A 530 Calorie Drink That Is Everywhere You Look

July 17, 2012   37 Comments

Anyone else notice the ad campaign that happens as McDonald’s rolls out a new beverage or food item?

McDonalds Chocolate Chip Frappe Nutrition

There are billboards, TV ads, radio ads, and then comes the COUPON in your Sunday paper. I found my coupon for the McCafé Frappé Chocolate Chip in a copy of the New York Times.

I decided to check it out for Snack Girl and cut out my coupon. Of course, because I am Snack Girl, I looked up the nutrition facts before I went:

For 12 ounces = 530 calories, 24 g fat, 74 g carbohydrates, 66 g sugar, 7 g protein, 1 g fiber, 140 mg sodium, 15 Points+

Don’t get me started on the 630 calorie medium! Yikes!

There was a young woman with a coupon in front of me in line and I had this dilemma. Should I tell her how many calories are in the drink she was buying? How would I phrase it?

“Excuse me, miss, put the drink down. See my cape? I am Snack Girl and that drink is 530 calories!!!!”

Then I remembered that she hadn’t clicked on me, so I kept my big mouth shut.

When I first wrote about the Frappé, I was blown away by its 560 calorie label see: 560 Calories For Your Rapid Consumption From McDonald's. McDonald’s started McCafé to compete with Starbucks and the Frappé is the obvious competitor to the Starbucks Frappuccino. A 12 ounce (Tall) Cookie Crumble Frappuccino is a mere 310 calories at Starbucks.

I am actually recommending the 12 ounce Cookie Crumble Frappuccino as a healthier choice. You save 220 calories by choosing the same size drink at Starbucks.

While I am at it, a 12 ounce can of Coke is a better choice at just 140 calories. I'm sure I can come up with tons of suggestions that are still really unhealthy that are STILL healthier than the McD's Frappé.

We can all agree that this drink is a treat wherever we get it. If you like these kind of drinks, I have two truly healthier suggestions:

1. A Chocolate Shake With Only 116 Cals

2. An Iced Coffee Solution To The Liquid Calorie Problem

How do you deal with your frappucinno love?

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Actually the coke is 140. Sounds almost healthy now. >.< (Well, light. I don't think corn syrup, caramel color or phosphoric acid will ever sound healthy.)

on July 17, 2012

I love it when you bust food/drink like this. Would you consider looking at the Shakeology program? Is it worth the hype? Can't you get as much nutrition from a home make smoothie?

on July 17, 2012

@Karen - Thanks! I fixed the typo in the post. It is a bit sad.

on July 17, 2012

Thanks for the info.... After the last couple of years of dieting and exercise, I have not the slightest interest in even trying one, coupon or not!

on July 17, 2012

I received a coupon for a free one & threw it in the trash! 530 calories is wayyyyyy too much for a drink.

on July 17, 2012

Food should be priced according to how many calories it contains. What an eye opener that would be!

on July 17, 2012

O my goodness!Thanks so much for that info on the frappes.I would like to also let people know about the burgers and fries and bread haven't molded or rotted yet. A group my son is in has been doing an experiment since Jan 17 2012!

on July 17, 2012

I am so glad I am not a coffee lover. I am tea junkie, though. It sure seems like the world of tea hasn't been abused yet, unless you count the chai tea latte at Starbuck's which is my favorite beverage treat of all! I can get a grande for 310 calories or a tall for 260 and that's if i get 2% milk in it. On a separate note, I'm with @Denise Ryan - I'd love to hear your research on the Shakeology craze, too. I've tried it. The chocolate is just plain gross, but the tropical is not bad. Kinda gritty. Is the nutrition in it worth the price? Or can I get it in a multivitamin or other supplement to add to my homemade smoothie for a fraction of the price? I really don't think it's worth it but I'd love to hear what you find out if you're ready to do some homework for us!

on July 17, 2012

I would also like to know your take on Shakeology. I keep thinking that there is a cheaper way to do a homemade version.

on July 17, 2012

You also had me 24 g of fat. No way in my life style... ok once in a great while I celebrate with sweet potato fries but that's it.

on July 17, 2012

The sad truth is that this type of drink is being served at all restaurants.

