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The Starbucks fan-favorite seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte (aka PSL) first debuted in 2003. That 20-year-old "pumpkin" drink with more sugar than pumpkin is back on the menu at Starbucks this week, but you can do better.

How many calories are in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

A grande (16 oz.) hot Pumpkin Spice Latte made with 2 percent milk has 390 calories—even more than a Starbucks Chocolate Croissant (300), Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin (350), or Cinnamon Coffee Cake (380).

But only about half of the Pumpkin Spice Latte's 390 calories come from the milk and espresso you'd get in a regular latte (190 calories). The rest comes from pumpkin spice sauce—with more sugar and condensed milk than actual pumpkin purée—and whipped cream.

How much sugar is in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte

All told, the grande PSL has 50 grams of sugar. Some of that sugar occurs naturally in the latte's milk. But we estimate that roughly 7½ teaspoons (32 grams) are added sugar, from the PSL's sweet pumpkin sauce and whipped cream. That's more than half the 50-gram Daily Value (DV) for added sugar.

The Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew isn't much better. A grande packs 250 calories and 31 grams of sugar—much of it added sugar. (There's not much milk...or protein.) Blame its sugary pumpkin cream cold foam plus vanilla syrup.

How much sugar is in a Dunkin' Pumpkin Spice Latte

This year, Dunkin' released the chain's Pumpkin Spice Signature Latte on August 16. At Dunkin', a medium hot PSL made with whole milk has 420 calories. Switching to skim milk cuts that to 340 calories. Either way, it comes with 36 grams (8½ teaspoons) of added sugar—nearly three-quarters of the 50-gram DV. 

A taste of a PSL with far less sugar

For a taste of pumpkin spice in your hot or iced coffee at home—with a small fraction of the sugar—try a creamer like Silk Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Almond Creamer. A tablespoon adds 4 grams of sugar (1 teaspoon) and 25 calories to your cup. Even better: Califia Farms Pumpkin Spice Creamer with Almondmilk, which has 3 grams of sugar and 20 calories per tablespoon.

In search of some real pumpkin to celebrate the impending arrival of autumn? Get cooking with fresh pumpkin or purée.

How to order lower-sugar coffee

If you couldn't care less about pumpkin or its spice, keep in mind that the best drinks mix coffee or espresso with milk, water, or ice, not sugary syrups, cream, or whipped cream:

  • Espresso, Americano, or coffee: Each has next to no calories. A packet of sugar adds 10 to 20.
  • Iced coffee: Go unsweetened to skip the syrup’s 5 teaspoons of sugar in a Starbucks grande.
  • Cappuccino, misto, or latte: A regular cappuccino (espresso plus foamed milk) or misto (coffee with steamed milk) has a nice dose of protein and calcium with no added sugar. Ditto for a regular latte (which has more milk, calcium, protein, and calories).

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