DETROIT (WWJ) – Pumpkin spice flavor is a fall favorite and seems to be everywhere — but not all products contain “real” pumpkin spice.

Legitimate pumpkin spice, WWJ’s Dr. Deanna Lites reports, is a combination of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

While products on the market do contain those, others that purport to be pumpkin spice are nothing more than artificial flavors and sugar.

Dietitian Lindsay Malone of the Cleveland Clinic says it’s important to do a little investigating before you buy.

“If you’re interested in buying a product at the store that pumpkin spice flavored, you’re gonna want to turn it over, read the label, see what’s in it, and make sure that you’re getting those spices, and not necessarily added sugars and flavors,” she said.

Added sugars add calories but no nutrients and research has shown a strong association between added sugar consumption and heart disease, Malone said.  It’s best to look for the actual names of the spices on a product’s ingredient list and the word “pumpkin” to indicate there’s actual pumpkin in the product.

Real pumpkin spice is a natural way to get the taste and aroma of the season and Malone says one spice in particular may benefit your health.

If you enjoy pumpkin spiced coffee drinks this time of year, Malone suggest adding natural cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg to your drink instead of the flavored syrup typically used at coffee shops.

She said one spice in particular may benefit your health.

“Cinnamon has been shown to help manage stable blood sugar in people with diabetes and in lab studies it also functions as an anti-inflammatory, so we may also get that benefit when we consume it.”


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