mix of brewed coffee and steamed milk
- Ordering: Ask for almond milk instead of the standard 2% milk
- Nutrition: 40 Calories and 2g Net Carbs for 12oz Tall [more nutrition info]
There are a ton of options and the examples above only scrape the surface of what you can order. Keep reading to learn how to customize your favorite drink to make it lower in carbs.
How to order a low carb drink at starbucks
(1) Pick a type of drink
The first step is to decide which type of drink you want. Here are your usual options at Starbucks:
- Espresso drinks, including lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, and their iced counterparts
- Freshly brewed coffee, including blonde roast, pike place roast, featured dark roast, and caffè misto
- Cold brew and iced coffee
Whichever drink you choose, you can also ask for a decaf version at Starbucks.
Coffee by itself has little to no carbs. It’s the added cream and sweeteners that are responsible for the majority of carbohydrates in a coffee drink. So for most drinks, you should be able to customize it to reduce carbs.
Having said that, there are some drinks you should not order at Starbucks due to their high carb content, such as:
- Frappuccinos: These blended beverages are made with a sugary frappuccino syrup base, so even if you substituted with a low carb milk and flavor/sweetener, they will still have a lot of carbs due to the frappuccino base they use.
- Refreshers: All of their refresher flavors, including the Pink Drink and Violet Drink, are high in carbs because they use a refresher base that is mainly water and sugar. None of them can be modified to be low carb.
- Tea Lattes: Most of the tea lattes include added sugar of some kind, so I would generally avoid them. For example, the Matcha Green Tea Latte uses a matcha tea blend that is mainly sugar, and the Chai Latte uses a chai tea concentrate that includes sugar and honey. Other tea lattes like the London Fog can be more easily modified to be low carb because the flavor infusion is separate from the sweetener; for the London fog, ask for almond milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup instead of regular milk and syrup.
(2) Substitute with a low carb milk
Whole milk (11.7g net carbs per cup) and skim milk (12.2g net carbs per cup) are not recommended because they have a fair amount of carbs. Instead, use either of these:
- almond milk (1.5g net carbs per cup)
- heavy whipping cream (6.5g net carbs per cup)
I recommend almond milk because it has very few carbs, although heavy cream is a good option if you only plan to add 1 or 2 tablespoons to your coffee. People are often surprised to hear that heavy cream has carbs, and you can learn more about it here. Those of you with allergies will have fewer options; almond milk is better for anyone who is dairy-free, and heavy whipping cream is better for those with nut allergies.
I don’t recommend half-and-half, which has 11.5g net carbs per cup — that’s more than heavy whipping cream. I also don’t recommend coconut milk or soy milk, as almond milk has significantly fewer carbs in comparison.
Note that the larger the drink size you order, the more milk and thus carbs it will have. I usually order a Tall (12 fl. oz.) or Grande (16 fl. oz.), and avoid the Venti.
(3) Substitute with a low carb syrup
This usually means substituting with a sugar free or “skinny” syrup, which are made with sucralose and have essentially no nutritional value (no calories or carbs) except for the cocoa powder in the skinny mocha sauce. Here are your options at Starbucks:
- Sugar free vanilla syrup
- Ingredients: Water, Natural Flavor, Maltodextrin, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Sucralose, Potassium Sorbate
- Sugar free cinnamon dolce syrup
- Ingredients: Water, Natural Flavor, Xanthan Gum, Sucralose, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid
- Skinny mocha sauce
- Ingredients: Water, Cocoa Powder Processed With Alkali, Natural Flavors, Arabic Gum, Sucralose, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Salt
The sugar free vanilla and cinnamon dolce syrups are great for adding sweetness and flavor to espresso drinks, like a skinny latte or iced skinny cinnamon dolce latte. I’ve also added the sugar free vanilla syrup to an otherwise unsweetened peach citrus white tea with a splash of heavy whipping cream. The skinny mocha sauce is useful for ordering a skinny mocha or substituting in hot chocolate (which is typically made with regular mocha sauce). I recommend asking for 2 to 4 pumps of these syrups, depending on your drink size.
I’ve asked for these sugar free syrups at different Starbucks locations across the US and they were always available, but your local availability may differ, especially if it’s in another country.
(4) Calculate the nutrition for your drink
After customizing your drink options, the next step is to calculate its nutrition information:
- United States: You can find nutrition information online using their drink explorer. Refine your search using the filter options on the left hand side to select or deselect different types of drinks. A table will be populated on the right hand side, and it’ll include full nutrition information. You’ll also have options to select drink size, milk type, and with or without whipped cream. The downside is that this only covers some substitutions and may not include your exact drink.
- United Kingdom: Check out their nutrition page, and scroll down to the section called Beverage Nutritional Information. There are links to download PDFs of beverage nutrition information as well as beverage ingredients.
Another way to calculate nutrition information (as well as a handy way to remember your favorite drink options) is to use the Starbucks app. Download it and under the “Order” section, you can add customized drinks and see their nutritional makeup. Add drinks to your Favorites section, which is very convenient for remembering what to order.
Remember that you should be looking at net carbs not total carbs. To calculate net carbs, take the total carbs and subtract fiber and sugar alcohols. For example, a drink with 5g total carbs and 1g fiber means that it has 4g net carbs.