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Say what you want about commercialization and corporate America, but I’ve tried a lot of iced coffee drinks and none of them compare to Starbucks. Here’s why:

1. Minimal ingredients – Brewed Starbucks coffee, reduced-fat milk, sugar, cocoa, pectin, ascorbic acid. The final ingredient is Vitamin C. Pectin is a fiber found in plants, which actually has numerous health benefits.

2. No carrageenan – While some studies show that this food thickener can be safely digested with no issues, other studies point to tumor-growths in rats, as well as other possible side effects. While there is no conclusive answer, for someone like me who drinks 3 of these a day, I feel better not having it in my drink.

3. A surprising source of protein and calcium – With 6g of protein and 20% of the recommended daily value of calcium, Starbucks has a few added nutrients to go with the caffeine buzz.

4. Fewer problems with bloating – I’ve tried the whole dairy-free thing to prevent intestinal problems and reduce bloating, but dairy-free iced coffee alternatives provide a more questionable variety of ingredients and actually make me bloat worse. This may not be true of everyone, but my body has no complaints even with the dairy in these Fraps.

All in all, my Starbucks habit may not be the cheapest or lowest-calorie option available, but considering the ingredients and even nutritional benefits, I am perfectly happy staying a content and caffeinated patron.

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