An image has been circulating around social media, blogs and even some more traditional news outlets that presents a very alarmist picture of Starbucks’ popular fall drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. While most people are going to read through the captions on the image and realize that these claims don’t seem quite right, that didn’t stop thousands from simply sharing it and perpetuating the alarm. I can’t tell you how many times it popped up in my social media news feeds with comments like “Something to look out for!” and “Watch out!” The image comes from a woman who runs a blog called Food Babe, which is well know for fictionalizing claims and counting on the chemical illiteracy of her audience – not to mention the fact that many readers won’t get past the click-bait headline, let alone try to understand, the claims she is making – to build traffic and alarm over things that should not be that alarming.
The short answer is no, the pumpkin spice latte is not dangerous. It’s a sweet treat that isn’t going to kill you from a “toxic” dose of sugar or an FDA-approved food coloring. Snopes has a detailed breakdown of the bullet points in the graph that should quash any doubts that the PSL is anything but a seasonal treat that you don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying when it is in stores.