Burn It Off: How Much Raking to Undo a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

Fall is in full swing, and the holiday season is here! Seasonal treats abound this time of year, and your local Starbucks is no exception. The warm and inviting look (and aroma) of their Pumpkin Spice Latte proves why it's such a popular drink this time of year. Whether you enjoy a daily trip to Starbucks or an occasional one, think before you bite drink. How much damage could one Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte really do? Find out how long you'd have to spend raking leaves to undo this hot beverage.

The Starbucks website says this "delicious blend of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with our signature espresso" also contains steamed 2% milk, whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices. A grande (16 oz) beverage contains 380 calories and 13 grams of fat. While that doesn't sound as horrible as I had expected, keep in mind that this drink isn't exactly a meal or a snack, and that plain old coffee is virtually calorie-free.

According to SparkPeople.com's Fitness Tracker, a 150-pound woman who rakes leaves in her yard will burn 5 calories per minute. To burn off the pumpkin-infused coffee, you'd have to rake non-stop for 76 minutes! As much as most people hate raking leaves, that's downright torturous.

While a single Starbucks drink isn't going to make or break your diet, I think it helps to consider the "damage" of these little extras before you dive in and regret it later—especially if you're a regular at Starbucks (or similar outlets). Now, the holidays wouldn't be as much fun without the treats that go along with them. So if I was going to indulge in this treat, I'd order a "short" (8 oz), swap skim milk for 2%, and keep the whipped cream (hey, it's tasty!) to save 200 calories. Luckily, the Starbucks.com nutrition section allows you to play with size, toppings and more to determine the caloric damage of your order. I suggest checking it out in advance!

Do you drink "coffee drinks" like this on a regular basis? Do seasonal treats like this tempt you this time of year?

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    I actually drink starbucks most days, but i count my chai tea as one of my snacks (either mid morning, or mid afternoon) - 10/5/2011   7:21:12 PM
  • 142
    Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte and the White Chocolate Mocha are the two drinks that accelerated my weight gain. I mean, ya, I was eating fast food as well but I really gained when I had one or two of those Starbucks drinks a day! It was a wake up call when the employees at Starbucks started remembering my name and drink. Now I avoid Starbucks at all costs but if I must, I have a skinny vanilla latte (sugar free, fat free) and I don't even miss the sugar drinks anymore! :) - 6/14/2011   10:57:23 AM
  • 141
    There is nothing like a steamy hot non fat no water tall chai with a shot of ginger snap in it. Yummy! It is so creamy and spicy and is "go to" treat every once in a while. Just check the sugar the rest of the day. - 2/1/2011   3:13:35 PM
  • 140
    We live where there is no Starbucks, no coffee joint of any kind, out in the boonies. So, if we ever get to an actual town that has one, we order whatever we feel like. This doesn't happen often, so instant moderation. - 1/2/2011   9:56:09 PM
    for some reason those seasonal drinks never tempt me. I was into drinking cafe mochas but with non fat milk and no whip, but I gave those up and make my own for less cals - 3/2/2010   7:13:23 AM
  • 138
    I love the caramel frapps.! For a while I was getting them practically every day lol! I now have adjusted my Starbucks habit to once a month, if that. :) - 1/7/2010   9:12:28 AM
    I don't drink coffee at all. - 1/2/2010   11:42:59 AM
    I drink my coffee black - 12/25/2009   9:01:03 AM
    I indulge at Starbucks once in a while. I usually order skim milk and leave out the whipped cream (which is really what helps to make the drink mm mm good).
    They are also expensive! - 12/18/2009   1:36:59 PM
  • 134
    I work at a coffee shop, so free lattes are everywhere! The important part for me is to plan it on my calories for the day. If I would say "no, can't have it, ever" I would want it ALL the time! Being smart, planning for indulgences, and enjoying your break when you get one is the key! - 12/18/2009   11:05:22 AM
  • 133
    I always order a grande non fat no whip (if they don't have a "skinny" version of what I want) when I'm at Starbucks. Stopping there is my "I made it thought the week" Friday morning treat. Right now I'm on a Caramel Brulee Latte (310 cal/grande) kick. It doesn't seem as sweet as some of the other drinks. - 12/9/2009   1:32:32 PM
  • 132
    I love Starbucks. I usually opt for a flavored coffee, but for some reason it's not tasting as good as it did... I think I might just stop hitting Starbucks before heading to the library. Why spend $2 on a cup of coffee when it's not godlike? - 11/30/2009   10:59:31 PM
  • 131
    Our nearest Starbucks is over 50 miles away and the stuff at gas stations isn't really very good so it's not a problem for me. - 10/31/2009   2:07:19 AM
    I'm glad that I do not like coffee at all. I certainly will not acquire the taste for this variety. - 10/12/2009   9:47:58 AM
    I love Starbucks. As a treat, I will try the Pumpkin Spice Latte but will take your advice on lowering the calories. Thanks. - 9/7/2009   3:18:42 AM
  • BECKY8910
    I always ask "how many pumps of syrup" in whatever size I want and then ask for half that amount. That way, it is less calories and also not so sweet. I prefer this over the sugar free taste. Of course, I do fat free milk. Once I saw the calorie count on the whipped cream, I gave it up most of the time:) - 8/29/2009   9:57:12 PM
  • 127
    Pumpkin Spice cafe? With this article bumped up at the end of August, could it be that time of the year already? I'm not ready for the return of cold weather and the impending struggle against our Midwestern comfort foods. On the other hand, it would be nice to get a head start on finding healthier uses for pumpkin other than pies and soup laden with heavy cream. Although, even as much as I like them, I doubt if I will find anything that healthy inside our neighborhood Starbucks. - 8/28/2009   1:03:04 PM
    We roast & grind our beans to make espresso, and having a Starbucks is... well... it's just NASTY after drinking the good stuff!! LOL!!

