Pumpkin Spice Latte – Good or Bad? The Truth about the PSL!

Pumpkin Spice Latte – Good or Bad? The Truth about the PSL!

When the leaves start to turn color, Starbucks brings back everyone’s favorite fall drink,the Pumpkin Spice Latte.  It’s been getting a lot of press, heat and attention on what it’s actually made with and we wanted to take a closer look to help figure out:

Pumpkin Spice Latte – Good or Bad?  The Truth about the PSL! 

But first, I just want to mention… we are NOT angels, judgemental health freaks, or anything in between.  We dig into the nutrition of things like the PSL in order to educate ourselves and our readers about crap lurking inside their cups! It’s about awareness, not perfection. 

Good or Bad?  The verdict: BAD

When we looked closer into the Pumpkin Spice Latte, I can’t say we were happy about what we found.  We had 3 major issues with this drink (and actually, most of the Starbucks lineup)

Unreasonable levels of SUGAR

I took one of the most popular orders that barristas are hearing: “Grande, nonfat, whip” and checked out the cals, carbs and grams of sugars.  It’s BRUTAL. 

51 grams of Sugar.  In a drink.  

To put this into perspective: An apple has 10g’s of sugar, an actual piece of pumpkin pie contains 25g’s and a Snickers chocolate bar has 47g’s.  This one grande, non-fat drink takes the cake.

Why is this a problem?  Sugar triggers the hypothalamus like cocaine or heroine with a big rushing wave of dopamine.  Think that feeling could be addictive? YOU BET!  In fact, researchers and doctors are starting to see a rise in non-alcohol liver disease.  Pumping that much sugar into your bloodstream on a regular basis takes a toll on your organs.

BEST and WORST Drink (for sugar content) on Starbucks FALL Drink Menu

BEST: Tall ‘Chili Spiced’ Hot Chocolate

Anything that has the word chocolate in it and comes in under 10g’s of sugar wins my heart.

WORST: Pumpkin Spice Frappucino

This chilly venti, non-fat, whipped drink has a whopping 82 sugars!  That is absolutely unreasonable.  Steer clear.

HFCS – High Fructose Corn Syrup 

We did a whole show on HFCS (Watch it here) so I will be brief, but HFCS is no good.  It is linked health problems, such as weight gain, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and high triglyceride levels.  Come on Starbucks, we know it’s cheaper than Sugar or other sweet alternatives, but your profit is our (health) loss.

Artificial Flavours, Colours, & Preservatives

Why colour a drink that uses an opaque cup?  Who knows!  But the use of their Caramel Color level 4 has a few people worried.  It’s made with ammonia, which is considered a carcinogen. Pair its hue with the use of artificial flavours that contain petroleum and a mix of preservatives and sulphites, it’s not looking as delicious.

After doing some research, I have to admit my urge to welcome in the cooler weather with a PSL has diminished. For a treat, sure, it’s not going to kill me… but do I really want to waste those extra cals/sugars on it? I don’t!   If you are thinking like me after reading this, I do have a light at the end of this autumn tunnel- Making your OWN Pumpkin Spice Latte at home!

PSL DIY Pumpkin Spice Recipe

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Recipe for your DIY PSL:

3 TBSP Cinnamon

2 TSP Ground Ginger

2 TSP Nutmeg

1.5 TSP Allspice

1.5 TSP Ground Cloves

You can put this PS wherever you like! Pumpkin Spice the heck out of your life!

We did a LIVE SHOW ‘Real Talk’ on the Pumpkin Spice Latte, other drinks, and even some Thanksgiving food tips, you can watch the full show HERE

Pumpkin Spice Latte PSL



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