Fall is here and what better way to celebrate the chill in the air than with a grande (16 oz) Pumpkin Spice Latte! Right? Too bad those lattes are 380 calories and loaded with 49 grams of sugar! At 4 calories per gram, half the calories of a grande PSL are from sugar! The RDA recommends 100 grams of carbohydrates a day, meaning one latte can exceed half of the recommended daily amount. This is not to mention that carbohydrates in sugar are addictive, spike blood sugar more quickly than carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, and do not fill us up, so we end up hungrier, quicker.
You might think, “I’ll just use nonfat milk instead of 2% and I will be in the clear.” The problem is not the small amount of fat in the PSL, but rather the high amount of sugar.
When we load our bodies with carbohydrates (sugars) our insulin levels spike. With excess sugars in our bloodstream insulin has to work harder to transport those sugars to muscles and fat. After the sugar has been removed from the bloodstream, insulin levels will stay spiked before going back to normal, this causes sugar cravings and hunger, which is why many are addicted. After long periods of time this can lead to sugar addiction, weight gain, and eventually could even lead to diabetes. The reason we gain fat from our lattes is that we do not have the space to store the excess carbohydrates, so we convert it to fats, which are easily stored.
Carbohydrates are still great and we need them to sustain normal function. Choosing fiber rich carbohydrates can make people feel better, and could even lead to weight loss. We’re not asking you to never drink a yummy PSL again (!), just cut down on the number of sweets and sweet drinks each month, replace them with fruits and add in vegetables. Vegetables are a great carbohydrate because they are rich in fiber, keep us full longer, and are lower in sugars.