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Spice Up Your Life with Pumpkin Spice Lattes

For the past few years pumpkin spice coffees have been gaining more and more popularity. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are the top runners, but which one is best for your waistline?

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Some people wait for fall because of the cooler weather, but other people love it because it’s when pumpkin spice lattes are available. There are two chains that offer, what most people say, to be the best of the pumpkin spiced lattes: Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. Which is better though? And what do you care about? Do you just want a tasty drink or would you rather have something healthier? Let’s compare the two company’s take on the pumpkin spice latte.

Nutritional information for a 16-ounce latte made with 2% milk:

Starbucks (standard includes the whipped cream):

  • 380 calories
  • 13 grams of fat
  • 49 grams of sugar
  • 14 grams of protein

Starbucks (without whipped cream):

  • 310 calories
  • 6g of fat
  • 47g of sugar

Dunkin’ Donuts (standard does not include whipped cream):

  • 340 calories
  • 9 grams of fat
  • 51 grams of sugar
  • 12 grams of protein

With skim milk, the calorie count drops down to 260 calories, for each.

Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte tends to be somewhat bitter and strong. The whipped cream is really the only sweet part about it. If you are an avid coffee/espresso drinker then you would prefer Starbucks’ stronger coffee taste. This version also tastes more like an actual pumpkin pie, which is the main reason most people order these pumpkin-flavored coffees.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ pumpkin spice latte is foamy, creamy and rich. It has more vibrant flavors of spice, but they take over and mask the coffee taste. Dunkin’ also drizzles caramel on top making it even sweeter than Starbucks’. Dunkin’ Donuts’ latte tends to have a more ‘artificial’ pumpkin flavor and is much more sugary, by taste and content.

For either one, the healthier choice would be to have it made with skim milk and no whipped cream. If you’re only concerned about flavor and not getting the healthiest drink, base it on this: for a stronger coffee taste, go with Starbucks; for a more sugary, creamier drink, go with Dunkin’., Pumpkin Lattes: Does Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts Do Fall Better?, Kim Conte, Retrieved September 23, 2013., Pumpkin Spice Latte, Retrieved September 23, 2013., Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Spice Latte, Retrieved September 23, 2013.

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