Pumpkin spice: it's okay in moderation

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Haley Chappell

The cold air is returning to Worcester, which means fall is here. Halloween candy is already on sale and pumpkin madness has returned to our coffee shops, baked goods and almost everywhere else. Assumption College is no exception to the pumpkin palooza. We can see on Twitter and Instagram that students are getting their pumpkin while it’s available.

Dunkin’ Donuts is participating in this pumpkin free-for-all. New donut flavors, like pumpkin pie, pumpkin crumb cake and pumpkin cake are now stocked on the shelves for students, along with the pumpkin muffin and bagel. However, the real pumpkin craze is with the coffee flavors that students tweet and instagram about at the beginning of the season.

As students post about their first pumpkin coffee of the season, they can choose from basic pumpkin, pumpkin mocha and pumpkin crème brulee, all of which are available in both iced and hot coffee. Furthermore, pumpkin flavor can be mixed with whatever the patron decides. The pumpkin choices are endless.

But is the pumpkin mania going a little too far? Talks of pumpkin filled Oreos and other household named products are now sweeping the nation. According to Fox News, pumpkin can be found in Jell-O pudding, Pinnacle Vodka, whey protein, yogurt and Hershey’s Kisses.

Pumpkin mania has no limits. There are some things that do not need to have the fall flavors because they are not products that are really associated with the fall, like the Whey Protein.

Personally, I like pumpkin flavored things. Pumpkin bread makes a great breakfast treat and the coffee is yummy. However, companies are trying a little too hard to hop on the pumpkin spice train. Do we really need Oreos with a pumpkin filling? Certain things do not need to taste like pumpkin.

I would rather not eat pudding that tastes like a jack-o-lantern. Some food companies do not need to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon when they already make good enough sales during other seasons and with their general products.

Pumpkin flavored things are also very unhealthy. There is a lot of sugar that goes into making the pumpkin coffee and baked goods. According to the Dunkin’ Donuts website, one pumpkin crumb cake donut has 450 calories, with 210 of those calories coming from fat. This pumpkin morsel also has 390 milligram of sodium. Our lovable pumpkin spice coffees also pack a heavy punch in the calorie department. A medium pumpkin iced coffee with no sugar and cream has 270 calories. Therefore, the donut and drink combo packs a whopping 720 calories.

So, the next time you are debating getting a pumpkin treat from the local Dunkin’, remember that you are eating about the same amount of calories you should have in a meal. Also, one should remember that Dunkin’ is not taking actual pumpkins to get the flavoring; they are mainly artificial flavors, which isn’t always the healthiest choice one could make when picking their mid-day snack.

Of course on Thanksgiving I will be eating a healthy helping of pumpkin pie, but I don’t think companies need to go as far as they are going to make pumpkin flavors the epitome of the fall season. Yes, pumpkin bread is delicious and it smells great in a candle. But there is a fine line between pumpkin love and pumpkin overkill.

I believe that the reason there is such a craze during the fall season is because the pumpkin flavors are only sold during this time. The fear of missing out, or FOMO, hits the pumpkin patrons and causes people to hoard their pumpkin coffees and go overboard. That way, when winter comes around and everything is peppermint patty, they can remember their fond memories of a simpler time with their pumpkin spice pudding and Oreos.

So, moral of the story: I am a fan of the pumpkin flavors, in moderation. I enjoy my first pumpkin coffee of the season, and knowing that when I see the advertisements it means fall is near and sweater weather is upon us. But, I do not think I will be sampling pumpkin flavored chips or Hershey’s Kisses, even if I do enjoy the flavor.

If it makes you happy, go for the coffee every once in a while and be one with your inner pumpkin, just do not go crazy and start putting pumpkin on your pizza or your Oreos. Remember, too much of a good thing kills the specialness it has to really spice up a season or holiday. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the pumpkin spectrum so, feel free to pumpkin spice your life.

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