When you’ve got an early start and a packed morning, it’s easy to drop by Starbucks to pick up your morning java and a breakfast to go with it. But before you stop and stare at the goodies packed behind the glass case, healthy eating advocates say you may be better off grabbing your coffee and giving the breakfasts a hard pass, for a variety of reasons.
As Eater points out, the quality of hot items at Starbucks is subpar, because its outlets don’t have the kitchens to support any kind of meal prep. As a result, many Starbuck’s foods — including breakfast — are shipped (frozen) to the outlet you love. Hot and savory items are heated in a speed oven called a TurboChef, which combines microwave and convection technologies (via Barista Brat — who isn’t a fan). So, while your breakfast sandwich or pastry might look and smell amazing, it’s basically a frozen, reconstituted meal that’s been heated up in a fancy machine.
Starbucks breakfasts have questionable nutritional value
Their breakfast pastries might look tempting, but Starbucks pastries are full of sugar. A slice of coffee cake contains 21 grams of sugar, or roughly 4 teaspoons. Even if you pick bakery items without the word “cake” in them, you’re in for a shock — a blueberry muffin and pumpkin bread have 33 and 39 grams of sugar respectively — or around 8 and 10 teaspoons. In case you were wondering, the USDA has set the daily maximum recommended dose of sugar at 12 teaspoons (about 50 grams of sugar), per SFGate.
The breakfast sandwiches aren’t much healthier, but for a different reason. A Southwest Veggie Wrap has 1340 milligrams of sodium while a Bacon, Gouda, and Egg sandwich has 700 milligrams. In fact, many Starbucks breakfast sandwiches appear to pack hefty amounts of sodium, per Eat This, Not That. And if you think a cheese, onion, and garlic bagel is any better, that packs 530 milligrams of sodium. Given that American Heart Association has set the ideal sodium limit at 1,500 milligrams a day, a single sandwich doesn’t leave you with much room to maneuver.
You might say convenience has its trade-offs, and we’d have to agree with you on that. But given the cost to your health, it may be best to think twice before you make Starbucks’ breakfast a daily habit.