News on Wellness

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes Ingredients Issues Loom

starbucksEvery fall, Starbucks brings back one of its most popular flavored lattes – pumpkin spice. In the 11 years this delicious caffeinated beverage has been offered, more than 200 cups have been sold. However, information has recently surfaced as to the actul ingredients in the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes, leaving some consumers cringing.

According to a well-known blogger, Vani Hari, this Starbucks’ latte is a mixture of toxic chemicals that pose serious risk such as caramel coloring that is possible GMO milk (genetically modified organism). As stated by author of the study, “The Small Change Diet” and nutritionist, Keri Gans, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte is “out of line”. However, he also feels that Hari is an alarmist, not that her points are valid, just perhaps too extreme.

However, it was Hari’s diligence that allowed her to discover the drink was loaded with processed food chemicals. The ingredient of the most concern is Caramel Color Class IV. This ingredient’s scientific name is 4-MEI, which is known to cause cancer. However, according to the Food and Drug Administration or FDA, the ingredient raises no concern although they will continue to look into it.

A spokesperson for the Daily News to which the FDA reported said the use of caramel as a color additive in foods has been studied for years but now, concerns have been expressed about 4-MEI. To ensure foods containing this ingredient are safe, several varieties of foods containing 4-MEI are being tested by the FDA.

Hari also checked on “natural and artificial flavors” in the pumpkin spice drink mix. She points out that artificial flavors include things like petroleum and as far as natural flavors, these can be virtually anything. For instance, beaver’s anal glands are used to make raspberry and vanilla products. Once again, the FDA stated to the Daily News that both natural and artificial flavors are safe as long as they are used as intended.

Facts about Pumpkin Spice Latte

• Caramel Color Level IV (two doses) made with ammonia and considered a cancer-causing agent
• Monsanto Milk comes from cows fed GMO soy, corn, and cottonseed or soy milk that contains Carrageenan stabilizer connected to cancer and intestinal inflammation
• Ambiguous natural flavors that can be made from all types of things
• Artificial flavors made from substances to include petroleum
• More than 50 grams of sugar in a Grande size pumpkin spice drink
• Sulfites and preservatives known to cause allergic reactions
• Made with condensed conventional milk, making it a non-vegan product even when made with soy milk
• Contains zero real pumpkin
• Possibly contains pesticide residue from using non-organic coffee beans

Another problem that Hari has is the nutritional value of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte. The Grande size contains almost 400 calories, has 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, and 49 grams of sugar. She is also concerned with animal data testing done on one compound of the products that in some cases, is not even used by Starbucks.

From her study, Hari strongly believes that Starbucks is creating a false sense of security for consumers by offering what they market as “superior” products. Because of her strong stance against potentially harmful ingredients being used, Starbucks reported to the Daily News that they are seriously thinking about phasing out the caramel color although no timeline has been identified.

In closing, Hari claims that millions of people who drink Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte are ingesting chemicals without even knowing they can cause cancer and because of this, the public deserves to have a timeline.

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