"I'm so addicted to pumpkin spice". We laugh...until now. The combination of spices that make up the pumpkin spice flavor is actually something our brains can become addicted to. 

When you think of anything pumpkin spice (latte or pie), what comes to mind?

For me, the whole pumpkin spice latte is an experience all the way down to the outfit I'm wearing. Whenever fall is within range, all I can envision is myself in an over-sized sweater, leggings, UGGs, a slouch beanie, fingerless gloves, a pumpkin patch and chilly weather. All of this is happening while I hug the outside of a coffee cup.

My brain goes to a new place. I feel comfort and cozy and family and football and get-togethers and snuggling under a blanket and all things happy.

This all literally has an impact on brain function.

Pumpkin spice has nothing to do with pumpkin.

Pumpkin Spice:

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and allspice

Adding in the pumpkin spice (or combination that creates pumpkin spice) is a money-making industry. It's worth about $500,000 a year and fresh pumpkin sales has hit $121 million. I blame Pinterest and Instagram. If it wasn't for our houses looking almost perfect, we wouldn't buy the seasonal vegetables. Posting our pumpkin photos is nearly a requirement on Instagram. See how it's taking us to a whole new level? This is a group effort.

Pumpkin spice added items have gone off the rails. There are cough drops (tell me I was just fooled by that), marshmallows, meat seasoning and more.


Red Knitted woolen cup with heart pattern in female hands.
credit: Thinkstock


The Science Behind the Pumpkin Spice Addiction

I'm digging deep into this reasoning and am completely interested in what is being said. According to Catherine Franssen at the Huffington Post, our brains love fall because it gives us the change we crave wrapped up in the safety of something we know was coming.

This is the opposite of facing something new and feeling anxiety and stress. Though fall brings a ton of change, the idea of what changes is predictable. School starts, the leaves change, the weather gets colder - everything does as it should. The thought of these pleasurable memories (even if they aren't all 100% great) cause your brain to release dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. In other words: pleasure, contentment and alertness.

Pumpkin spice connects you with all these feelings and joy. Your body craves it. This is how you end up becoming addicted to pumpkin spice.

I should have ended this with "in conclusion". I would feel so much more professional. Also, I don't want to feed the addiction but let me feed the addiction - our one and only Trader Joe's has stocked the shelves with stuff our brain needs right now.

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