The Bitter Truth About Your Sweet Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s just about time for Instagram to become flooded with selfies and photos of people sipping away on their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Although there are certainly those who would rather have their coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie on the side, it’s evident that there are seemingly millions of individuals who love the simple pleasure of this sweet, comforting beverage that marks the end of summer and the beginnings of the cozier, festive weeks and months to come.


While there is no doubt in my mind that the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger certainly pack a progressive punch when it comes to benefitting your future health profile, the unfortunate reality is that everything else in this ‘dessert-in-a-drink’ should make you think twice before habitually ordering one throughout the fall season.


Seriously… this seasonal beverage contains more sugar than most sodas. A ‘grande’, which I think is a large (because Starbucks is fancy and ‘tall’ means ‘small’ and the unique labeling continues) has more sugar than a can of Coke - significantly more! Its sugar content is almost comparable to 1.5 cans of Coke! Unless you’re someone who believes that drinking 10 cans of coke every week is going to help you improve your health, you might be getting a little more than you bargained for with this ‘far-from-a-black-coffee-latte’.


Below, I’ve included some nutritional information on the Pumpkin Spice Latte. There are quite a few options not limited to adding whipped cream and adjusting the fat percentage of milk used that all affect what size of dessert you end up ordering. So, I thought it only fair to outline a few of those variations!



Short Pumpkin Spice Latte – almond milk & NO whipped cream – 120 calories / 19g sugar

Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte – 2% milk + whipped cream – 380 calories / 50g sugar

Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte – soy milk + whipped cream – 470 calories / 64g sugar


The first option is the lowest sugar option available.

The second option is the most popular order placed.

The third option is the highest sugar content option available.

To clarify – adding whipped cream ONLY accounts for approximately 2g of sugar AND soy milk contributes more sugar than any other option available.



For those individuals who are a little bit overwhelmed by just how unhealthy their favourite beverage is there are, in my opinion, two options that can be entertained. Both options will prove beneficial to your future health profile and the development of further health conscious habits.


The first option is to make your regular order just a little bit better. Perfect doesn’t always have to be the aim if you can make a ‘better’ decision that leads you in the right direction. That most certainly counts for a lot. If a client comes to me drinking 10 cans of Coke per week and makes the conscious decision to consume only 7 cans I can have pride in my client, knowing that they have improved. Cutting out all 10 cans might be a little too much for some to handle and this is a reality that should be respected. If you’re used to ordering a venti, drop it down to a grande if that’s the right direction to go. (Again, I have no idea what the heck these sizes are referring to.) If you’re used to having your ‘tall’ Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipping cream topping, consider eliminating just the topping.


The second option for those individuals who would rather ‘jump ship’ immediately (having realized how damaging this habit is to their health), is to employ an alternative recipe. This easily incorporates all the relative seasonal spices in a warm latte while eliminating all the sugar-saturated syrups that are most damaging to your health.  


CLICK HERE for an alternative, guilt free recipe that contains three ingredients and water!


To conclude, it’s important to realize that habits are exactly what make us or break us in the long run. No - enjoying 1 or 2 pumpkin spice lattes this fall season during family outings will not prove detrimental to your health and fitness progress. Yes, drinking one every morning certainly will. There’s a big difference between the two and if the latter is your reality, it might be time to start improving upon a regressive habit before it becomes too entrenched in your lifestyle.

Ben Graham