Pumpkin Spice Latte: Manufactured vs. Natural

By Kelley Musson

Fall has officially arrived. This is right around the time when people switch into holiday mode and embrace all of the delicacies that come with the season. And this is the season of the pumpkin: pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pancakes and probably most anticipated, the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. Delicious right? The pumpkin spice latte has been Starbucks most popular seasonal beverage to date and people can’t wait to get their hands on this creamy, spicy, pumpkin filled beverage! But let’s take a closer look at what is
actually in the infamous pumpkin spice latte:

PSL ingredients from the food babe
photo credit: TheFoodBabe.com

Do you see what I see? No actual pumpkin at all! Starbucks pumpkin spice latte is made up of many components that appear to be dressed up and altered to give an artificial pumpkin flavor, but in fact,there is no actual pumpkin used. Let’s take a closer look at two ingredients that have proven to be a health hazards: High fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring level IV.

In the PSL flavored sauce, we can see that high fructose corn syrup is one of the main ingredients. There has been on ongoing debate about the danger of HFCS and the corn industry has spent millions of dollars to campaign their “truth” about it. They’ve compared it to other (natural) substances such as honey and agave nectar, and debate that it is just as healthy.

The fact is the HFCS is a chemically and biologically engineered substance that includes both glucose and fructose. They are absorbed almost directly into the blood stream with little digestion required. The fructose goes right to the liver and glucose immediately increases insulin levels. This leads to an increased appetite, resulting in weight gain, and eventually a host of other health problems if HFCS is ingested frequently.

Let’s talk about the caramel color (class IV). It holds no nutritional value whatsoever. Caramel color level IV is a manufactured substance that is created by countering corn sugar with ammonia and sulfites under high pressure and temperature. Excessive amounts are known to be toxic.

So, why not make your own, with real pumpkin too? Here is our favorite natural Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe.


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