Fall is almost here, which means pumpkin-spice season is in full effect. Pumpkin desserts, ice cream, cereals, candies and most importantly, pumpkin-spice flavored beverages. It can be difficult to resist the urge to order a sugar-filled pumpkin-spice flavored coffee when you walk into a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. Who could pass up a cup of sweet, delicious spiced pumpkin coffee? As amazing as these beverages may taste, they can have harmful effects on your body if you indulge too often. We break down how much sugar is in your favorite pumpkin-spiced coffee beverages and how you can make your own “healthier” #PSL.

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

‘Tis the season for the iconic Pumpkin Spice Latte! This popular beverage is made with espresso and steamed milk combined with a blend of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors, finished with whipped cream and pumpkin spice topping. A grande (16 oz.) has 380 calories with 50 grams of sugar. That’s more than half a day’s maximum count of sugar and exceeds the American Heart Association’s recommendation for daily intake of added sugar. Don’t feel discouraged, though. If you can’t live without a PSL, it’s OK to have one once in a while, just not every day. Keep reading to find low-sugar options that will help save on calories and $$!

(Image credit: Shutterstock)


Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew

This pumpkin treat is sweetened with vanilla, and then topped with a pumpkin cream cold foam and a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. It is light, smooth and creamy, but also rich-tasting, with sweet froth and pumpkin flavor. A grande (16 oz.) Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew has 250 calories and contains 31 grams of sugar. Not as bad as the Pumpkin Spice Latte in terms of nutritional value, but still not great. If you’re like me and still need your Starbucks pumpkin cold brew fix, a low-calorie option is a black cold brew coffee with one pump of pumpkin spice. You’ll still get the pumpkin flavor, just fewer calories and less sugar.


Dunkin’s Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte mixes espresso with pumpkin and vanilla flavors and comes topped with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and cinnamon sugar. This drink is served hot or iced (I prefer iced). A medium (24 oz.) Signature Pumpkin Spice Latte has 420 calories and contains 55 grams of sugar. More calories and sugar than the Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew and Pumpkin Spice Latte. YIKES! As yummy as this beverage may taste, this is another pumpkin-flavored drink that should be enjoyed as an occasional treat.


Make Your OWN!

After understanding how many calories and grams of sugar are in our favorite pumpkin-spiced beverages, it might be best to order a modified option or make a healthier version at home, especially if you’re looking to consume this flavored beverage all season long. One of our favorites is the limited edition Nespresso Pumpkin Spice Cake flavor. With this one, you can have your cake and eat it, too! This blend is made with cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and sweet pumpkin to bring you a one-of-a-kind “autumn” coffee moment. Froth some milk, add some pumpkin pie spice and sugar (if necessary) and you have yourself a delicious, natural and low-sugar PSL. Nespresso coffees are very low in calories, with less than 2 calories per cup. And if you don’t have a Nespresso machine, any naturally flavored pumpkin-spice Keurig K-cup or ground coffee will work just as well.


And if you’re looking to pair your PSL with a dessert, check out some of our healthy holiday-themed cupcake recipes that won’t leave you sugar-crashing. Cheers!

-Gabriella Costantini

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