Skip to content

What Happens To Your Body When You Drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte

There’s a lot you can learn from the nutritional value of this beloved Starbucks drink.

The Pumpkin Spice Latte sure is a beloved sweet treat during the Fall season—or even a few weeks before, given that Starbucks typically releases it during the last week of August every year. Yet despite the world's craze over this sugary drink, there's a lot we can learn from the nutritional value of it—particularly in the high amount of sugar and carbohydrates this beverage contains. We took a closer look at the nutrition information of the PSL (16 oz. with 2% milk and whipped cream) to determine what happens to your body when you drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte. So if you decide to treat yourself to one of these this fall season, here's what to expect.


You'll max out on your sugar intake.

starbucks cup

The dietary recommended intake (DRI) of sugar from the FDA is 50 grams of added sugar a day. If you were to order a generic 16 oz. Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream, you would hit that sugar count by your last sip. A 16 oz. is exactly 50 grams of sugar, so if you plan to drink a Pumpkin Spice Latte, you'll want to keep your sugar count low the rest of the day.


You still won't get any dietary fiber.

starbucks syrups

Despite the fact that this popular latte claims to have pumpkin—which is packed with dietary fiber—this latte doesn't reap any of those benefits. The pumpkin flavoring is actually coming from a Pumpkin Sauce that Starbucks uses to make this latte, leaving the latte at a whopping zero grams of fiber. Remember, you need at least 25 (women) to 38 (men) grams of fiber a day.


You'll surprisingly get a good amount of protein.

Man drinking starbucks coffee
Savvapanf Photo/Shutterstock

Sipping on a Pumpkin Spice Latte is not all negative, you know. In fact, a 16 oz. Pumpkin Spice Latte actually contains 14 grams of protein, which according to their nutritional label is around 28% of the daily value. The average person should get between 46 to 56 grams of protein a day, so 14 grams from a sweet treat is actually pretty decent! The protein is likely coming from the milk, which actually has more protein in it than you realize.


You'll consume more carbs than 1 cup of pasta.

woman holding a cell phone in one hand and a grande starbucks beverage in the order

The average cup of pasta is around 40 to 50 grams of carbs, depending on the size/shape of it. A Pumpkin Spice Latte is right up there with it, containing 52 grams of carbohydrates per 16 oz. cup. If you're trying to be conscious about the number of carbs you are consuming, be mindful of this latte's carb count and plan accordingly.


You'll probably feel full.

outside starbucks with a pumpkin spice latte sign

Between the fat and the protein in this latte, it's true—you'll probably feel full after drinking it. Fat and protein are two macronutrients that help people to feel satiated after a meal. Now, will it leave you feeling full for a long period of time? Not likely. But it will give you a sense of fullness for the time being.

Read more: The 12 Worst Drinks at Starbucks

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a freelance health and nutrition journalist. Read more about Kiersten
Filed Under