This week's lucky "winner"... the pumpkin spice latte!!
What better way to spice up a boring old latte than adding some pumpkin spice... and a truckload of cream and sugar?? The Starbucks pumpkin spice latte makes it happen. At 380 kilocalories for the 16-oz "grande", this beast of a beverage contains the same number of calories as 3.5 beers or 4 glasses of wine. For breakfast. It also contains 49 grams of sugar-- more than a 12-oz can of cola.
The pumpkin spice latte is a food reward masterpiece. In addition to containing large amounts of easily digested fat and sugar, it boasts 150 milligrams of caffeine. While caffeine is probably a benign indulgence as drugs go, it is mildly habit-forming; in other words it's rewarding. Without caffeine, we would probably have little appreciation for the bitter flavor of coffee.
The combination of sugar, fat, and caffeine is rewarding enough that the pumpkin spice latte has become extremely popular-- Starbucks sells over 20 million of the drinks per year, even though it's only available for a limited time during the fall. Its motivating value compels millions of people to pay a remarkable amount of money for it.
Thanks to Ashley Mason for the suggestion.
Thanks to Takeaway for the photo (Wikipedia).