I am going to warn you all right now that if you are a die hard Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte fanatic who wants to remain blissfully unaware of the nutritional content and ingredients in your coffee, you may want to divert your eyes to the below information, and skip right to the bottom of this post for my favorite homemade recipe.
But for the rest of you out there who really are interested in learning more about what happens to be in one of America's favorite Fall beverages, I thought it would be great to breakdown what it is you actually are consuming when you order a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte and an easier healthier way to make the same Fall beverage at home.
As a nutritionist I've got to say that nothing bothers me more then people being tricked into believing that something they are eating or drinking is better for them then it actually is, or even entirely different then what they thought! While it is important now a days to really be proactive in seeking out health related information on the foods we choose to consume, I also believe that we are at a serious disadvantage as humans, with a food industry that pretty much never stops marketing and advertising to us with misleading information.
So lets take the super popular Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte for example. Unfortunately Starbucks will not provide its specific ingredients and allergen information online, which as someone with many food allergies finds very alarming. Last year the ingredients were finally published after many people were requesting to know exactly what was going into their favorite Fall beverage. I only wish that Starbucks would do the responsible thing and make all of their ingredients for all beverages easily accessible for those interested in what they are consuming.
The first thing I've got to tell you about the below nutritional and ingredient information is that there actually is no Pumpkin in your Pumpkin Spice Latte, not even any Pumpkin seasoning...we have all been fooled folks. Most of what actually makes up this Fall beverage is sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and some caramel coloring...guys drinking one of these is like eating 1.5 snickers. Just to put things in perspective.
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte w/ Whipped Cream
Nutrition Facts Per Serving Size: Grande (16 fl oz): Calories 380, Calories from Fat: 120, Total Fat 14g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol 55mg, Sodium 240mg, Total Carbohydrate 52g, Dietary Fiber: 0g, Sugars: 50g, Protein 14g
Now remove the whipped cream and you will save yourself a few grams of fat and about 60 calories, but when it comes to the sugar content those 50 grams!!!!! are coming for the syrup that turns your regular espresso+milk latte into a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
One last point that is really important for all of those people out there with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, or who are vegan, even when ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte with Soy milk, the actual syrup does contain Condensed Nonfat Milk making it off limits for those individuals who are vegan or have dairy allergies.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredients
Milk, Espresso (Water, Brewed Espresso Coffee), Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce (Sugar, Condensed Nonfat Milk, Sweetened Condensed Nonfat Milk (Milk, Sugar), Annatto (for color), Natural and Artificial Flavors, , Salt, Potassium Sorbate (preservative)), Whip Cream (Whipping Cream, Starbucks Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid, Pumpkin Spice Topping:Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfites.
Starbucks Soy Milk Ingredients
And just so you are aware, if you do choose to order Soy Milk at Starbucks these are the ingredients in the Soy Milk they are currently using. Note that carrageenan is an ingredient in their soy milk. For more information on this food additive and why I choose not to consume it check out this post.
Starbucks Organic Soy Milk (plain): Filtered Water, Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Organic Vanilla Flavor, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B12, Zinc Gluconate.
Starbucks Organic Soy Milk (vanilla): Filtered Water, Organic Whole Soybeans, Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Carbonate, Natural Vanilla Flavors, Natural Flavors, Sea Salt, Carrageenan, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B12.
Now my purpose in writing this post honestly isn't to scare you out of ever drinking a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte again, it is just to make sure that you are informed when making your choices so that you can choose for yourself whether you would like to be consuming some of these ingredients or not.
With that said here is my very own favorite Pumpkin Spice Latte that I make at home with all natural ingredients. If I do say so myself, I honestly think it is better than anything you can buy in stores anyway, and is sooo much better for you.
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (use 1/2 cup for foaming milk)
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 shots of espresso, or 1/4 cup coffee (I make mine with a French Press at home)
- In a small saucepan whisk pumpkin, 1/2 cup almond milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla together over medium heat. Be sure to keep whisking until all ingredients are combined and mixture is nice and creamy.
- Save 1/2 cup of almond milk and warm in the microwave or on the stove for 2-3 minutes.
- Using a milk frother, froth the almond milk and put aside for topping your latte.
- Make the espresso or coffee and add to pumpkin mixture. Whisk coffee into pumpkin mixture and then remove from stove.
- Pour pumpkin/coffee mixture into coffee cups and top with frothed milk.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!