Why Howard Schultz Has A Sugar Problem

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Written by Dana Sanchez

All eyes are on former Starbucks CEO and presidential hopeful Howard Schultz, who gave us a glimpse Wednesday into how he would “refine and amend” Obamacare so more Americans can afford to buy health insurance.


Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 08: Marlon Nichols Jamarlin talks with Marlon Nichols, co-founder of Cross Culture Ventures, about the culturally-themed fund he started with Troy Carter.

They’re going to need it more than ever if they consume too many of the arguably more-addictive-than-crack beverages he’s been peddling with spectacular success for the last few decades.

During an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Schultz said he would force the pharmaceutical industry to negotiate drug prices with the federal government if he became president.

For almost 25 years, Schultz presided over Starbucks as CEO and executive chairman. He didn’t found the company, which is famous for its irresistibly sweet and creamy coffee drinks and quick sugar fixes. He begged for a job there in 1982 when he was 29 years old. How he ran the company tells us how he might run America, CNN reported.

Schultz got the job and later bought six Starbucks stores, growing them to 28,000 stores today in 77 countries. Investors have received more than 18,000-percent returns including dividends since the company went public in 1992. When Schultz said he was stepping down in 2018 (he’s chairman emeritus) Starbucks had a market value of around $78 billion.

Anyone who’s ever tasted sugar knows it makes you just want more.

Howard Schultz
Schultz speaks at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle/ Trump speaks during a meeting with Hispanic pastors in the White House in Washington Jan. 25, 2019. (AP Photos)

“Consuming sugar produces effects similar to that of cocaine, altering mood, possibly through its ability to induce reward and pleasure, leading to the seeking out of sugar,” according to a review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The authors said sugar, like cocaine and opium, is refined from plants to yield pure white crystals – a process they say “significantly adds to its addictive properties.”

Studies with rodents show that they prefer sweetness over cocaine, and that mice can experience sugar withdrawal.

“The biggest issue with @HowardSchultz is going to be diabetes, big sugar, and obesity,” digital media entrepreneur Jamarlin Martin said in a Twitter post. “The contribution to deaths and addiction among kids will be an issue. I’m not saying he is the fake progressive drug dealer but will be an issue.”

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Liz Adams of Manchester, England, blamed her Starbucks latte for almost sending her into a diabetic coma in 2017 thanks to the 18 grams of sugar it contained.

That’s 20 percent of an adult woman’s daily sugar allowance and about the same as a half can of Coca-Cola, Adams said. “What confuses me is milk has carbs, but that doesn’t explain how it could have so much sugar.”

A Starbucks Europe spokesman said Starbucks lattes are made with two shots of espresso and semi-skimmed milk, which contains naturally-occurring lactose. No sugar is added to a standard latte.

“It should be clearly labeled because 18 grams is a lot of sugar,” Adams said.

In 2018, a Florida man got a sugar-related warning on his Starbucks grande white mocha label, but he didn’t appreciate it. Instead of the customer’s name, the words “Diabetes here I come” were written.

The customer was interviewed anonymously by Action News Jax, Mashable reported.

The label was painful because it hit a little too close to home. The man said his two sisters have Type 1 diabetes. “That first word just automatically brought the picture of both sisters in my head, and I was taken aback,” the man said. “Just the struggles they went through and all the doctor appointments they had.”

Thirty million Americans — one in seven — have diabetes, and many don’t know they have the blood sugar disease, CBS reported.

It’s more common among Black people (18 percent) and Hispanics (20 percent) than the white population (12 percent).

While treatment for diabetes is available, “sometimes prevention is the best treatment,” said Mark Eberhardt, an epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.


About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on Moguldom.com for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.