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Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) Is Evil, And I’m The Guy That Ruined It For You

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Image: Huffington Post

A whole nation of pumpkin-frenzied maniacs is about to clog its ears and bury its heads in the depths of denial.

When the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte — or PSL for short — officially hits menus, adorns window displays, and plasters the cityscape in all of it’s majestic burnt-orange glory, it signifies the unofficial kick-off of the fall season (it goes on sale in September). Between pumpkin pumpkin syrup, nutmeg, warm cinnamon, and whipped cream, it’s the perfect storm for tantalizing autumnal deliciousness.

People literally go bananas over the faux-pumpkin coffee drink. Only in America.

Starbucks has sold over 200 MILLION Pumpkin Spice Lattes since its inception — that’s 20 million per year — and at $4 a pop for a tall (12 oz.), Forbes estimates that the PSL will generate a whopping $80 mill in revenue this fall — by far Starbucks’ most popular seasonal refreshment.1 The thing is so popular that there’s even a petition up with 9,000+ signatures to remove the dairy and make it vegan. People want it that badly. In the words of the petition’s originator:

There is currently no vegan option for this drink mix, which is a total bummer.” — Brent Caldwell

Bummer indeed, Brent. What’s even a bigger bummer is the egregious nutritional content. Shield your eyes and hit the X in your browser if you’re currently living vicariously through a pumpkin-spiced lens. Here’s what you’re gulping down in a grande (16 oz.).2


Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte Calories & Nutrition Info

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The Pumpkin Spice Latte is an insidiously evil, Halloween horror story. In fact, it’s an epidemic given its viral popularity over the past 10 years. You ask, “what could be so bad about liquefied pumpkin, right?” All of the above.

Those orange pins represent nutritional landmines. In a grande the PSL packs a disgusting 380 calories, 13g fat/8g sat fat, and 49g of sugar. And if you up it to a venti (20 oz), you’re looking at 470 cals, 15g fat/10g sat fat, and 62g of sugar. IN A DRINK.

That’s roughly 30% of ALL calories that most women eat in a day. Even worse than calories, the ludicrous sugar content will send your blood sugar SPIRALING out of control, which spikes insulin levels and triggers the body to enter nutrient-storage mode. Unless you just drenched yourself in hard-earned sweat and depleted your muscles, every single PSL forces your body to store fat.

Gulp that down.

While its ingredients aren’t available publically, Starbucks describes it as:3

“Signature espresso blended with the unmistakable spices of fall – cinnamon, nutmeg and clove – smooth with steamed milk, topped with delectably sweetened whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices.”

One thing’s for sure, there’s no actual pumpkin in it (or any of the vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium, or fiber that go with it).


Bottom Line

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Like Cronuts, kaleidiscopic macarons (whoops), and banana nutella crepes, the PSL just doesn’t belong anywhere in a lean diet.

But if you’re dying to embrace Starbucks’ festive concoction, have it after your workouts — the sugar, and surprisingly high protein content, can actually support muscle growth and kick start recovery.

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Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto

Latest posts by Bryan DiSanto (see all)

    1. Forbes — Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte []
    2. Starbucks — Pumpkin Spice Latte Calories & Nutrition []
    3. Starbucks — Pumpkin Spice Latte Calories & Nutrition []
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