Heart disease is the number one cause of death both in the U.S. and globally, accounting for approximately 16% of all worldwide deaths each year. While genetic factors and certain health conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity, can all contribute to your heart disease risk, your eating and drinking habits also play a significant role when it comes to your cardiovascular health. In fact, there's one particular drink experts say you should cut from your meal plan immediately if you want to keep your heart healthy in the long run.
"The worst drink for heart health are sweet Frappuccino drinks," says Heidi Moretti, RD, resident nutritional advisor to Sovereign Laboratories. (Related: The #1 Worst Starbucks Drink, According to an RD.)
"They are loaded with processed sugars, fats, and sometimes artificial ingredients, which cause inflammation throughout the body, including the heart and blood vessels. Frappuccinos also are loaded with calories, and devoid of metabolic nutrients, which cause many people to pack on pounds," Moretti adds.
So, just how bad are those sugary drinks from a nutritional perspective? A single venti Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino not only packs 590 calories, but it also contains 75 grams of sugar—more than twice the upper limit of what the American Heart Association recommends adults consume in a day.
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When it comes to your heart health, every gram of sugar counts. According to a 2014 investigation published in JAMA Internal Medicine, among a study pool of 31,147 adults surveyed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and NHANES III Linked Mortality cohort between 1988 and 2010, "The risk of CVD mortality increased exponentially with increasing usual percentage of calories from added sugar," the study's authors found. Individuals who consumed the greatest amount of added sugar had double the risk of death from cardiovascular disease when compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of added sugars.
It's not just those drinks' sugar content that can put your heart in harm's way—that same venti Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino also contains 17 grams of saturated fat (85% of your RDA), 22% of your daily cholesterol, and 16% of your daily sodium, all of which, if consumed in excess, can contribute to cardiovascular disease risk.
So, if you want to keep your heart healthy now and in the future, there's no time like the present to cut those sugary blended coffees from your regular routine. If you're looking for healthier choices at the beloved coffee chain, check out these 28 Starbucks Items Diet Experts Love, and for the latest healthy eating news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!