    I LOVE the spicy tips, HEIDI-50 and ices, JENIMADISON!!

    Have a gr8 weekend, everybody!! :) - 8/28/2009   7:49:22 AM
  • 125
    crap! The pumpkin spice latte has been my only excuse for stopping in at Starbucks. It's my favorite. My homemade varieties are labourious. - 5/13/2009   6:25:06 AM
  • 123
    Great tip HEIDI-50 about adding pumpkin spice and grating ginger. I never thought of that. I have picked up sugar-free vanilla syrup and Kahlua syrup in the grocery store/Wal-Mart and make my own iced coffees at home. I add sweet n' low if I need more sweet. It's cheaper and you definitely control the calorie count this way. The bottle of syrup pays for itself with the first drink you make. Enjoy!!! - 12/1/2008   7:44:16 PM
  • HEIDI-50
    I love this drink and the gingerbread latte, too. I grate a little ginger in my coffee, add pumpkin pie spice, or all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, splenda, etc. I save quite a bit of money. I don't have to leave my house, and it is suited to taste me. Ever have that 'too much sugar' feeling after one of those drinks? Blech!

    H-50 - 11/30/2008   2:15:59 PM
    I may have one this season just for good old times sake. Yes it costs me $5 but it's not that often that I do. - 11/27/2008   12:23:19 PM
  • 120
    I usually like the apple cider this time of year... and allow myself one a month between now and new year... so... 2 venti ciders in one year. That's it! - 11/21/2008   9:41:23 AM
  • 119
    fat free milk, no whip...yum - 11/21/2008   9:33:06 AM
  • 118
    I had one and it was nothing to write home about. It's not worth breaking the diet over or giving up something else for inorder to have one! - 11/21/2008   3:22:20 AM
  • 117
    Starbucks a fav but a treat only is about $5 and change for the Venti size. About $3 for a tall which is comporable to a small. - 11/20/2008   9:23:20 PM
  • 116
    The vanilla soy latte put me over. Grrrr. - 11/20/2008   5:32:41 PM
    How much do these things cost anyways? i bet a full meal is cheaper haha - 11/20/2008   4:18:56 PM
    I've never had any of these "seasonal drinks" at coffeshops.
    Evidently its why I don't have a weight problem. 380 cals? geez. Pass me a full meal, instead! - 11/20/2008   4:18:35 PM
  • 113
    I'm not much of a coffee drinker, but when I do have it I drink the free stuff at my office. It tastes really nasty, so I add cinnamin and FF creamer that I keep at my desk. Once in a while I will add a bit of flavored creamer that my sister keeps at her desk. But I usually only drink coffee maybe once a week or so. However, this sounds absolutely delicious! If I ever want to splurge, I might try it. - 11/20/2008   12:04:32 PM
  • 112
    I don't go to visit Starbucks often, but this time of year the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Eggnog Latte, both of which I tried last year, are really tempting! I used to drink coffee and lattes on a near daily basis and have worked hard over the last 8 months to make it an infrequent thing so as long as I have it in my calorie range for the day I'll definitely be indulging in these. My favourite thing about Starbucks is the nutritional part of their website. it is SO helpful to be able to really adapt the nutritional info down to the smallest detail before i go in. - 11/20/2008   11:44:38 AM
  • 111
    While I have not had this particular Starbucks drink, I have had others. I seldom have the whole thing. I find it rewarding to order it and share with friends. Even when alone, I have learned how to drink (or eat) a small part of something and discard the rest. That way, I can enjoy a little of something without having to deal with a craving. - 11/20/2008   7:45:13 AM
  • 110
    These definitely qualify as very rare treats for us - I get 1 skinny short one over the holidays, the kids get a peppermint hot chocolate, and we call it a year! I NEVER frequent places like this - not worth the $$$, particularly not in these times, nor the calories. - 11/20/2008   7:37:00 AM
  • 109
    Luckily we don't have seasonal treat like these Down Under plus there is no more Starbucks in Australia, they got out of business, so no more temptation! - 11/20/2008   7:29:30 AM
    believe it or not, here in metro washington dc area, some EXXON stations have "On the Run" outlets in them which sell all kinds of food and coffee, Bengal Traders, which has a pumpkin spice flavor, and all the fixin's for coffee for a reasonable price. a few shakes of cinnamon and it's delish. or you can add fresh half n half, intl delight, etc. at home i grind the beans and add cinnamon to the basket and real vanilla; to hot cup i add sugar free intl delight -- it's great and a better bargain. i bought a starbucks coffee for my daughter in law just last night -- she got half decaf, half reg, tall but in grande cup and filled remainder to top w/ half n half!! of course she's just 27 and weighs 95 lbs soaking wet -- i used to do similar things at that age, weighed 100 1 wk after first son; now at 62 i weigh 200 lbs.... as everyone knows, it's a lot easier to put it on than get it off. starbucks is not the place to go if you're watching your weight!! ;-) - 11/20/2008   6:17:26 AM