I just saw this ad for Dunkin Donuts:

When I pass by Zaxby's, I see a huge sign that advertises a birthday cake milkshake. When I was at a meeting at Starbucks, I witnessed pre-teens ordering up high-calorie coffee drinks.

Welcome to The Main Street Diet ...

This works for me: Whenever I pass by these places, I say to myself: Poison. I'm not interested in digesting poison.

on July 17, 2012

My teeth hurt just thinking about these drinks. I have digestive problems anyway so drinking one of these wouldn't do much for that plus the sweet factor. If I get anything cold it's at Starbucks decaf with skim milk and fat free vanilla. That's about as sweet as I can go.

on July 17, 2012

Making a protein shake at home is a great alternative and you know exactly what's in it. Fresh fruit, whole grain, fiber, protein and they are delicious! You still have to carefully measure what you're putting in there and use this as a meal replacement vs a side or the calories can add up quickly. Favao protein is a good, clean protein source they offer 12 different recipes from 160 to 330 calories depending on milk/water, type of fruit, type of cereal/grain you are using.

on July 17, 2012

Caroll, I know the hamburgers aren't good for us. However, that test is not totally accurate when a burger is digested. The acid in our stomachs would help break it down. When you have it just sitting there, there is nothing to break it down. Also, we chew it and make the pieces smaller to digest. You're talking about it being whole just sitting with no other factors. In science terms, there are other variables that cause different results when we eat them.

on July 17, 2012


"This works for me: Whenever I pass by these places, I say to myself: Poison. I'm not interested in digesting poison."

I do the same exact thing when I'm flipping through ads, coupons, looking at fast-food/drink billboards, bagged/boxed/canned stuff in the grocery store, etc., but I use the word "garbage".

on July 17, 2012

@ Susan / Caroll But if you made some home made rolls and burgers and left them out or even in the fridge since Jan they would be growing - what are people putting in their bodies?

on July 17, 2012

I love Frappaccinos from Starbuck's. Thankfully, I don't live anywhere near one and if I find myself near one, I'm a cheapskate so I don't want to spend $4 on a drink. I consider them to be treats. I may search one out though if I had a coupon. However, I would never go to a McDonald's, coupon or not. I don't like what they stand for - subquality "food". Starbuck's is a coffee place and they sell coffee, makes sense. McDonald's sells junk food. No thank you.

on July 17, 2012

I have quite the Starbucks dilemma quite often. See, the way teenagers see it, when a Starbucks opens in a small boring town like ours, it's the ultimate hang out spot. So, very often, when I go there I try so, so hard to get something not as bad as a medium caramel frappuccino with 2% milk and 5 shots of coffee instead of can see that I've gotten this far too many times. Quite frankly, after drinking it I do feel sick. Recently I've been getting an iced tea black lemonade, but I'm afraid to even look up the nutrition info for that either. I wish Starbucks hadn't opened in my town, or it wasn't so walkably close. <3 you Snack-girl

on July 17, 2012

Unbelievable! I used to go every morning that I could to order a Large Caramel Frappe. I would seriously get mad if my morning wasn't going well enough for me to stop. I was very addicted to them. When I started PointsPlus I stopped them cold turkey! Once I finally got that out of my system I have not gotten another, not even for a snack. It is not worth sliding back down that slippery slope!

on July 17, 2012

Just wanted to respond to Denise above (re: Shakeology). Something you make at home (a shake or a smoothie) is always a better choice. The reason is because you can control what goes into it. If you're making a smoothie with real fruit and yogurt (and maybe some raw honey) you are getting a final product made without chemicals and ingredients made in a lab. Shakeology is very expensive. It's just always seemed like a scam or pyramid scheme to me (the way it is sold).

