Dunkin’ and Starbucks Seasonal Drinks: Who’s the Healthiest?

Source:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamaskins/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamaskins/

In the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, even the slightest convenience is welcomed. Being able to pick a cup of coffee while out to give energy levels a lift is made even more inviting by seasonal drink offers from large chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. At the beginning of November, each began promoting seasonal beverages, with old classics and new offerings to draw in customers.

Navigating the best choice on a menu has become easier in recent years thanks to online nutrition data, but now it’s even easier when it comes to the following five seasonal beverages promoted by Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.

Click through to see how the five beverages stack up against each other, and which is the best option depending on if you’re concerned about fat, sugar, carb, or calorie intake. The information for all beverages came from nutritional data on the companies’ websites. The drinks were standardized to 20 ounces, and skim, or fat free milk, to make the comparisons.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pzul/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pzul/

1. Peppermint Mocha

In terms of the Peppermint Mocha, there is very little difference — except in the iron department. With all other factors basically dead even, Starbucks managed to get 25 percent of daily iron needs into its Peppermint Mocha, while Dunkin’ has 10 percent.

Starbucks: 360 calories, 3.5 grams of fat (2 grams saturated), 76 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 66 grams of sugar, 16 grams of protein, 45 percent calcium daily needs, and 25 percent of iron required per day.

Dunkin’ Donuts: 380 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, (1 gram saturated), 220 milligrams of sodium, 80 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 74 grams of sugar, 14 grams of protein, 45 percent daily calcium, and 10 percent of iron needs.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennnster/

2. New Kids on the Block

For some, the 100 calorie difference between the Gingerbread Latte (260 calories) and the Red Velvet Latte (360 calories) may be enough to sway their decision, but the Gingerbread Latte also has less sugar and fewer carbohydrates as well.

This season, Starbucks is offering a Gingerbread Latte: 260 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 48 grams of carbohydrates, no fiber, 46 grams of sugar, 15 grams of protein, 50 percent daily calcium need, and no iron.

Dunkin’ Donuts Red Velvet Latte: 360 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, no saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, no fiber, 68 grams of sugar, 16 grams of protein 60 percent of daily calcium, and 2 percent of daily iron.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ikhlasulamal/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ikhlasulamal/

3. Classics

Starbucks says it has been offering the Eggnog Latte for over 25 years, meaning there are a lot of people who seasonally consume this drink of 570 calories, 24 grams of fat (14 grams saturated fat), 69 grams of carbohydrates, no fiber, and 63 grams of sugar 21 grams of protein. There is no fiber in the drink, but it does provide 70 percent of calcium and 4 percent of iron daily intake needs.

If you aren’t too terribly attached to the Eggnog Latte, it may be time to switch to a different brand for a classic. The Dunkin’ Donuts White Chocolate Latte has 360 calories, 28 grams of sugar, and only 0.5 grams of fat. It still provides a fair amount of calcium, 60 percent of daily needs, and 2 percent of your needed iron. However, it has one extra gram of carbohydrates (70 grams total), and fewer grams of protein, 16 grams.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffwilcox/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffwilcox/

4. Pumpkin

There were only marginal differences in the pumpkin flavored lattes at the two chains. Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte came in at 20 fewer calories (330 compared to 350), had 0 grams of fat, compared to 0.5 at Dunkin’, 4  fewer grams of carbohydrates (64 grams total) and 2 more grams of protein (18 grams). Dunkin’ Donuts only edged out Starbucks in the sodium department by having 20 fewer milligrams, or 260 instead of 280. Each had 10 milligrams of cholesterol and no fiber.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/recrudescence/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/recrudescence/

5. Caramel

If you care concerned about the fat content of a drink, Starbucks is the hands down winner. The Caramel Brulée Latte has only 0.5 grams of fat while the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate has 14 grams. The latte also provides more calcium, packing 50 percent of your daily intake into its 20 ounces, while Dunkin’ provides 8 percent. The hot chocolate does contain 4 percent of daily iron needs, and the latte does not offer any iron.

Starbucks: Caramel Brulée Latte: 390 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 10 miligrams of cholesterol, 83 grams of carbohydrates, 63 grams of sugar, 15 grams of protein, 50 percent calcium, and no iron.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: 420 calories, 14 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 600 miligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 54 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 8 percent of needed calcium, and 4 percent daily required iron.

Investing Insights: Will J.C. Penney Continue to Be Vulnerable With Upcoming Earnings?