  • 107
    I Love Starbucks, frequent it about once a week, and create my own Chai Latte:
    Just ask for:
    Sugar-free Vanilla,Soy, 2 bag Chai Tea MISTO. I am Lactose intolerant or this could be ordered with Skim Milk.
    I've been ordering this for a few years now, and I love it. Easy to figure out the callories and much much lower than the regular Chai Latte, plus half the price!
    - 11/20/2008   12:41:22 AM
  • 106
    I hate coffee, so this wouldn't interest me. My mother was a good mother, but she had to have three cups of coffee down her in the morning before she could "get going" and by that time, my brother and I had already gotten ourselves ready and went to school. I hate even the SMELL of coffee. - 11/20/2008   12:20:30 AM
  • 105
    Makes me happy working with the frappacinos. They don't have as many calories. Also I keep this in mind as part of my calorie count for the day. I considered it my reward basically to my self. - 11/19/2008   10:00:40 PM
  • 104
    I make spiced coffe at home or add cinnomin to regular coffee, use 2% and skip sweeteners. I used to stop at STarbucks for the frozen chocolate banana drink with a shot of expresso = 200 calories as a substitute breakfast. But they hardly ever get it right and it's more aggrivation that treat so I just bypass Starbucks as a rule. It's overpriced and cramped and I make better coffee at home. Now when I'm on the go I get unsweetened iced tea with lemon. - 11/19/2008   9:42:06 PM
  • 103
    I just started thinking about the caloric cost the other day-I make flavored coffees at home, with just Italian syrup and skim milk-plus saves me $$ - 11/19/2008   7:18:29 PM
  • 102
    Starbucls or any speciality coffee places are a special treat for me, not a regular habit, and I always order them with fat free milk. That way I get a good treat with fewer fat grams and lots of calcium. - 11/19/2008   6:43:08 PM
    Thankfully I am not big on Starbucks or any other loaded coffees. I'll be fine with plain black coffee with a dash of creamer. Never sugar in my coffee - 11/19/2008   3:51:52 PM
  • 100
    Thankfully I don't crave these sweet drinks very often. But I have one once in a while as a treat. I try to make them as low-cal as possible, and I love the fact that you can get a "short" size. It's just enough for me. - 11/19/2008   3:13:03 PM
  • 99
    I limit myself to 1-2 a month and only for the holidays. I can't stay away from the pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha at Caribou (skim milk, no whip, of course). - 11/19/2008   1:14:15 PM
  • 98
    Seasonal treats are my favorite! I'm crazy about peppermint, pumpkin, gingerbread etc. And when it's cold out, warm sweets are all I want. I never knew there was a size smaller than tall available. If there's ever a time when I can't say no, I'll order the short. Kudos to Starbucks for providing that web page! It's so easy and informative. I'm more likely to order from them because of it. - 11/19/2008   12:34:55 PM
  • 97
    I will definitely check out the site to check out what my favorites cost me in the calorie department. I've not tried too many of the their lattes but I do love their coffee. I normally get these as a treat for the most part. Thanks for the information. - 11/19/2008   11:55:50 AM
  • 96
    I was almost crushed when I found out you can't order this as a "skinny" because the pumpkin sauce - not syrup - doesn't come in sugar free! Needless to say I joined all the other addicts and complained to Starbucks! The best I could get out of them was that they'll consider it. :-(

    And yes, you absolutely can order a short! :-) - 11/19/2008   10:51:23 AM
  • 95
    Unfortunately we don't have a Starbucks here in P'ville. I am sure we will get one or something like it. I love P'kin Spice anything! So this time of year is particularly tough for me. I have a wonderful glow though with all the beta's I am getting. Getting a frothy coffee drink for me is a special treat when I have to go shopping. I did switch to the 16oz! Don't ask me to get anything smaller!!! I work out enough to justify and not feel guilty. Well kinda not guilty. - 11/19/2008   10:47:03 AM
  • 94
    Starbucks will you give you one pump of any flavor for free, so if you just want a hint of pumpkin, ask for one pump in a drip coffee and add your own milk, a venti is around $2.00 - 11/19/2008   10:45:42 AM

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