Just How Healthy Are Pumpkin Spice Lattes?

Autumn ushers in pumpkin spice flavored confections, including the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte served by Starbucks. However, some are critiquing these treats due to their low nutritional value and high calorie content. Buzzfeed’s resident coffee expert Wes Johansen decided to sample the Pumpkin Spice Latte, who noted that “if you let these guys sit for awhile, grease kinda coagulates on top.” Gross.

So what’s in your Pumpkin Spice Latte? According to the Starbucks drink profile, this beverage is a blend of “real pumpkin pie spices” blended with espresso, milk, cinnamon, and clove. However, this beverage definitely won’t help you stay on track with your diet. One 16 oz. cup of this seasonal drink contains 380 calories with 120 of those coming from fat. This cup also contains one-fifth of you daily fat intake for the day. Yikes.

Drinking your calories can lead to fast caloric intake and even weight gain, especially if you indulge in sugary beverages on a regular basis. What most people don’t realize is that “pumpkin spice” doesn’t actually give you any of the health advantages of actual pumpkin. Real pumpkin comes chock full of Vitamin A and zeaxanthin, which are great for your eyes. You also get other nutrients from consuming pumpkin, such as Vitamin B-6, folates, and thiamin. On the flip side, “pumpkin pie spice” is just a bunch of ingredients that you’d pour into a pumpkin pie — minus the pumpkin. According to this Betty Crock recipe, pumpkin pie spice is just ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. It’s easy to see why so many “pumpkin spice” confections contain very little nutritional value.

Is it possible to make a healthier version of this beverage? Sure! You can always ask your Starbucks barista to use skim milk and go easy on the syrup pump. Or you could make your own version of the latte at home. If you’re making you own blend, then pick up some actual pumpkin puree to add to your coffee. The puree allows you to access the health benefits of the pumpkin. Some people like to sweeten the drink up with maple syrup instead of sugar.

How are you ushering in the autumn season? Consider whipping up a healthy version of the pumpkin spice latte using pumpkin puree. You can transform this drink into a healthy beverage that’s good for your eyes and skin. Making this drink at home can help you satisfy your seasonal cravings while saving on the calories and costs.