When pumpkin spice is not so nice

HOUSTON – Fall is the time of year when many people like to indulge in pumpkin spice - everything!

It’s not hard to find: lattes, pie, muffins, anything you want, however, according to health experts, not all pumpkin is created equal.

In fact, dietitian Catherine Kruppa from Advice for Eating said there’s almost no vitamin A or other nutrients that you get from pumpkin in its flavored counterparts.

While real pumpkin is packed with beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C, Kruppa said the pumpkin flavorings in coffee and processed foods could destroy your diet.

"Depending on the size [of a pumpkin spice latte], they're 40 to 50 grams of sugar which is close to your sugar allotment for the day, "Kruppa said. "So, I have people who order coffee drinks like that, I relate it to going to Baskin-Robbins every day. We don't go to Baskin-Robbins every day but for some reason, getting a sugar-loaded coffee drink is OK."

Instead, Kruppa said baking treats at home using canned pumpkin will give you unique flavors and nutrition without the sugar overload.

She said it’s available all year long in the baking aisle, just make sure you’re getting pureed pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling.

"One of the things about eating healthy is people feel like you have to eat the same chicken, broccoli all the time, "said Kruppa. "So that's one of the things I like about pumpkin coming in season is that you can change things up and get a little different flavor for a little while, while it's in season. But again, you can really do it all year long, it's just really popular this time of year."