My lovely colleagues have, in recent weeks, delivered doughnuts several times to the newsroom.
I never pass up a doughnut. Earlier this week, some two dozen doughnuts were delivered and I jumped up to nab one, diet forgotten.
It was just delicious paired with hot tea, and the other choices included several pumpkin doughnuts, which I know are offered on a seasonal basis.
So, are these pumpkin doughnuts any more nutritious than others, which may have vanilla or chocolate frosting?
It depends, according to a recent message from the Baylor University College of Health in Waco, Texas.
(Yep, this is the same university that has a wild football team that averages about 700 offensive yards per game. Baylor is ranked 2nd in the U.S. and the Bears face my beloved Iowa State Cyclones in a game this Saturday. Yikes!)
A health expert from Baylor does have some sensible advice to those of us who like pumpkins, pumpkin bars, and assorted treats. See what follows:
"Appealing to palates are pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin latte — even chocolate pumpkin candy.
"If you believe the sales pitch, the pumpkin is the happiest, healthiest food," said Suzy Weems, a registered dietitian and professor of nutrition sciences at Baylor.
Pumpkin pluses she identified:
• Fiber? Check. Nice thing for dieters who want a full feeling.
• Zeaxanthin? Check. Hard to pronounce, but a boon for Baby Boomers seeking a weapon against age-related macular degeneration and impaired eyesight.
• Low in cholesterol and high in Vitamin A? Yes, for healthy skin and eyes — and an aid in fighting cancer.
• Heart-healthy phytosterols? They’re in pumpkin seeds.
• Magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, protein, zinc and iron? "On the USDA/FDA rating schedule, pumpkins are a good source of all those,” Weems said. Add them up, and you’ve got a cocktail for energy, growth and a top-notch immune system.
Pumpkin pitfalls are also listed:
• Pumpkin snacks: "Pumpkin-laced candy is still candy," Weems said. "Pumpkin seeds are good for making you feel full, but the fat doesn’t disappear when you roast and eat them."
• Pumpkin desserts: "Be sure to notice how much pumpkin is really is in it, that it’s not just the flavoring," she said.
• Pumpkin in coffee or for breakfast: "A pumpkin latte is not going to mean any fewer calories if it's made with a full-fat milk or syrup," Weems said. "And pumpkin doughnuts still have sugar."
• Pumpkin as a magic bullet. "Take a look at the total calories: If you have diabetes, you look at the sugar and total carbohydrates. And if you have cardiovascular disease, look at the fat."
Still, pumpkin is delightful, Weems said. "Just be sure to read the container or the wrapper."