Photo cred - Kathryn Buncik

We all know, love, and are more than a little addicted to Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte, otherwise known on the webbernets as a PSL. North American society's PSL cravings are so intense that addicts can't even wait 'til fall, when the drink is supposed to be launched, clamoring for PSLs before summer has even ended. PSLs are delicious, no argument there, but do you know why, and what's in them?

Foodbabe.com decided it was about darn tootin' time to find out what exactly comprises the PSL, and not according to Starbucks' wishy-washy drink description. Getting hardcore with it, Foodbabe managed to get a legit breakdown of the PSL, sugars, additives, and colouring agents included.

Here is Foodbabe's PSL ingredient list, in visual form:

All that probably means a lot of mumbo jumbo to you, so here are the 5 ingredients to a PSL that will make you think twice before ordering one:

  • Condensed Nonfat Milk (within the pumpkin spice syrup itself): makes the PSL inherently non-vegan, even the soy version
  • Monsanto Milk: made from growth hormone injected and GMO-fed cows
  • Class IV Caramel Color: a colouring agent linked to causing causer in numerous studies (like here, here, and here)
  • Natural & Artificial flavours: no pumpkin is actually in the PSL, so where is the flavour even coming from? Clever loopholes like this make it ambiguous and forever a mystery
  • Crazy amounts of sugar and pesticides from coffee beans: you were probably already aware of both of these, but still, worth noting. Expect at least 50g of sugar in a grande, and the pesticides are from the Starbucks use of non-organic coffee beans.

All in all, the only thing you should really be watching out for is the class IV caramel colour, unless your vegan. Any ingredient in a drink that is a potential cause for cancer should make you think twice about ordering it. Or, you know, go full YOLO for PSL.

For more on all things relevant, follow Michael on Twitter @MDAlimonte

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