Greener BeeGreen LivingWhat is in that Starbucks Caramel Macchiato?

Before you take another sip of that Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, you might want to keep reading. While it may be tempting to assume that it contains only 3 ingredients: milk, coffee and caramel, the reality is that it contains much more than that. After all, when was the last time you saw caramel growing on trees or in fields? The beverage contains many different ingredients, most of which may sound like mumbo-jumbo, so I’ve tried to make sense of it all below.

If Starbucks’ darling of autumn is more your speed, check out my blog The Ugly Truth about Pumpkin Spice Latte, also known as the PSL.

After years of endless searching for Starbucks ingredient information, the company is finally showing some transparency about what you’re actually ingesting when you drink their beverages. At first glance, the ingredients may seem harmless enough but keep reading to learn more about the things you’re putting into your body. According to Starbucks’ own website, the ingredients include:


Despite consumer pressure for Starbucks to switch to organic milk, the company has refused to do so, which means that the milk in your favorite beverage likely contains bovine growth hormones, antibiotics and rBST, which is a genetically-modified version of the hormone bovine somatotropin developed by Monsanto using genetically-engineered E. coli bacteria—yep, the ones that cause food poisoning.

Related: 11 Reasons to Stop Eating Dairy

Brewed Espresso

Coffee beans and water, which although it is unlikely to be purified, is probably not the worst part of the beverage, unless Starbucks is located in places where the water has been destroyed by corporate greed, such as Flint, Michigan.

Vanilla Syrup

Vanilla syrup, which contains sugar, water, natural flavors, potassium sorbate and citric acid)—sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong. Natural flavors can contain a wide variety of unwanted ingredients, such as:  dried beaver’s sac, sheepskin excretions or insect excretions, petroleum-based of solvents, and genetically-modified dairy products, corn, soy or other GMO ingredients. Potassium sorbate has been found in human studies to damage genetic material, which in turn are linked to many diseases.

Related: What Exactly are “Natural Flavors” in Candy?

Caramel Sauce

Aka (sugar, corn syrup, butter (cream/milk, salt), water, heavy cream, nonfat dry milk, natural flavors, salt, mono diglycerides, soy lecithin, sulfites). Corn syrup sounds harmless but it isn’t. Not only is it usually extracted from genetically-modified corn, it has been linked to with diabetes, to fatty liver disease, obesity, reproductive disorders and cancer. Mono and diglycerides are fats that are added to beverages or liquids to act as stabilizers. The names are short for: diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides (DATEM) and are typically derived from animal fat so if you’re vegetarian, you may still be ingesting animal products when you order that Caramel Macchiato. Soy lecithin is usually genetically-modified. Sulfites have long been known to trigger severe asthma attacks, that’s why they were banned from use in many salad bars. But, there is more: some people are deficient in an enzyme to detoxify sulfites—a deficiency that can be fatal.

That Caramel Macchiato isn’t sounding quite as comforting or nearly as delicious, is it? And, it certainly doesn’t sound like something that fits into a healthy lifestyle.

The Ugly Truth about Pumpkin Spice Latte
What’s in Your Starbucks Gingerbread Latte?
What’s in that Starbucks Eggnog Latte?


Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include:  60 Seconds to Slim:  Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast.

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