Is Starbucks’ New Cloud Macchiato Healthy? A Nutritionist Weighs In
Move over, Frappuccinos. There’s a new trendy Starbucks beverage in town, and it comes with the express endorsement of Ariana Grande: the Iced Cloud Macchiato.
The chain just added the new espresso drink in two flavors — caramel and cinnamon — to its permanent menu, and the cloud part of the name is no joke. Each drink features a whipped, cold foam inspired by leche merengada (or “meringue milk”) used in Spanish cafés, Starbucks announced in a press release. The name also coincides with one of Grande’s trademark emojis, the cloud.
But is this fluffy, silky sip a sugar bomb just like some of the other flavored Frappuccinos on the menu? “This is still a sugary beverage,” says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. “The first few ingredients are still sugar aliases — including vanilla syrup and caramel sauce.”
Besides the syrup and sauce, the Iced Caramel Cloud Macchiato also contains ice, milk, brewed espresso, and “cloud powder,” a mixture of sugar, arabic egg white powder, and other ingredients. The result is a fluffy cloud-like topping that then gets drizzled with the sugary vanilla and caramel concoctions.
A grande made with 2% milk contains 180 calories, 5 grams of protein, and a whopping 27 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 25 grams of added sweeteners per day. The soy version — recommended by Ariana herself — contains even more sugar due to the vanilla soy milk, and it still contains the egg powder so it’s not vegan, FYI.
If you still want to try this magical-sounding “cloud powder,” London recommends ordering a traditional unsweetened latte, cappuccino, or even standard cup of coffee and asking for it on top. You’ll cut back on added sugar while keeping the protein content high. Win-win!