The one drink you should never order at Starbucks

Few things signal the change of season better than Pumpkin Spice Lattes returning to the Starbucks menu, which happens today. It's one of the few drinks with the power to sway even high-brow coffee connoisseurs, thanks to its heady mix of deliciously creamy, spiced fall flavors. If you can't wait to duck out of the office and sip to the new season, Wired has some worrying news: The cult-favorite drink could be messing with your brain—big time.

While it comes as no surprise that Pumpkin Spice Lattes aren't exactly a healthy choice, growing research suggests swapping your morning coffee for this drink could have serious consequences. Firstly, there's the sugar content. The American Heart Association recommends women consume no more than the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar per day. A Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte has 12 teaspoons—yes, double your daily intake goal.

A study by the University of Michigan even suggests high sugar content in processed food could be linked to addiction. "The research is very clear in terms of what happens in the brain when you get this rush of sugar," says Dan Hernroid, a dietitian from the University of California, San Francisco hospital. "Especially when it's in pure, liquid form without enough fiber to help your body absorb it slowly over time, it makes it very easy to get that high."

Additionally, a study by Duke University suggests salt, which is also found in Pumpkin Spice Lattes, could mess with your brain. Researchers found that salt triggers the same nerve cells in a rat's brain as illicit drugs like heroin or cocaine do. Translation: By the time you've finished the drink, your brain has likely experienced a dopamine rush, prompting you to order the same drink again tomorrow. And the cycle continues.

Then there's the fat content. The frothy milk creation is extremely high in saturated fat, and a Grande serving has a massive 40% of your daily intake. Looking to switch up your order? Opt for a Caffe Americano, which contains zero added sugar, or sip on green tea for a caffeine boost minus the calories and cravings.

Check out our favorite Starbucks copycat recipes below:

Starbucks copycat recipes
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Starbucks copycat recipes

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones

"These are SO amazing. They taste just like Starbucks'. Do not change a thing! And do not leave out the spice frosting!" -Kabwe Cook

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Starbucks Lemon Loaf

"I give this six stars! It looks beautiful and is just delicious. I work next to a Starbucks and this is 10 times better!" -Linda Saslove

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Starbucks Light Coffee Frappuccino

"Perfect proportions! This is a very nice coffee drink and such a bargain! I added just a bit of cocoa powder to make mine a mocha frappuccino." -Chef Kate

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Starbucks Blueberry Oat Squares

"These wholesome bars are just like Starbucks' blueberry squares — if not better! My favorite things about this recipe are the oatmeal base and crumble topping." -lilsweetie 

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Starbucks Lemon-Tipped Biscotti

"These are absolutely wonderful! The dough was easy to work with and the biscotti turned out perfect." -Aaliyah's&Aaron'sMum

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Starbucks Hot Chocolate

"This is great hot chocolate! It's better than Starbucks' because I can make it at home. I love it! I used soy milk and Splenda and it was still delicious." -kittycatmom

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

"I love cranberries, and this very easy recipe is a nice way to use them. I tinted the frosting pink by thinning it with cranberry juice. Everything came out great. I know I'll make these again!" -Lynne the Pirate Queen

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Green Tea Latte

Enjoy a frothy pick-me-up with this energizing mix of Matcha green tea and soy milk! If you prefer, dairy works equally well.

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Starbucks Banana Walnut Bread

"This is my new favorite banana bread! It was sweet, dense and bananalicious! I don't even care how many calories are in each slice. It's worth it." - addicted2foodnetwork

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Starbucks Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies

"One word to sum it up: delicious! Good ol' Starbucks never fails. I just finished baking them 15 minutes ago and have already eaten three! Photos don't do these cookies justice — you have to try them for yourself." -KiwiMegan

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Coconut Mocha Frappuccino

"This is wonderful! I was looking for a good excuse to have it, and was happy when my neighbor came to visit. It was perfect! I'm printing and passing the recipe on to my neighbor right now upon her request." -Chef Mommie

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Starbucks Chewy Fruit & Nut Bars

"After spending loads on commercially made fruit and nut bars, I'll never buy them again! These are great for a boost of energy when you need it, and they're easy to vacuum seal for on-the-go." -scented08

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Starbucks Gingerbread Latte

"I love this recipe! So many gingerbread latte recipes use store-bought gingerbread syrup. I was glad to find one I could make with ingredients I already have." -MBMommy

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Starbucks Marble Pound Cake

The secret to creating this rich loaf is twofold: cake flour to give it that signature soft texture, and lemon zest to make the vanilla batter sing.

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Starbucks Caramel Macchiato

"I am perhaps the biggest Caramel Macchiato lover in the world. I recently moved to a small town from the big city and was so missing Starbucks — because of this drink! I'm SO glad I found this recipe." -megs_

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