The Unicorn Smoothie: A healthy, magical treat


by Baylor Scott & White Health

Apr 28, 2017

So, let’s talk about this new Unicorn Frappuccino at Starbucks®. It’s quite the craze! You’ve probably seen it in all its pink and sprinkled glory all over Facebook and social media channels.

I haven’t tried this magical drink, but at first glance, it doesn’t scream “healthy.” They describe it as “color and flavor changing”, which to me reads: sugar and more sugar.

The Good Sugars vs. the Bad Sugars

Now let’s talk about good sugars and not-so-magical sugars. If we take the Unicorn Frappuccino and compare it to a smoothie loaded with good sugars, a.k.a Unicorn Smoothie, you might notice that the grams of sugar look the same (75 grams vs. 50 grams). But, we all know that every horse with a horn isn’t actually a unicorn.

What’s the difference between the sugars? Well, sugar occurring naturally in whole foods comes with the nutrients of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, protein and fiber. When any type of sugar is added to food, you get the calories and blood sugar spike without the nutrients — and a sugar crash to follow.

“Recognizing added sugars is our first line of defense,” said Ashley Kadlubar, RD, a registered and licensed dietitian on the medical staff at the Baylor Weight Loss Surgery Center at Grapevine.

“The best way to find added sugar is by being ingredient savvy because simply looking at the nutritional labels aren’t enough.” — Ashley Kadlubar

“Check out the ingredients, which are listed by weight,” Kadlubar said. “If sugar is in the top few ingredients listed, then you are holding a product that is likely high in added sugar. Be sure to also look for cane juice, cane syrup, corn sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup), fruit nectar’s or juices, molasses, malt syrups and honey.”

Unfortunately, the Unicorn Frappuccino is packed with added sugar. The ingredient list includes fruit juice concentrate (sugar) and cream (fat), which are unhealthy sugar additives.

The Superfood Unicorn Smoothie

If you’re still wanting to jump over rainbows after reading this post, then try this nutrient-packed Unicorn Smoothie instead — inspired by the recipe from food blogger, The Chic Life.

Think about natural ways to get vibrant colors in your drink, such as these healthy ingredients used in this recipe:

• Beets
• Turmeric
• Spirulina
• Greek yogurt with blue matcha
• Pitaya or acai

And if you’re really in the mood to try the ‘real’ Unicorn Frappucino, ask for a sample from your local Starbucks barista. While they may have a meltdown, they will make you one and you can get a taste in moderation.

Eat all the colors of the rainbow, friends — just not a lot of the artificial added sugary kinds.

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