It’s autumn, which means pumpkin spice season is in full effect. Seasonal treats are aplenty this time of year, but be warned: they contain a lot of sugar. More daily sugar than anyone should consume.
For women, the daily sugar allotment is about four teaspoons. There are about twelve teaspoons of sugar in the average pumpkin spice latte. That’s a quarter-cup of sugar for just one drink.
“Some of them are close to 400 calories for a Grande size drink, which for a typical female is a meal, that’s breakfast, and most people are having a drink, plus they’re having breakfast,” explains Vanessa Imus, a registered dietician at UW Medicine.
She says we need to reevaluate America's obsession with holiday beverages.
“Looking at about 50 grams of sugar for a Grande pumpkin spice latte, which compared to the American Heart Association recommendation of 26 grams a day for women is quite high. So you’re already at double from just one drink,” said Imus.
One way to cut down on the sugar would be to downsize. Force yourself to get the smallest size and savor it or have your drink made to order with less flavoring.
“A lot of people don’t know, but they can reduce instead of going with the typical four pumps in a Grande. Just do one, just get a little taste of the pumpkin spice or whatever you want without getting all that sugar in there,” Imus said.
But avoid ordering 'skinny drinks' with artificial sweeteners, which could do more harm than good.
“Most of the research says that people who drink a lot of these artificial sweeteners actually have increased risk of metabolic syndrome which is high blood pressure, high blood sugar, it increases the risk for stroke and heart disease,” said Imus.
Another way to avoid sugar shock is to be the barista. You can make your coffee at home and add spices with honey to sweeten. Chances are you won’t add 12 teaspoons of honey to your drink.
Overall, Dr. Imus suggests we all spend more time thinking about what we eat and plan ahead, instead of acting impulsively.