Should You Skip the Pumpkin Spice Latte This Fall to Avoid Feeling Sick?

Pumpkin Spice Latte symptomsThat season we used to call fall, but that we now often know as pumpkin spice latte season is nearly upon us. Soon, we’ll start seeing the theme in everything from drinks to foods to candles to soaps. It’s tough to avoid. For many of us, it’s something we look forward to every year. However, there are reasons you might want to be selective about your choice of hot beverage this year.

For many people, pumpkin spice latte comes with a lot more than just a comforting flavor. It can cause some unpleasant symptoms, too. These symptoms aren’t just a guilty feeling from having so many fats and calories from one hot beverage. Instead, it can come in the form of a stomach ache, nausea, chills, or even a race to get to the bathroom.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ingredients

Whether you love a good pumpkin spice latte or you loathe the thought of them, your stomach may have its own opinion. If you think you’re being punished for drinking the beverage, it could just be that the ingredients don’t jive well with your digestive system.

Why? Because the combination of ingredients – which are all perfectly safe on their own – can create a spectrum of discomforts among those with certain intolerances or who simply have sensitive stomachs.
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A Starbucks pumpkin spice latter includes espresso, milk (your choice of 2% or skim cow’s milk, soy milk, coconut milk or almond milk), sugar, condensed skim milk, pumpkin puree, “fruit and vegetable juice for color”, a food dye called annatto, salt, and a food preservative called potassium sorbate.

What Can These Ingredients Do to You?

For many people, these ingredients create a fully enjoyable beverage with no side effects at all. For people who are lactose intolerant, they may react to the condensed skim milk or the milk options if they choose dairy over a non-dairy alternative. After all, an estimated 65 percent of the human population has some degree of lactose intolerance. Common symptoms include flatulence, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea.

On the other hand, the rest of the ingredients combine in a way that will cause sensitive stomachs to react. There are a large number of triggers within that combination, on top of the lactose in the condensed milk. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.

Since that condensed milk contains lactose and it is a part of the flavoring, lactose is unavoidable in this beverage. The alternative is to order it with pumpkin spice topping instead of the flavoring. The topping is the same as what you’d find in a pumpkin pie: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove.

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