What's Really in the Starbucks Chestnut Praline Latte

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Just in time for the polar vortex and holiday shopping insanity comes Starbucks’ latest beverage, the Chestnut Praline Latte. This deliciously named concoction blends espresso, caramelized chestnuts, steamed milk, praline bits, and whipped cream. It’s been five years since Starbucks debuted a new holiday drink, so this beverage has buzz, and it tastes like a frothy, slightly spicy shot of winter. But can one too many make you bust out of your stovepipes?

Here’s a nutritional cheat sheet. While a grande (16 ounces) made with two percent milk or soymilk is a little lower in calories than its Pumpkin Spice Latte cousin (330 calories versus 380), that’s still a sizeable chunk of your daily calorie load. The Chestnut Praline’s 13 grams of fat comes out to 20 percent of your total recommended daily fat allowance. Plus, with 39 grams of sugar, it’s almost like drinking a bottle of sweetened soda.

On the plus side, the milk supplies 40 percent of your daily calcium needs, and 12 grams of protein and 20 percent of your Vitamin A. (Want other ideas for healthy Starbucks drinks? See what 20 fit celebs order from Starbucks when they make a coffee run—their local baristas spilled their secrets!)

Still, how can you make this drink less of a liquid dessert? Shave 50 calories by ordering it with nonfat milk, and get it down to a reasonable 210 calories by going sans whipped cream. If you ask the barista for one pump of syrup rather than the usual two or three, you’ll skinny it up even more. The Chestnut Praline latte will never have the nutritional profile of green juice. But a few simple switches can at least make it less of a calorie and sugar bomb, so you won’t find yourself resolving to drop recently added pounds come New Year’s Day. 

By  Esther Crain