Sugar Shocker: Pumpkin Spice (Lattes) Are Not Nice
Fall is finally here, which for me means cozy sweaters and boots, watching my son's football games, family dinners on Sunday, and the absolute necessity for hot coffee. I live in Seattle, therefore Starbucks is practically a daily requirement. I'm so grateful for this establishment that serves as a workspace, meeting place and pit stop to fuel my hyper-charged exercise routine. But as a nutrition coach, I can't help but feel slightly sick to my stomach when I'm in line and I hear people ordering Grande triple pump Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I know that this drink is a long-awaited annual pleasure for some, but I beg of you to stop and smell the coffee before you order your next Pumpkin Spice Latte. Sip on this:
A Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with 2% milk and whip cream has....WAIT FOR IT...50 GRAMS of SUGAR in it. The average adult should not be consuming more than 6-7 added teaspoons of sugar in their diet in a day, which sneaks up on us pretty easily. Added sugars sneak into so many of our foods, from seemingly healthy bars and smoothies, to breads, salad dressings and yogurt. For example, Chobani's Black Cherry Greek Yogurt has a whopping 16 grams of sugar. My point in sharing this his because if you add a Pumpkin Spice Latte into your daily mix a few times a week, you're possibly combining it with 20 or more grams of other added sugars in your daily diet. So, here's simple math: 50g + 20g = 70g. One gram of sugar has 3.87 calories. So if you have 70 grams of added sugar in one day, you are adding 270 sugar calories to your diet.
Those calories are like a sexy fling with a bad boy. Tastes great in the moment, but feels quite empty moments later. It's added, unnecessary baggage (to the waistline). If you're going to eat an extra 270 sugar calories, put them towards some fiber-rich fruit.
Have I given you enough sugar shock? I could go on and on about other frothy coffee milkshakes on the menu, but I'll stop there because I think you get the gist. My advice, if you're going to take the Pumpkin Spice plunge (or a mocha, a Frappuccino, etc), do it VERY sparingly and treat it as a dessert, not as your morning Joe. Starbucks makes great Americano's and their signature brews are also quite nice and don't have any added sugar. Sure, if you're used to a sweet treat in the morning, going for regular old coffee might be a rude awakening for your palate. But trust me, when you return to the sugary drink after a few days, you'll be shocked at how overly sweet it tastes to you.
So, let's dump this bad boy for a caffeinated pleasure that treats us nice! The net effects: you'll avoid pumpkin-shaped curves and save yourself some money in the long run.
Cheers to your health!