How to Hack Your Starbucks PSL Healthy

Diet-minded pumpkin spice latte fans are sharing secrets and suggestions on Facebook.

Photo by: Photograph courtesy of Starbucks

Photograph courtesy of Starbucks

Many of us adore autumn for the Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but not the attendant regrettably pumpkin-shaped pudge around the midsection.

According to Starbucks, a Grande (16 fl. oz.) PSL with 2% milk and whipped cream clocks in at 380 calories, with 50g of sugar and 52g in carbs.

Splurge on a 20 fl. oz Venti with same and you’ll be sucking down 470 autumnal calories (which are, alas, no more forgiving than any other calories), 64g of sugar and 66g of carbs; whole milk boosts that to 520/64/66.

But know this: a) you are not alone and b) your fellow PSL fans (and Starbucks) have your back.

On a Fall-centric Starbucks-administered Facebook group called Leaf Rakers Society (dedicated to celebrating “Fall. Year. Long,” according to its official description), you can find -- among the posts about beautiful foliage, adorable pets, adorable pets frolicking in beautiful foliage and the like -- some solid swapping of advice on hacks to make your Starbucks PSLs more diet-friendly by reducing carbs, calories or sugar.

Examples, plucked from among the many variations, suggestions and strategies shared by the group’s more than 27,000 members?

One woman named Chelsea shared a photo of her Starbucks drink -- “Gr Icd Coffee, No Classic, 1 pump Pumkin Sauce, 3 pumps Sf Vanilla, Lt Cream, Pumpkin Topping” -- and noted, “It's not keto because of the pumpkin syrup but it's pretty close. 90 calories. And only $3.35.”

Another Leaf Raker wrote: “I ask for 3 pumps of pumpkin spice in a grande coffee - 33 calories per pump. 5g of carbs per pump. Then add a little nonfat milk. Still has the pumpkin spice taste without all the calories.”

“I get an Americano with two pumps pumpkin sauce (should be 10 grams carbs), two pumps sugar free cinnamon dolce, a splash of heavy cream and whip. I figure all the cream and sugar free syrup add up to about 5 more carbs so less than 1/2 a real PSL,” a third shared.

“I order Grande iced doppio -- blonde, 2 pumps sf vanilla, 2 pumps of sf cinnamon dolce, 1/2 heavy cream, 1/2 water :) it's under $3,” another, apparently less wedded to the taste of pumpkin, suggested.

One group member quipped, “I’m Keto Jan-August. I’m keto+PSL, PM, and GL Sept-Dec 31st. I love the holidays too much. But, my fav sbux is cold brew with SF mocha and heavy cream. Add cinnamon or SF cinnamon and I can pretend it’s a gingerbread’s distant cousin.” Her comment sparked amusement and also some confusion over her abbreviations. (Best guesses are Peppermint Mocha, Gingerbread Latte, substitution, sugar free.)

You can find a whole guide to ordering keto at Starbucks here.

And then there are sage words like this one, from a Leaf Rakers Society member named Jackie: “I’m keto but I will drink me a PSL. Going off it 1 day won’t kill or hurt your progress! Life is about moderation.”

Life is about moderation, Jackie. Except in the days immediately following Halloween, of course.

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