I’ll be the first to say it: I love a good pumpkin spice latte. No, I’m not talking about the fake crap you purchase at Starbucks (although, I’ll admit, I definitely enjoyed them in the past), but rather an organic latte with some all-natural pumpkin spice flavouring (view the recipe here). Delicious.
So, why should you consider boycotting the classic “PSL” that everyone loves so much? First of all, most conventional pumpkin spice syrups contain animal products. Second of all, PSLs often contain tons of chemicals and other artificial ingredients, not to mention heaps of sugar.
Why You Should Consider Boycotting PSLs This Fall
One of the most common ingredients found in PSLs (like Starbucks) is carrageenan. You may have heard of the ingredient because it gained a lot of traction within the natural foods industry, as many dairy alternatives like almond milk contained it. The issue is that, although it’s naturally derived, there are some notable health risks associated with it, so consumers started boycotting nut milks that contained it.
Carrageenan is actually derived from red seaweed and is used as an additive to thicken numerous food and beverage products. It tends to give these products a fattier/creamier texture, without the added “full-fat” ingredients and calories. Since it is naturally derived, it was thought to be harmless; however, in recent years, scientists have discovered some strange issues associated with carrageenan consumption.
One of the more prominent health concerns associated with carrageenan is inflammation, which can lead to more serious health issues. Carrageenan can trigger an autoimmune response within the body, forcing your cells to attack healthy tissues by sort of treating them as if they were bacteria or a virus. This inflammation is most commonly within the gastrointestinal system, causing side effects as minor as bloating, but could potentially lead to some more serious diseases, too.
CE has an article on the health risks associated with carrageenan, which you can read below:
PSLs also often contain potassium sorbate (which Starbucks uses in the vanilla syrup contained in their PSLs), which has been known to be contaminated with lead, arsenic, and mercury in the past. Another issue with PSLs is that the flavourings may contain sulfites, which can trigger allergic reactions amongst many people, including myself.
Perhaps the most obvious reason to avoid PSLs is their high sugar content. And most big box brands of PSLs wouldn’t be using raw, organic cane sugar to sweeten their beverages, much less a whole food like maple syrup, but rather a low grade of refined sugar or chemical syrup.
Not only is white sugar unhealthy, but it’s pretty inhumane, too. To obtain the sugar’s bright white colour, it must be filtered and bleached using bone char, a de-ashing and whitening agent made from the skull or spine of a cow. The bones are heated at a high temperature and reduced to carbon. The cattle is usually slaughtered in foreign countries, sold to traders, and then sold to American sugar companies.
Plus, the debate surrounding the potential health benefits and risks of coffee is huge. If you’re going to consume coffee, make sure it’s organic so you can limit your risk of pesticide exposure. However, to learn about the potential risks associated with drinking coffee, check out the following article:
At the end of the day, it’s important that we become more mindful about what we put in our bodies. The food and drinks we choose to consume will have an impact on our mental and physical health, so it’s important that we make informed decisions!
Sure, PSL season may be trendy, but do you really need that Starbucks pumpkin spice latte? No, and there are tons of healthier alternatives that are equally as delicious and not filled with sugar, pesticides, carrageenan, and whatever else.
Let’s enjoy this beautiful fall season without any conventional PSLs!