Fall is almost here, and that means it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte season! If you’re a fan of the PSL, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. But why do we love Pumpkin Spice Lattes so much?
I am totally on the Pumpkin Spice Latte train. As soon as the cooler mornings and evenings roll in, my brain nags me for that mugful of sweet, creamy, cinnamony goodness with hints of ginger and cloves. I’m not alone here. Twitter is abuzz with Pumpkin Spice Latte excitement, and fall isn’t even officially here yet:
Why we Love Pumpkin Spice Lattes
But what is it about Pumpkin Spice Lattes that makes us drop everything and run to the nearest coffee shop? NBC’s News Health and Nutrition Editor, Madelyn Fernstrom, told Today that there are three main reasons we love the Pumpkin Spice Latte:
It’s loaded with salt, sugar and fat.
I know, this sounds like three reasons, but it’s the combination of all three that makes food appealing to people. A store-bought Pumpkin Spice Latte is loaded with all three. A 12 ounce Pumpkin Spice Latte has 37 grams of sugar, 9.6 grams of fat and eight percent of your daily sodium.
Fernstorm says that the spices in that cup—cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg—are all “taste enhancers,” which means they up the deliciousness factor.
The salt-sugar-fat connection is most likely the main thing that makes Pumpkin Spice Lattes downright addictive. You can read more about how salt, sugar and fat are driving our PSL obsession at Wired. It’s fascinating!
It’s a positive taste memory.
People who love fall love Pumpkin Spice Lattes the most, because we associate those flavors with other happy things, like a break from summer’s swelter, carving pumpkins for Halloween, cozy sweaters and all of the other fun parts of fall.
It’s got that caffeine.
Caffeine is a natural mood-lifter, and that shot or two of espresso in a Pumpkin Spice Latte makes you feel good. It makes you associate that drink with another good feeling. There is even some research showing that moderate amounts of caffeine might be beneficial for people suffering from depression.
Make a Healthier Pumpkin Spice Latte
The bad news is that those Pumpkin Spice Lattes we love are not so great for us. They’re loaded with added sugars, salt and unhealthy fats. The good news is that it’s incredibly easy to make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte at home! Try this recipe, which is thickened with real pumpkin. You can add a touch of sweetness, if you like, but taste it without the maple syrup first—you may be surprised at how delicious it is without.
Related at Care2
- GMO Free Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe
- The Ugly Truth about Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte
- 5 Ways Pumpkin Boosts Immune Health
Pumpkin photo by Becky Striepe. All other images via Thinkstock.