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7 Reasons to Avoid Pumpkin Spice Lattes This Fall

7 Reasons to Avoid Pumpkin Spice Lattes This Fall - Pumpkin Spice Lattes - Featured Image - Amy Myers MDFall is here, which means cozy sweaters, changing leaves, and — you guessed it —pumpkin spice lattes. Pumpkin spice lattes are a classic fall treat. I get it. I also love the warm flavors of falls and sipping on a hot drink. What I don’t love is all of the nasty ingredients most coffee shops put in their pumpkin spice lattes. Most don’t actually contain any REAL pumpkin.

Read on to find out what’s hiding in your pumpkin spice latte, and I’ll share with you my NEW favorite alternative!

1. Sugar

Sugar wrecks your health on so many levels, that this one should be a no-brainer! A single medium-sized (16-oz.) latte contains upwards of 50 grams of sugar–at least twice as much as the recommended daily limit set for women by the American Heart Association, which is 25g (or 6 teaspoons).1

What’s more, many coffee shops use high fructose corn syrup to flavor their lattes, a highly refined sweetener that contains an unnatural amount of fructose, which your body was not designed to process and can lead to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.2 Not to mention, nearly all high fructose corn syrup is genetically modified. GMOs have been correlated with numerous health issues, including thyroid cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and infertility.3

2. Dairy

If you’re familiar with The Myers Way®, you know that dairy is one of my top two foods to never eat, which makes ALL lattes made with cow milk bad news. However, even if you take your pumpkin spice with autoimmune-friendly, non-dairy milk such as coconut milk, the syrups that coffee shops use to flavor their pumpkin spice lattes are typically made with condensed skim milk. Dairy causes inflammation, and chances are the pumpkin syrup in your latte is not organic, which means you’re also sipping on antibiotics and added hormones that are par for the course in conventional dairy products.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine is a toxic food that has no place in a healthy lifestyle. It can cause or worsen anxiety, interfere with quality sleep, and lead to adrenal fatigue. Furthermore, caffeine leaches calcium from your bones, putting you at greater risk of osteoporosis, especially if you are a woman.4 Plus, due to the constant release of stress hormones that you get with your daily coffee habit, caffeine contributes to insulin resistance, blood sugar imbalance, and stress-induced inflammation, which is at the root of nearly every chronic illness.

4. Natural and Artificial Flavors

Virtually every “pumpkin” flavored latte out there doesn’t actually contain ANY pumpkin! So where do they get that yummy pumpkin pie taste? Natural and artificial flavorings. As their name implies, artificial flavors are synthesized from inedible chemicals in a lab. They can be derived from anything from paper pulp to cow poop to petroleum.5

Natural flavors, on the other hand, are derived from an edible source–however, natural flavors are still produced in a lab and could be even worse for your health than their artificial counterparts. That’s because artificial flavors are more rigorously tested for safety, and “natural” can be a catch-all term for highly processed ingredients including monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame–as long as they were once derived from a plant or animal.6

5. Carrageenan

Most pumpkin spice lattes are topped with a big, fluffy mound of whipped cream. Aside from the problematic dairy, whipped cream also contains carrageenan. Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is used as a stabilizer and emulsifier to give foods a creamy “mouthfeel.” Research shows that this ubiquitous food additive triggers an immune reaction that can cause inflammation in your digestive tract and put you at increased risk of autoimmunity and other chronic illnesses.7

6. Preservatives

The syrups that flavor pumpkin spice lattes all contain some type of preservative, including potassium sorbate and sulfiting agents. Potassium sorbate is used to prevent food spoilage from bacteria, fungus, mold, and yeast, and helps delay changes in color, flavor, and texture of foods. Similar to carrageenan, potassium sorbate can trigger a heightened immune response and food sensitivity symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and abdominal pain. It can even cause migraines in some people.8 Potassium sorbate also comes with the risk of heavy metal contamination from lead, arsenic, and mercury.9

Sulfites are added to foods as preservatives, “anti-browning” agents, bleaching agents, processing aids, and antioxidants. They can trigger adverse respiratory reactions in those who are sensitive. Asthmatics are particularly at risk, however 30% of reported cases of sulfite sensitivity occur in people with no history of asthma. There have even been reports of life-threatening reactions to sulfites, including anaphylaxis.10

7. Caramel Color

Caramel color is the most commonly used food dye in the world. Despite its name, caramel color bears no resemblance to actual caramel and often contains a dangerous chemical known to cause cancer in mice. In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer declared this chemical (known as 4-methylimidazole, or 4-Mel) to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”11 I consider this good enough reason to stay away from anything with artificial colors. It’s just not worth the risk.

What's In your Pumpkin Spice Latte? - Infographic - Amy Myers MD

A Better Way to Satisfy Your Pumpkin Spice Cravings

Okay, now that you’re convinced to “run, don’t walk” away from those enticing pumpkin spice lattes, what can you do instead to satisfy your cravings for this fall treat?

Allow me to introduce my NEW limited edition seasonal flavor of Paleo Protein: Pumpkin Spice! First off, it’s made with REAL organic pumpkin–not “pumpkin syrup”–and REAL whole spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice –not “natural and artificial flavors” produced in a lab. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free, so you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging your love for pumpkin spice. Plus, with 21 grams of protein per scoop, it’s an excellent source of protein to keep you full and satisfied, as well as collagen and amino acid to help seal a leaky gut.

I formulated Pumpkin Spice Paleo Protein myself, so you know you’re getting only the cleanest protein powder sourced from non-GMO, antibiotic- and hormone-free, grass-fed beef. Best of all? It tastes DELICIOUS. Seriously, this might be my favorite Paleo Protein yet. And it’s only available for a limited time so stock up now so you can enjoy frothy Pumpkin Spice shakes long after the season is over!

Get yours today!

Article Sources

  1. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-bad#section1
  3. http://responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers/65-health-risks/1notes#animals
  4. https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/features/diet-dangers#3
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/eustaciahuen/2015/10/01/what-manufacturers-really-mean-by-natural-artificial-flavors-according-to-museum-of-food-drink/#2591db851569
  6. https://www.businessinsider.com/facts-about-natural-and-artificial-flavors-2014-1
  7. https://www.cornucopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CarageenanReport-2016.pdf
  8. https://www.livestrong.com/article/353871-adverse-health-effects-of-potassium-sorbate
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/potassium-sorbate#risks
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017440/
  11. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/01/caramel-color-the-health-risk-that-may-be-in-your-soda/index.htm

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