Pretty much any time Starbucks drops a new drink, the Internet collectively freaks out. Last week, a secret menu ‘Keto White Drink’ got everyone’s attention. The drink — made with unsweetened Peach Citrus White Tea, heavy cream, and sugar-free vanilla syrup — seemed to be keto friendly … but we still heard some rumblings over whether it really measured up.
Bulletproof, the company known for its full-fat, buttery coffee recipes, raised questions over whether the drink qualifies as keto-friendly. They noted that Starbucks’ sugar-free syrup contains sucralose, a sugar substitute you probably know as Splenda. Some research shows that these substitutes can raise blood sugar levels by altering your gut bacteria, which would not support ketosis (the diet cuts back on carbs and sugar). We reached out to Jaclyn London, Good Housekeeping Institute’s nutrition director and a registered dietician, to clear things up.
“The idea that sucralose impacts blood sugar in any substantial way is completely false. Both sucralose and stevia are considered non-nutritive sweeteners, meaning that they do not contain calories from carbohydrates and therefore won’t impact glycemic response when consumed,” Jaclyn said.
The research referred to is based on animal testing, she explained, and applies to amounts higher than what most people would actually consume. However, that’s not to say that the drink is completely in the clear — nor is the diet (Jillian Michaels isn’t sold on it either).
“Ultimately, I’d be more concerned about the long-term effects of a keto diet on your gut microbiome than I’d be about the sucralose of this one Starbucks drink, specifically,” she points out. “Bottom line: This sounds delicious, but drink it for its flavor — not for its perceived health or weight-loss promoting ‘benefits’.”
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