The short answer is yes because even in the Philippines, where, as Ponseca points out, ube is an everyday thing, the flavors of items that are called “ube” are flavored with extract and ube halaya — which is made of the root, and additives like dairy, and sugar, making it a dessert in and of itself, per Catherine Zhang. The blogger writes, “Ube halaya, aka purple yam jam or ube jam, is a popular Filipino dessert made with ube, dairy, and sugar and is the most common way to prepare ube for desserts. This can be eaten as it is, but ube halaya is often used as a base to create ube cakes, cookies…”
But ube in and of itself is another story. Per SFGate, 3.5 ounces of ube provides 120 calories, no fat, 1 gram of protein, 27 grams of carbs, as well as 4 grams of fiber. Healthline goes on to say that ube packs 40% of the daily value needed for Vitamin C, and it is rich in anthocyanins which are anti-inflammatory, help reduce blood pressure, manage type 2 diabetes, and improve asthma symptoms.
So if you’re looking to consume ube in its original form, as the root vegetable, the way nature intended, you’d be enjoying the nutty, sweet flavor of a nutritional powerhouse. But if you eat ube-flavored cakes and sweets, you’re likely consuming empty calories of the ilk that Medical News Today warns us about.