Starbucks Refreshers: The Facts

As many of you have probably already noticed, Starbucks has released a new beverage in their stores called the Starbucks Refresher.  It is a juice like concoction that contains green coffee bean extract, which is said to "re-energize and recharge" you with "natural energy". The barista from my local Starbucks mentioned that they are able to extract the caffeine from the green coffee bean into the extract, which is what gives it its energizing quality without the bitter coffee taste. This surprised me because Starbucks claims that a venti (24 fluid oz) of their refresher contains 60-85 mg of caffeine while their regularly brewed coffee of the same size contains a whopping 415 mg. This means I'd have to drink 5 times the amount of refresher to get the same caffeine fix as a regular coffee. In fact, the amount of caffeine in the refresher more closely falls in line with Starbucks decaffeinated coffee beverages, which contain roughly 30 mg of caffeine per 24 oz. So what is it that's so energizing about the new refresher beverage? Clearly it is lacking in the caffeine department.

There are indeed other ingredients that are found in green coffee bean extract, the main heavy hitter being a constituent called chlorogenic acid. After doing a few PubMed searches it is clear that chlorogenic acid may have many health benefits including aiding in weight loss and lowering blood pressure.  It doesn't, however, appear to have any direct effect as a stimulant that naturally boosts energy.  If it does have any effects on energy levels it hasn't been the focus of any scientific research.  This begs the question, why do Refreshers "naturally boost your energy"? It is still very unclear to me and seems like somewhat of a misleading statement. 

All energy boosting claims put aside, green coffee bean extract does in fact seem to possess positive health effects.  It is questionable if the amount found in a Starbucks Refresher is enough to reach any type of therapeutic dose.  If you are interested in using green coffee bean extract as a natural health product I recommend seeing a Naturopathic Doctor to determine if it is the right choice for your individual health goals.  Being supervised by a health care provider allows you to achieve the correct therapeutic dose from a supplemental form for the best possible results. It is unrealistic to think that consuming a daily Starbucks Refresher will boost your energy, make you lose weight or lower your blood pressure.  It is simply a well-marketed beverage that will only act to spike your blood sugar. 




Anonymous said...

Not to be crass or anything, but... I had this in Trenta with no ice. Didn't really consume (normal food) much that day. Later that night, I went to the bathroom and realized the Raspberry Refresher changed my stool colour to bright forest green.... Imagine my surprise!

lnovak said...

The energy is also supposed to come from the B vitamins, not just caffeine a la 5hour Energy. Not saying it's a healthy choice of beverage...

Kiersten said...

I lost a lot of weight in the summer and I was having these daily! I also went for runs most evening, but I really think that this helped me! I eat better in the summer than I do in the winter for the most part and have gained back a few pounds. I have been working out a lot indoors and trying to remember everything I did that helped me in the summer. I haven't had one of these in awhile as I am an avid green tea drinker, but I think I will start getting these again and see if it helps me shed a few more pounds! Giving it a try and it did seem like I had more energy then too!

Josh .T said...

All energy boosting claims put aside, green coffee bean extract does in fact seem to possess positive health effects

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