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Is Pumpkin Spice Really As Great As It Seems?

The arrival of autumn colors and a chill in the air brings many traditions. Pumpkins from the local patch start popping up on the porches of neighborhoods around Halloween. The flavor of pumpkin spice begins its reign in autumn as well. Pumpkins and their spice seem nice for your health, but some fall favorites that feature pumpkin are not nearly as nutritious as they seem. A tablespoon of spice in an eight-ounce cup of coffee combine for less calories than many other lattes. But the recipe for a pumpkin spice latte doesn’t simply feature two ingredients.

Florence Coffee Company in Missoula, Montana has one option that is very similar to Starbucks’ pumpkin syrup. Even though the syrup contains no artificial flavoring or preservatives, it still emphasizes the sugar fix people look for in their pumpkin spice food and drink. But Florence Coffee also has “Real Pumpkin Lattes” which combine real pumpkin with some of their spiced chai powder. Florence uses real pumpkin for other drink options such as smoothies and tea as well.

UM Dining offers a pumpkin pie latte option on  the University of Montana campus. This drink includes pumpkin pie spice similar to the one available at a grocery store or already in your spice cupboard. There’s no added sugar but not much real pumpkin either.

There used to be no pumpkin in the Starbucks lattes at all. The popular coffee shop chain recently revamped their formula for the drink to include some pumpkin puree. The change came after complaints about the nationwide use of caramel coloring instead of actual pumpkin flavoring in their syrup. But even the minimum eight-ounce option of the pumpkin spice latte still features well over 100 calories and twenty-four grams of sugar.

The thrill of the trend is one thing that drives us towards the seasonal pumpkin spice phenomenon. The buzz we get from the sugar within most incarnations of the fall favorite also contributes to its attraction. It’s important to pace yourself with any food or drink. Nutritional value is something to keep in mind when sifting through pumpkin spice everything this fall.

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