Which Apple Treat is a Rotten Choice for Your Waistline?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This time of year, everyone has apples on the brain. These crisp and juicy gems taste especially sweet right now, whether raw, baked, slathered in peanut butter… or even drenched in caramel. Caramel apples are as ubiquitous to fall as the changing leaves, and companies have capitalized on their popularity by injecting that sweet-tart flavor into everything from candy to hot drinks. Take Starbucks' Caramel Apple Spice drink, which is made with fresh apple juice, cinnamon syrup, and a caramel drizzle. It certainly sounds as delicious as a real caramel apple, but how do these two treats compare nutritionally? Which is the slimmer autumn pick: A grande Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice drink (with no whipped cream), or a classic caramel apple with nuts?
The Winner: Caramel Apple with Nuts!
One gooey caramel apple with nuts will set you back 280 calories, 13 grams of fat (mostly from the nuts), and 24 grams of sugar. A grande Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice also contains 280 calories. Though the drink contains 0 grams of fat without the whipped cream, it packs a whopping 65 grams of sugar. That's over 16 teaspoons of sugar! The caramel apple with nuts also contains fiber from the apple (4 grams) and protein from the nuts (6 grams), while the drink has 0 grams of both protein and fiber. If you must satisfy your sweet tooth with a caramel apple, pick a small one with minimal toppings. You could also cut it in half to save part of it for later, or just have one or two slices and share the rest of it with friends. When indulging in a caramel apple drink, choose the smallest size, and ask if there are sugar-free syrups available.
What's your favorite way to enjoy apples?


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KHALIA2 6/4/2019
Thanks! Report
KHALIA2 3/24/2019
Great info! I love caramel apples. Report
Fresh or dried slices Report
ALEXTHEHUN 12/25/2018
Very good to know. Report
MNABOY 11/17/2018
Thanks? Report
CHERRIET 9/14/2018
sliced, dipped in peanut butter! Report
Don’t drink tea or coffee, so my apples are natural or unsweetened. Report
1SUZIQ11 7/30/2018
I love eating fresh apples....just apples. Nothing on them..just the apple. And since starting to watch my calories, I've realized long ago that I will never again drink my calories. I'd rather chew them. lol Report
-POOKIE- 7/24/2018
Great. Report
XREPHA 7/22/2018
I love to slice them, sprinkle with cinnamon and microwave. Yum! A wonderfully delicious, warm, quick treat. Report
This info was shocking! Thank you! Report
Sounds good to me. Report
Great info! Thank you! Report
I enjoy an apple a day! Report
Absolutely great Report
makes sense Report
Apples are great snacks. Thanks for the advice. Report
Great information Report
I like to slice an apple in thin slices, spread out on a plate and sprinkle with cinnamon. Yum! Report
I always look forward to fall when there is an abundance of apples. Once in a great while I will treat myself to some low fat caramel sauce. Report
I love apples but don't eat them very often. Report
I don'[t really like apples, but I do like apple pie, made at home from scratch with fresh apples, not canned. Report
Wow! Never thought that it had so many calories. I'll have to find another treat when I go to the carnival... Report
I dehydrate my apples with a little cinnamon. Always satisfies my "sweets" cravings! Report
I always amazed at the people who are so indignant about something in an article. THEY never eat caramel apples; THEY never visit Starbucks, so how does Spark People have the NERVE to write an article along these lines. Give it a break, gripers. Report
Apple favorites are either just a sliced apple with natural peanut butter or roasted apples. I discovered the roasted apples when I had dental work and couldn't chew but had apples going bad. Slice or chop, sprinkle with a touch of cinnamin, make a foil pouch with a little water and bake. Report
Seriously. Who eats this stuff? I'm with DOKEYOKEY: the headline was somewhat misleading. The caramel apple would be considered an 'apple treat' but a Starbucks drink? Report
The caramel apple wins, really?! WOW!! Surprising, and good to know. I knew Starbucks had a lot of hidden calories, but this is just a shocker. Report
Apples are my favorite healthy snack. Love 'em! Report
My favorite treat with apples is to slice them small and add them to non fat plain greek yogurt, and then I add some sugar free carmel syrup that you might have for your hot drinks. A smidge of pumpkin spice mix added makes it taste so good. Report
I love my apples just plain or with cinnamon. Also like to slice thinly and put on a peanut butter toast. I prefer hard, crisp apples. Not a fan of the softer varieties like Macs. As I grow older I am also finding that I like the flavor of cooked apples and the spices usually associated with them as found in apple pie(without the crust) and apple crumble. I never used to like these types of deserts before. Report
Apples are great! They help curb my sweet tooth. This time of year get a crunchy apple with a little caramel and nuts. You feel like you're being guilty, but can still stay in your calorie range.
Apples have always been my favorite fruit, and I usually eat one every day. Plain. But when fall hits, caramel apples with nuts rule! Each fall, I treat myself to one or two from a local candy store. Report
I like to cut an apple into slices and drizzle with just a little carmel topping. I too thought this article may say which apples have higher sugar or which are better for you. Either way I eat alot of apples and love them. I would never eat one coated in caramel and nuts. I was shocked to see how much sugar was in one of those drinks! Thanks for the great info on that!
I just like plain apples as is with an ounce of good extra sharp cheddar cheese. My favorite variety of apple is Cortland. Report
I found this article very helpful. I love that drink--NO MORE!!! Report
I like fresh apples the best. If I'm having a caramel apple, I want it WITHOUT the nuts! Report
The dietary hit for caramel apples depends entirely on the brand and how big the apples are (that determines the area of the coating), how thick the coating is and the recipe used to make it. This article must refer to huge ones. Tastee caramel apples with peanuts are only 160 calories plus 16 grams sugar (that includes the apple), 4 grams fiber, 5 grams fat, 3 grams protein (total carbohydrate is 26grams = fiber plus sugars plus other types if carbs). I don't see that as a big problem, except for my pesky dairy allergy... which I have been known to overlook! The amount of caramel isn't huge, so I tell myself.

