Are Those Rainbow-Colored Lattes Actually Healthy?



Call it a casualty of what will soon be known as the Inexplicable Unicorn Mania of 2017: Even our lattes are no longer safe. Much like there are now entire restaurants devoted to Millennial Pink, there are few things along the cultural axis that haven't been blanketed in rainbow and glitter—and that includes a Starbucks Frappuccino

But while such brightly colored drinks (or foods) might make for some solid Instagram fodder, their health ratings are often less than stellar. "While the Unicorn Frappuccino does contain spirulina to help give it the blue color, it also is full of harmful processed sugars (59 grams to be exact, way more than what you should have in a day, let alone one sitting), preservatives, and chemicals," notes Meryl Pritchard, nutrition expert and founder of Kore Kitchen. That's not to mention that the colorful aesthetic often comes courtesy of an array of artificial dyes.

The easy solution is just to keep an eye on ingredient labels, says Pritchard—but if you're up for it, you can also create your own decidedly healthier take on the trend at home. Better yet: When you're the barista, you have the opportunity to add in any nutrition-boosting ingredients as you see fit. 

"I am personally a fan of caffeine-free 'lattes,'" says Pritchard. "I use Sun Potion's adaptogenic and Chinese herbs, gynostemma or dandelion tea as the base, a fat like coconut oil or ghee, and if I use a sweetener, it's always honey. Sometimes I will also add marine collagen powder by Vital Proteins ($49), or coconut creamer by Laird Hamilton's new superfood company which will give it a little more foam. I add hot water and blend everything in my Vitamix and it feels like I'm drinking coffee but instead of getting a caffeine buzz and crash, you get a natural and sustained high for the whole day!"

As for the (natural) color you'd like to add to your DIY latte, there are a few options. Keep reading to learn how to give your drink a technicolor boost.