Around the nation, Americans flocked to Starbucks locations to try the newest drink, the Unicorn Frappuccino. The brightly-colored pink and blue beverage was available for a limited time from April 19 through April 23 at select stores around the country.
A statement by Starbucks read:
“Like its mythical namesake, the Unicorn Frappuccino blended crème comes with a bit of magic, starting as a purple beverage with swirls of blue and a first taste that is sweet and fruity. But give it a stir and its color changes to pink, and the flavor evolves to tangy and tart. The more swirl, the more the beverage’s color and flavors transform.”
Although it’s too early to tell, it may have been the most shared drink on social media of all time. From Snapchat to Instagram and Facebook, the pink and blue dusted whipped cream tempted friends and followers to head to their local Starbucks to try it. The problem was, many stores sold out on the first day.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said a new drink is coming soon in an interview with CNBC news. He called the now highly-anticipated drink as good as or maybe even better than the unicorn-themed concoction.
It wasn’t just reviews and pictures of the drink that made rounds on social media, but also snapshots of the nutritional content. Some claimed the drink even had more sugar than three or four snickers bars. The mood was split between health conscious consumers who disagreed with the idea of such a highly unhealthy drink and those who claimed it was fine to live a little and enjoy a treat every once in awhile.
The question remains though, is it really as bad as eating several candy bars in one sitting?
The nutritional information on Starbucks’s website said the medium, or grande size, of the Unicorn Frappuccino has 59 grams of sugar. According to the nutritional content listed on Snickers’ website, each candy bar has 27 grams of sugars. So, in truth, the limited-time Frappuccino had closer to two Snickers’ bars worth of sugar.
If you’re worried about your teeth, Dr. John Pappas, DDS, of Arcadia Dental Arts in Phoenix, Arizona, said that it’s not the sugar itself that is a problem but what comes after.
“Bacteria in the mouth feeds on sugar and when mixed creates acid that attacks the enamel of the teeth,” Pappas said. “The enamel protects the teeth from decay and as it erodes cavities can form and teeth can become more sensitive.”
Pappas said there’s nothing wrong with a treat every once in awhile.
“Everything in moderation,” Pappas said. “Rinsing the mouth out with water after a sugary treat is a good way to help neutralize the acid. Maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine, visiting your dentist for check-ups and limited sugary treats is the best way to keep your teeth in good shape.”
After the excitement wavered, many people began wondering if the drink was even Starbucks’ most sugar-filled offering. Live Science dug into the details and determined that the grande, or medium, size version of the Caffe Vanilla, Caramel, Java Chip, Cotton Candy Crème and the Pokemon GO Frappuccinos all have more sugar than the Unicorn did, some by almost 10 grams of sugar more.
As a reference, no more than 25 grams of sugar a day are recommended by the American Heart Association for women and 36 grams a day or less is recommended for men.