fbpx

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice 2019 – Is It Healthy?

Starbucks Pumpkin

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice 2019 – Is It Healthy?

I’m a pumpkin spice lover 100% + this season gets me super excited! I’m as basic as basic can get with anything pumpkin spice related. Starbucks PSL is officially out – WHOOOO HOOOO! Now the question is, is it healthy? If not, can I do anything to make it “healthier”?

Ingredients of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte


Almond milk 
[Filtered Water, Almonds, Sugar, Calcium Carbonate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)], Pumpkin Spice Sauce [Sugar, Condensed Skim Milk, Pumpkin Puree, Contains 2% Or Less Of Fruit And Vegetable Juice For Color, Natural Flavors, Annatto, Salt, Potassium Sorbate], Brewed Espresso, Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Mono And Diglycerides, Carageenan), Vanilla Syrup (Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Pumpkin Spice Topping [Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Clove, Sulfiting Agents].

Let’s break this down…

  • Almond Milk -The almond milk is your typical store bought almond milk. Very similar to like a Silk. Which to be honest, isn’t my favorite, as most of it is basically water + NOT almonds. BUT, we’re talking Starbucks here – so I’m not pushing for perfection. The almond milk is fine for this PSL.
  • Pumpkin Spice Sauce – The pumpkin spice sauce is something that I wish I could improve. It has TONS of sugar. I’ll talk about sugar content in a second. It uses dairy by the skim milk (which I’m guessing isn’t the best quality). So, NO as of right now, there is no way to make this PSL dairy free. A lot of people don’t jive with dairy, but it’s a seasonal drink, so if you aren’t allergic or have a sensitivity, I’m sure you can get by with this little bit of dairy without an issue. The other ingredients are okay, but I wish there wasn’t a need for potassium sorbate, which is a chemical preservative. It can be contaminated with heavy metals + it’s just an ingredient that I wish we didn’t have to use because it’s unneeded.
  • Espresso – Well, duh. I wish they used organic coffee beans, but I won’t be too picky. 😉 I’m not doom and gloom over here!
  • Whipped Cream – The PSL is fantastic without it, so I would totally opt out of this. This is unneeded extra sugar, dairy, additives like carageenan (which can be irritating towards the gut), and mono + diglycerides (which are emulsifers that are basically a source of trans fat, which has been studied to be harmful to heart health + honestly, overall health). 100% pass on the whipped cream!
  • Vanilla Syrup – An additional sugar source with preservatives.
  • Pumpkin Spice Toppings – Basically spices, so no biggie!

How To Make Your Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte “Healthier”

So, we’re not going to get it perfect here. BUT, we can make some improvements!

  • Take out the whipped cream! You’ll avoid the whipped cream ingredients AND the vanilla syrup ingredients. Less dairy. Less sugar. Less additives. Honestly, the whipped cream doesn’t make the PSL amazing. It’s that pumpkin flavor that does it!
  • Usually, your classic PSL uses milk. So, switch over to the almond milk like it says here in the ingredients! Again, minimizing the amount of dairy – we won’t be able to avoid it all the way.
  • Buy a tall. Avoid buying a grande or venti. The sugar content is UNREAL. If you follow the instructions above (almond milk, avoiding whipped cream, etc), a tall contains STILL 28 grams of sugar. If you get a grande, it’s up to 38 grams of sugar. A venti has 47 grams of sugar. Ya’llllll that’s crazy.
  • Ask to ease up 1/4-1/2 of the amount of the pumpkin spice sauce. Now, I personally don’t know how this will taste, but I do this often when I’m at a coffee shop and I can’t avoid the sugar, but I want to minimize it. If you don’t want to do that + want the potent flavor of the PSL (I understand), just make sure you watch your sugar intake for the rest of the day!

That’s the best you can do with what we got at Starbucks! Now, I’m very interested in this vegan PSL that is available in the UK. Why aren’t you bringing that to the U.S., Starbucks?!

Lahana Vigliano
lahana@thrivalnutrition.com

Lahana Vigliano is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and CEO of Thrival Nutrition. She has her Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition Science and currently pursing her Masters Degree in Nutrition Science and Functional Medicine. Lahana and her team help support women who struggle with weight loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, and many other lingering issues that leaves women not feeling their best. She uses food as medicine, as well as herbs and supplements when needed, to support her clients. She looks at the whole body holistically making sure women are understanding how nutrition, sleep, stress, and their environment impact their health. Connect with her on Facebook + Instagram (@thrivalnutrition).