It also helps that the caramel apples are available in the local store only briefly, so I only get at most one three-pack per year. Usually I eat apples with peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, or almond butter. Sometimes I add some sunflower seeds. Sliced apples are also good with lots of cinnamon, with or without any peanut, nut, or seed butter. Report
I also thought this article would tell me which apples to choose for lower sugar count. The title was a bit misleading. Since I don't drink coffee. . . and I prefer chocolate. . . but I do love nuts. . ., article not very helpful. Report
wow just give an apple and cinnamon...I do not need the fat or sugar with that extra crap. Report
wow just give an apple and cinnamon...I do not need the fat or sugar with that extra crap. Report
I am all for a little sample. Usually it is just enough satisfy the desire. If I think I won't be able to stop then I just dont take that first bite. Also drinking a large glass of ice water first helps in not wanting much. I like apples just plain most times, and only tart ones. Sometimes a dip or two of peanut butter changes is up a bit :) Report
One thing I was reading in Jorge Cruise's book, The Belly Fat Cure....from Dr. Weil, that sugar is responsible for so many diseases in our society. 65 grams....why not kill yourself NOW? Why wait to develope hi cholesterol, hi blood pressure, diabetes, etc.!!!! Report
Same with me on the switch title. I don't eat either the caramel apples or visit Starbucks for anything. I was hoping to compare heirloom apples with the newer hybrids and seeing what the difference is. Report
Um, okay. I was expecting an article comparing actual apple varieties, one to another. Not an article comparing (ahem) apples to oranges, so to speak.

I love the idea of hollowing out an apple, sprinkling cinnamon inside, and then recapping it and baking it. Yum! Report
Thanks for the reminder Dunkerson! Good idea when one wants a warm healthy treat. Report
If you don't eat or drink these things anyway, good for you. (I don't, either.) But the reality is that many people do like foods like this, especially those who are new to eating healthfully, and others who simply want to treat themselves to junky little things they enjoy. However silly or pointless these comparison blogs may seem to you, they are not -harming- you, while on the other hand, assimilating new and practical food advice is very -helpful- to others. There are plenty of other entries that address more complex, nuanced, and "advanced" topics, so read those instead if you dislike this series. Report
I too was looking forward to telling you my favourire, this was a gift of spark points and a disappointing read.

Tell us something we do not know next time please. Pat in Maine. Report
I have never really had apple with caramel nor am I a consistent "Starbucks" visitor; I guess I should try these, although, I do not want to waste my calories and stuff like this except for a treat Report
A simple favorite and quick to make is Baked Apples. I just hollow out the center of an apple, sprinkle some cinnamon in the center, put the "cap" on, add a little water in a pyrex dish and bake until done. You're still getting a full apple with no added calories and still gleaning the fibre.