Smartest Dessert On the Menu

Can dessert make your restaurant meal nutritionally complete? Maybe, if you ask for pumpkin pie! A recent survey shows people who eat in restaurants — even if it’s just once a week — have diets lower in nifty substances called carotenoids, found in fruits and vegetables.

Carotenoids snuff out free radicals that help cause heart disease and cancer — but experts think they work best as a team, when your diet supplies a variety of them. So why pumpkin pie? Because pumpkin stands alone for delivering respectable amounts of three major carotenoids — beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and lutein — in every bite. No other veggie or fruit brings you three-in-one — which makes pumpkin pie a very smart order.

Important: If you skip the crust, you’ll drop a big 15 grams of fat and 250 calories per slice. Savor the pumpkin filling — for only 2 grams of fat and 140 calories (American Journal of Public Health, February 1997).

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