This is the season of pumpkin-flavoured products, but the problem is that although real pumpkins have a lot of nutritional benefits, that may not be the case of pumpkin flavourings, according to researchers.
Suzy Weems, a registered dietician and professor of nutrition sciences at Baylor University’s College of Health and Human Sciences said that:
“[When you eat something with] pumpkin seasoning, or pumpkin flavouring, or pumpkin whatever, you are not getting the full benefit of it [real pumpkin].”
In a study published in the journal Clinics of Dermatology, the researchers found that pumpkins contain a nutrient called zeaxanthin – most common carotenoid found in nature that is also very good for eye health.
Apart from that, real pumpkin also has a lot of fibre, making you feel full for quite a while after you consume it.
Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, copper, and they are low in cholesterol, Weems stated. Vitamin A is important for good vision, healthy skin, and the maintenance of the immune system. Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for bone health, muscle contraction, nerve function, and so on.
The Mayo Clinic said that copper plays a role in bone growth and nerve function, and Oregon State University stated that manganese is important for bone development and it is necessary for the antioxidant system and metabolism.
Weems advises people to double check whether the pumpkin desserts that they eat have actual pumpkin in them, or just pumpkin flavouring. Usually, pumpkin pies are made out of the meat of the pumpkin, which is good news for people who enjoy eating them, Weems added.
However, the same cannot be said for pumpkin-flavoured lattes. People should also be aware of the fact that by adding pumpkin flavourings or even real pumpkin to an already high-in-calorie product, that will not make the calories magically disappear.
A pumpkin doughnut will still have lots of sugar, a pumpkin latte will still be made with added syrup and (sometimes) whole milk, and pumpkin-favoured candy is still candy, Weems said. The whole calorie content of pumpkin-flavoured product shoulds be taken into consideration.
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