'Pumpkin' Foods: The Good News and Bad News

With the arrival of October comes the proliferation of pumpkin foods: breads, pies, lattes, candies - even soups - that incorporate everyone's favorite fall flavor.

But pumpkin foods aren't all created equal, says Suzy Weems, registered dietitian and professor of nutrition sciences at Baylor University.

"If you believe the sales pitch, the pumpkin is the happiest, healthiest food ever," Weems said.

With the colder winter months on the horizon and holiday weight gain right around the corner, now is a good time to sift through the marketing hype and see pumpkin foods for what they really are. There's good news and bad news:

The good news

Pumpkin - in its raw form - is loaded with health benefits: It's high in fiber, which can help you feel full after eating; it's rich in vitamin A and zeaxanthin, both compounds that help with healthy eyesight; and it's packed with a vegetable "cocktail" for energy, which includes magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, zinc and iron.

"On the USDA/FDA rating schedule, pumpkins are a good source of all those," Weems said.

Pumpkin seeds are also rich in heart-healthy phytosterols, and they are touted by holistic wellness practitioners to be anti-fungal and anti-parasitic.

The bad news

Speaking of pumpkin seeds, they're still a food you can go overboard on, Weems said.

"Pumpkin seeds are good for making you feel full, but the fat doesn't disappear when you roast and eat them."

And pumpkin candy is still candy, she explained, while desserts that include pumpkin may not actually include much of the real fruit - just flavoring.

Pumpkin coffee drinks can be dangerous, too, if they are made with full-fat milk or syrup, Weems explained.

The Starbucks signature pumpkin spice latte, for example, comes with 380 calories, 52 grams of carbohydrates and 50 grams of sugar in a 16-ounce drink.

The main thing to remember is total calories, Weems concluded.

"If you have diabetes, you look at the sugar and total carbohydrates; if you have cardiovascular disease, look at the fat. Always be sure to read the container or the wrapper."

Source: Baylor University

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Today, the healing benefits of essential oils are more than the claims of ancient tradition and alternative medicine. They are increasingly the...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

More Articles

There is nothing close to a one-size-fits-all exercise program for those with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. The best general advice is to...

Limiting our intake of highly processed foods, and eating more whole and lightly processed fare can boost our nutrient and fiber intake, lower...

”Metabolic memory” (less commonly known as ”hyperglycemic memory” or “legacy effect”) refers to the lingering effects of a long period of either...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Keeping your blood sugar levels under control can be tough. There are so many factors that can affect blood sugar, like exercise, food, illness,...

While some celebrities aren't quick to talk about living with diabetes, others are quite transparent and inspiring - acting as advocates for the...

People with diabetes are about twice as likely to experience heart disease as those without the condition, making cardiovascular health a critical...

All diabetics know that maintaining proper blood sugar levels is the lifeline...

Pilates is an exercise method proven to improve flexibility, strength, coordination, muscular stamina, balance, and posture. Many Pilates...

It can be difficult enough to get on stage and make a roomful of strangers laugh, but for comedians suffering from type 1 or type 2 diabetes,...

Most people with insulin-dependent diabetes use syringes and lancets every day. However, many of them do not know how to dispose of these...

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes have successfully competed in the Olympic Games. Their amazing stories prove that diabetes is no match for...

Explaining diabetes to children can seem like a daunting task, but in reality, it is no more difficult than discussing anything else important....

Diabetes is a complex disease, affecting virtually every part of the body. The damage it does, to nerve endings, blood vessels, organs, and the...

If your child has diabetes, you want him or her to be safe while in school and to have the same educational opportunities as other children....