on July 17, 2012

Rachel (Bubbles): the lemonade and ice tea combo is not actually a bad choice compared to some of the other menu items at Starbucks. Here's what I found online: Tazo Black Shaken Iced Tea Lemonade (Grande): 130 calories.

on July 17, 2012

Yeah actually recently i've fallen in love with Starbucks' Caramel Frappe and drank it twice. then I went online to look for calorie content and it's whoopin 410 calories for a grande. T____________T but it was SO DAMNED GOOD *cries* then i ordered the light version in the Venti, not sure how many calories that is (it's only 130 calories for the grande) but it tasted a lot like ice and coffee just blended together, with a bit of caramel. *sigh* the richness was definitely gone.

but still i guess that'll satisfy my craving for days when i seriously just want that caramel frapp badly...*cries some more*

on July 17, 2012

OMG. I want to die, I had one! Now, I know one isn't going to kill me. But you know what kills me? McDonalds...they gave these as a GIFT to EVERY public teacher in America. Ugh. I feel duped. Oh PS -- great job teachers - enjoy heart disease and obesity.

on July 17, 2012

Thank the lord I dont care for coffee - I hear its very addictive & hard to break once started!

on July 17, 2012

I too use the protein powder(70cal) and 1 tablespoon of instant coffee in a blender of ice-cubes with 1 cup light almond milk(35cal) and 1 cup light soy milk.(70cal) It is my mid-morning snack and can drink it through-out the day. It has plenty of calcium and protien too. Total of 145 calories yummy! I am, or was a Starbucks groupie until I starting drinking this. sometimes you can can drizzle carmel on it for an extra treat.

on July 17, 2012

This was an eye opener, thanks, Snack girl!!

on July 17, 2012

If you opt out of the whipped cream ("no whip") you can shave off another 100 calories on the Starbucks (and probably the McD's) ones! (I still have them add the crumble topping though!)

on July 18, 2012

Oh yes, it is! I HATED it when pregnant but went right back afterwards. Sigh! I'm super slowly working on switching to tea. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph-- it could help me calm down! ;)

on July 18, 2012

I just used my free coupon for the cc frappe and it was really good. i've been watching my eating quite successfully since the fall but cut myself a break for this free treat. Won't buy another but it was good!

on July 18, 2012

Yes I agree...a mini treat a day keeps the returning fat away!

on July 18, 2012

I try to stay away from those drinks by drinking iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts with the different flavors. All of the flavors are only 10 calories. So a blueberry iced coffee is only 15 calories total. You can also get chocolate flavors if that's what you're craving.

on July 19, 2012

I loved this drink. I rarely drink my calories but this was worth it. No, you should not have a 600+ calorie drink every day, but it was a very nice treat.

on August 28, 2012

It tastes great though. I guess one frappe a week wouldn't be that bad for one's health, would it ?

on September 30, 2012

How do I deal with the Starbucks dilema? I make my own., using Starbucks Espresso or French Roast coffee, sugarfree peppermint mocha creamer (just a touch), sugarfree chocolate syrup and sugarfree dark chocolate pieces, NO whip...maybe it doesn't taste EXACTLY like Starbucks, but I think it tastes delish! Sometimes I add peppermint extract, since Starbucks did me wrong and quit selling sugarfree peppermint syrup. :-(. I get the frappe effect with strong coffee and to taste to my liking. Actually, the Starbucks version tastes too milky, unless I add at least 4 extra shots of coffee.....

on October 30, 2012

So, it's 2013 now and WAY past this threads expiration date, but I have to say it's sad that we as American's really have to look up our food choices BEFORE eating it. Yep, had that Large Mocha today and now I just feel sick about it.

on April 17, 2013

I am addicted to choc chip frappes and they actually sooth my stomach. Am I saving ANYTHING by leaving out the drizzle and whipped cream and the choc at the bottom? I shouldn't be drinking the calories and caffeine? Trying to keep it to 3x a week. I do not consume other junk foord or sugar or caffeine.

on March 19, 2014

yes that is great drink but 500 plus calories are a lot of intake for a single drink don't you think?

on September 7, 2017

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