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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

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Wonder if this latte's on Facebook?
Wonder if this latte's on Facebook?

Tweet at your latte

The Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) has its own official Twitter account @TheRealPSL. L to the OL.

The seasonal beverage has a handle that enjoys "knitting, reading and cooking" and just "tried yoga for the first time." PSL is just like you in that she needs her morning coffee, but she can uniquely declare, "I am my morning coffee!" She’s into "Sharknado 2" and even posts selfies like the one ganked from her account to accompany this piece. She’s a wiz at witty banter and has 72.4K followers who are anxiously awaiting her annual appearance on the Starbucks menu.

While enjoying PSL’s knack for social media is a sugar-free way to indulge in the seasonal treat, imbibing one of the sweet fall drinks in serious moderation may be best for warding off an early appearance of the holiday bulge.

According to Starbucks.com, an 8-ounce "short" (the smallest size the coffee conglomerate offers) made with 2 percent milk and whipped cream contains 210 calories, 8 grams of fat and 25 grams of sugar. In comparison, a whole Snickers bar has 250 calories, 12 grams of fat and 27 grams of sugar. Side by side those guys are not so different, however most even minimally health conscious folks would not consider consuming an entire Snickers bar daily for the entire autumn quarter. But, there are PSL lovers who have been waiting all year for their daily Starbucks fix to taste like a slice of pie.

Jump up just a size to a 12-ounce "tall" and a steaming hot mug of 38 grams of sugar will be absorbed into the bloodstream. That beats out Wisconsin favorite, Kopp’s Custard, estimated to be around 31 grams of sugar in a small dish of vanilla or chocolate.

Starbucks is unleashing the unassuming nutritional offender a week early this year, which could mean an additional 1,470 calories and (gulp) 175 grams of sugar for daily consumers of the "Short" size of the highly anticipated beverage. That’s a little less than half of what it mathematically takes to gain one pound a week from excess calories. (Clearly, calorie quality is not being taken into consideration here.)

If Starbucks offers the PSL through the first week of December – that’s 15 weeks, at the end of which, the "short"-size PSL lover will have consumed 22,050 calories and 2,625 grams of sugar merely by guzzling of the autumn flavored syrupy beverage once each day.

To cancel out the PSL calorie bomb, a 125-pound person would have to ice skate for about four hours, run at 7.5 mph for two hours or swim laps for about 2 1/2 hours. (Calorie estimates via LiveStrong.com) That’s a lot of activity as a price to pay for the already steep health and wallet dent the PSL can potentially inflict from August to December.

In reality, daily Starbucks habits are not an uncommon vice. Would even the most glutinous consider indulging in the equivalent of Kopp’s Frozen Custard on a day-to-day basis? Totally in a world without diabetes, heart disease and obesity because Frozen Custard is an amazingly delicious substance just like the PSL. But, moderation has to be key to avoid any health repercussions from enjoying this particular caffeinated coffee break -- that really should be considered a dessert.

Last week, @TheRealPSL tweeted, "Tried to look at myself in the mirror but it fogged up. #PSLProblems."

Probably best to avoid some #PSLhealthproblems by not overdoing it.

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