Courtney Smith
October 28, 2015 2:14 pm

Science has been breaking all kinds of bad news to us for the last week — from our unhealthy cheese addiction to that epically bad news about bacon. And the hits just keep on coming with the latest news about the pumpkin spice latte we know and love dearly (although, in fairness, it’s really nowhere near as devastating as the bacon thing, IMHO).

Kantha Shelke, who is a PhD, CFS and an Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) spokesperson, explains why you are so addicted to pumpkin spice lattes in a new video. Their big secret? The huge amount of chemicals that are used to make pumpkin spice flavoring.

They give your brain good feelings, she explains, by creating a taste and odor that is “evocative of pumpkin pie and the holidays.” They do that by using a mix of chemicals that “contains at least 340 flavor compounds and these are not found in the kitchen cupboard.” Only 5-10% of your PSL flavoring is derived from a natural blend of spices.

If that doesn’t sound like something you want to ingest, hold on to your seat because it gets less appetizing from there.

“The major and common ingredient in pumpkin spice lattes include: cinnamic aldehydes for cinnamon, eugenol for clove or allspice, terpenes such as sabinene for nutmeg, and zingiberene for ginger,” Shelke said. “They may also contain vanillin and cyclotene for the burnt butter or maple notes to round off the flavor.”

But what about Starbucks adding real pumpkin to their PSL, you ask? Bad news there too.

“The inclusion of real pumpkin in the Starbucks PSL is achieved by the addition of a Pumpkin Spice flavored sauce that consists of sugar, condensed skim milk, and pumpkin puree, two percent or less of fruit and vegetable juice for color, natural flavors, annatto (color), potassium sorbate (preservative), and salt,” Shelke said. “The amount of pumpkin puree added does very little other than appease those who wanted to see real pumpkin on the list of ingredients.”

In short: even the real pumpkin in the Starbucks PSL is in no way healthy and it’s barely real. It’s a total pumpkin spice bummer.

Watch Dr. Kantha Shelke explain everything in detail below. It’s OK —we feel betrayed too.

(Image via Instagram)

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