It’s officially that amazing time of year again. The weather is cooling down, the color of the leaves is beginning to change and America’s favorite seasonal drink is finally back on the Starbucks menu: the pumpkin spice latte. But what exactly is it about this tasty fall treat that keeps us coming back for more each year? And is the PSL even a healthy option? I mean, it has pumpkin… and that’s a pretty healthy food, right? Maybe?
According to the Business Insider, food scientist Kantha Shelke found that most pumpkin spice lattes contain less than 10% actual pumpkin. The other 90%? Synthetic chemicals designed to fool your brain into thinking it’s the real thing. These chemicals, combined with caffeine and a whopping 50 grams of sugar, make it no surprise that Starbucks names the pumpkin spice latte as the company’s most popular seasonal beverage in history.
All chemicals aside, sipping on a pumpkin spice latte is also likely to bring about fond memories of the fall. Spices associated with the season–such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger–are found in the drink. Reminiscing on trips to the pumpkin patch, dressing up for Halloween spending time with family for the holidays can create fond feelings associated with the drink. Think of this as the PSL’s psychological allure. It’s comforting.
Candace Braun Davidson of Delish found that the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte falls about in the middle of the competition when it comes to health. Just how well does it stack up against the competition? While no one likely perceives the pumpkin spice latte as the healthiest option, there are some competitors’ drinks that will make a much bigger dent in your daily calorie allowance. The following are the five healthiest PSL options and let’s just say that Starbucks isn’t exactly at the top of the list. Don’t worry S’bux, nothing quite compares to the original. We’ll sip the real PSL any day.
1. Wawa Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte
Sugar: 34 grams
2. McDonald’s Pumpkin Spice Latte
Sugar: 40 grams
3. Peet’s Pumpkin Latte
Sugar: 43 grams
4. Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Swirl Latte
Sugar: 53 grams
5. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
Sugar: 50 grams
With an addictive formula and over 30,000 fans on its very own Instagram page, it’s clear Starbucks pumpkin spice latte isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It might not be the healthiest choice, but it’s definitely the tastiest. We can all continue to enjoy our favorite fall beverage for years to come… in moderation, of course!
[H/T: Business Insider]