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Pumpkin spice latte||Iced caramel latte coffee in a tall glass

Keep Your Fall Drinks in Check

It's that time of year — fall is approaching!  From cinnamon and pumpkin spice, to sea salt and caramel, coffee shops around the country have our mouths watering. However, if you’re not careful, these delicious drinks will have you packing on the layers, and I’m not talking about your favorite fall jacket.

Seasonal Drinks That Aren't as Healthy as You May Think

Listed below are some popular seasonal drinks and what you’ll find in each:

  • Dunkin' ® large Pumpkin Swirl Hot Cappuccino (whole milk)- 370 calories, 8 grams fat, 42 grams added sugar
  • Scooters ® 16 oz Turtle Latte (whole milk)- 418 calories, 14 grams fat, 45 grams added sugar
  • Starbucks ® Iced Espresso 14 oz Pumpkin Spice Latte- 270 calories, 4.5 grams fat, 26 grams added sugar

While the beverages above contain varying amounts of calories and fat, they all have one thing in common: a lot of added sugar. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 10% of daily calorie intake from added sugars, as they provide no nutrient density.  If you follow a 1500-calorie diet daily, 45 grams of added sugar from one drink would already set you over your goal with 12% of your calories for the day.  Those extra calories may contribute to weight gain, obesity, and heart disease.

How to Make Your Seasonal Drinks Healthier

All of this information doesn't mean you need to cut fall drinks out of your seasonal celebration!  You can still enjoy your favorite fall flavors in a more healthful way.

  • First, start small. Choose the smallest size available to reduce intake of added sugar and calories.
  • Second, choose the right dairy product.  Most coffee drinks are automatically made with whole milk, which increases the fat and calorie content of that drink. Instead, choose fat-free milk, almond milk or soy milk.
  • Lastly, be on sugar patrol.  Most coffee shops use sugary syrups as their main source of flavor.  Instead of 4-6 pumps in your cup, ask for 1-2.  Sugar-free syrups may also be available.

Enjoy this season in a healthy way by taking control of your choices and your health!

Learn more about our CHI Health nutrition services.

Original Post Date - Aug. 2017, Revised - August 2022. 

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