Well Being

Is Starbucks’ ‘Natural’ Refreshers™ Energy Drink Healthier Than Red Bull?

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starbucks refreshers energy drinksLast I checked, Starbucks wasn't exactly failing at their goal of caffeinating millions. But if a triple grande mocha frappucino wasn't enough to get your buzz on, they're now serving their own energy drink: Starbucks Refreshers™. The press release (spotted over at Eater) makes the drinks sound somewhat healthy, emphasizing that they're made with fruit juice and green coffee extract—which, apparently, has formerly been unavailable to the masses. But even if the branding makes it seem all healthy, I have to wonder: Are they really making an energy drink that's healthier than Red Bull?

The press release sure makes it sound like a good option:

The introduction of the Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages brand platform is an evolution of the coffee market using a new breakthrough coffee experience using green coffee extract, resulting in thirst-quenching, delicious, low calorie refreshment with a boost of natural energy from caffeine and fruit juice. Unlike the traditional process, the green coffee extract used in Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages is unroasted – resulting in a beverage with a mild and fresh flavor while still retaining naturally occurring caffeine. Made with green coffee extract from 100% arabica beans, customers will be able to experience Starbucks Refreshers™ beverages in multiple formats, making it easy to re-energize wherever they are.

…but “natural” as it may be, fruit juice still equals sugar, and caffeine still equals, well, caffeine.

Nutrition facts aren't available for Refreshers yet, but the press release announced that they contain just 60 calories per 12-ounce can. Red Bull definitely hits harder in the calorie department, at 115 calories and 26 grams of sugar per 8.3-ounce can. But that doesn't mean you should rush to Starbucks for energy drinks; without nutrition facts or ingredients lists to go on, we don't know what other additives or chemicals might be in the cans.

If you really want a good energy boost, there are plenty of foods an exercise to help you do that naturally. But something that's carbonated and comes in a can isn't a great bet if you're trying to stick with “natural” or “healthy” options.