Science Says Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Is Bad for Your Brain

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Getty)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again.

September 6 marks the return of the pumpkin spice latte, the most widely popular seasonal drinks on the Starbucks menu. As the autumnal winds blow in and the leaves begin to change color, coffee drinkers are about to fall in love with the sugary sweet hot beverage all over again.

While it’s a generally understood rule that tasty things are bad for you, though, Wired has combined the results of a variety of studies to determine just how dangerous a pumpkin spice latte might be – not only is the drink incredibly fattening, but you might be underestimating the effect that it’s having on your mental functions.

Source: Getty Images


The report notes that both the high levels of sugar and salt within the pumpkin spiced latte are particularly bad for the brain – a 2011 study at Duke University found that salt reacts within rat brains in much the same way that drugs like cocaine and heroin, triggering serious addiction. Similarly, the University of Michigan has published a study linking large quantities of sugar with greater levels of food addiction, painting a bleak picture of the mental effects of too many Starbucks visits.

According to dieticians at the University of California, San Francisco hospital, drinking too many tasty coffee drinks over an extended period of time will dramatically alter the brain’s composition and the way it reacts to stimuli. It’s worth noting that the hospital’s cafeterias now refuse to sell drinks with added sugar as a result of these findings.

So the next time you drop into Starbucks to get your hands on the sweet, sweet taste of fall, you might want to think twice: you could be doing yourself more harm than you realize.