Fall officially arrives at your local coffee shops and restaurants this September. With the advent of fall comes new, sugar-laden drinks full of limited-time flavors usher in the start of the holiday season. Before you head out to join crowd, take a minute to think about the health effects of these festive drinks.
Holiday drinks can have serious negative effects on your health. One reason for this is the amount of sugar each drink contains. For example, a venti white chocolate mocha from Startbucks contains 18 teaspoons of sugar—that’s almost double the amount of sugar in a single can of Coke! It’s also more than two times the daily sugar intake recommended by the American Heart Association.
Because these drinks are typically consumed in a short amount of time, the sugar in them is absorbed into your body very quickly, causing your blood pressure to spike. As a response, your pancreas releases lots of insulin which can lead to the development of diabetes. At the same time, your body stores up the excess calories as fat. The stored fat releases chemicals and hormones that are harmful to your body. The buildup of fatty deposits combined with the pancreas constantly overproducing insulin can wreak havoc on your body, leaving you even more susceptible to serious illnesses.
In addition, the flavorings used in hot drinks aren’t necessarily good for your body. Though fall-themed flavors like pumpkin and caramel sound comforting, some drinks sold at coffee shops tend to use a large amount of natural and artificial flavors—meaning there might not even be any pumpkin in your pumpkin spice latte. It’s important to understand the source of the flavors used in your hot drinks before you consume them.
Despite this, you can still enjoy a nice, seasonal drink this fall! If you absolutely must have your Pumpkin Spice Latte this year, try making it at home using this healthy recipe from EatingBirdFood. This recipe can be made vegan, cuts out a lot of the fat from a normal PSL and won’t cost you $5.00 a drink. SuperheroYou has plenty of homemade recipes that put traditional coffee shops to shame. Find a whole list of do-it-yourself fall drinks here.
If you are in a rush and need to get your coffee to go, there are a few simple ideas of drink swaps you can make to reduce your calorie and sugar intake. Instead of a Pumpkin Spice Latte you can order a Caffé Misto. This drink will still provide a nice burst of cinnamon, but it will cut out almost 75% of the calories. Another option is to ditch the White Chocolate Mocha for a Skinny Vanilla Latte. This swap will take you from 470 calories to 120 calories. For more Starbucks swaps, check out this PopSugar article.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean you have to forego all of the perks of the season. With a few simple changes, you can still enjoy all fall has to offer while still keeping your waistline in check.
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