Is Starbucks the same as McDonald’s?


Starbucks and McDonalds are portrayed as very different, but are actually very much the same. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press

Starbucks and McDonalds are portrayed as very different, but are actually very much the same. Credit: Michael Morales/The Foothill Dragon Press

There are a total of 0 calories in a cup of coffee. Yet there are 430 calories in a 16 oz Starbucks “Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino.”  

People order Starbucks with the false impression that it is better than any fast food restaurant, because they present themselves on a higher end. And they order it with the even bigger misconception that they are at a coffee shop getting coffee, when they are really at a coffee shop ordering an ice cream shake.

These drinks (frappuccinos) are a treat that you should only get every once in a while. Yet, I still see people in the morning with some sort of Starbucks Frappuccino topped with whipped cream. This is a bad habit for those who get it for breakfast on a daily or every other day basis.

I see the blame put on large corporations like McDonald’s, for child and teen obesity. But Starbucks is a large corporation as well; there were a total of 10,787 Starbucks coffee shops in 2012. That number may not seem that big to some, but if you take the time to think of how many Starbucks there are in Ventura county, how many teens you see drinking these coffee flavored ice cream blends every morning, how many calories are in one of those sweet and sugary drinks, how many people carelessly order it, and how many unhealthy people there are, you can maybe make the assumption that Starbucks is not recognized for the calorific products that they serve.

McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants that are clearly unhealthy and disgusting are not the only places to blame for the obesity and the overweight problem with teens. Starbucks presents themselves as an organic, free-trade company, which I definitely respect. However, people go there to get big fancy drinks, and probably don’t consider them to be as unhealthy as they actually are, because they advertise free-trade and organic products, which gives some people the direct assumption, ‘If it’s organic and the sign has a picture of a green field, it must be healthy.’

I would assume that if I mentioned getting a McDonald’s Sundae for breakfast to a person who gets Frappuccinos on a daily basis, they would be appalled, since McDonald’s is commonly regarded as the most unhealthy thing you could eat.

The smallest size possible at Starbucks for the Java Chip Frappaccino has 330 calories and 46 grams of sugar. A Hot Caramel Sundae from McDonald’s is 340 calories with 43 grams of sugar. I was shocked when I realized how similar their nutrition facts were because I would instinctively guess that McDonald’s is incredibly more unhealthy than Starbucks, for multiple reasons, but a few being the way Starbucks advertises themselves as “healthy” and how McDonald’s is constantly criticized for “making children fat.”

Obviously there are choices at Starbucks that are just coffee, but the majority of teens who go in there aren’t ordering a hot cup of coffee, but a calorie packed ice cream/coffee blend, which they assume to be more healthy than it really is. Also, they aren’t getting the smallest size possible that is 330 calories, but the next biggest sizes that are 460 and 580 calories.

Frappuccinos and similar drinks are drinks that you should treat yourself to, not treat yourself to every single morning. When it comes down to ordering something, we need to take responsibility and actually look at the labels, not the sign telling you they are free-trade or organic.

Looking at Starbucks and McDonalds sweet-based drinks, you can see that they both are very similar, and don’t hold much nutritional value. The only difference being that the McDonalds sundae is a couple bucks cheaper. 

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One Response

  1. steve

    How about a grande decafe moca light frappacino with no whip….only 130 calories according to SBucks!


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