Put Down That Pumpkin Spiced Latte Until After You Read This


October means tons of pumpkin-themed items start popping up on menus. From pumpkin bread to lattes to doughnuts, this squash finds its way into all kinds of foods and beverages. 

While pumpkin definitely has tons of health benefits, there are some things you should be wary of before you get too excited about pumpkin flavored things. 

"If you believe the sales pitch, the pumpkin is the happiest, healthiest food ever," Suzy Weems, Ph.D., registered dietitian and professor of nutrition sciences in Baylor University said in a press release. But it's all about balance.

Here's the good and the bad news. 

Why you should love pumpkin:

1. It's filled with fiber which has tons of health benefits including blood sugar control, weight loss and management and keeping your skin healthy. 

2. It's very high in Vitamin A. That means healthy eyes, skin and help with fighting cancer. 

3. It has zeaxanthin which fights against vision loss. 

4. It has essential minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese and copper. On the USDA/FDA rating schedule, pumpkins are a good source of all those," Weems said.

5. It's also a great source of protein which is a huge plus for vegetarians. 

Why you should be careful:

1. The way you prepare a pumpkin can change its value. "Pumpkin seeds are good for making you feel full, but the fat doesn't disappear when you roast and eat them," Weems said. 

2. Your pumpkin spiced latte isn't going to have tons of health benefits if it's filled with sugar, full-fat milk and topped with whipped cream. 

3. Pay attention to how much pumpkin is actually in the products you're buying. It may just have flavoring instead of actual pumpkin. 

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