Would you believe that squash could sustain you in the afterlife?
Some Native American peoples believed that.
But we want to see how butternuts squash fit on the keto diet.
If you follow this diet you might be asking yourself:
Is butternut squash keto friendly?
The answer to this question is a resounding maybe. Butternut squash can be included in the keto diet, but only sparingly.
If you want to know why that is then keep reading to find out more about butternut squash and its place in the keto diet.
Let’s dive in!
What is butternut squash?
Wondering what exactly a butternut squash is, can be somewhat essential for the keto diet.
We know veggies and fruits can be hit or miss on the keto.
Butternut squash is an interesting one, as it is a fruit but it’s most often used as a vegetable.
Its appearance more closely resembles a zucchini, while its contents and taste more closely to fruit. Some have even compared it to pumpkins.
Nutritional content for butternut squash
To more accurately measure if butternut squash is good for keto, we must look at its nutritional content and see how it related to keto requirements. (*)
Here’s the truth:
These values can vary depending on a few factors like how butternut squash is prepared and served, what other ingredients were added, or how it was cooked.
Butternut squash nutrition facts per 100 grams:
- Total carbohydrates 10 grams
- Dietary fiber 3.2 grams
- Sugars 2 grams
- Total fat 0.1 grams
- Calories 40
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Protein 0.9 grams
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
|Cooked||Calories||Fat||Protein||Total Carbs||Fiber||Net Carbs|
|Raw||45 kcal||0.1 grams||1 gram||11.7 grams||2 grams||9.7 grams|
|Baked||40 kcal||0.09 grams||0.9 grams||10.5 grams||3.2 grams||7.3 grams|
|Boiled||39 kcal||0.07 grams||1.23 grams||10 grams||N/A|
As we see it, butternut squash contains a fair amount of carbs and not as many fats.
What this means for the keto diet?
Butternut squash is not the perfect ingredient for the keto diet.
To highlight the positives, butternut squash is not processed food and doesn’t contain any extra sweeteners, oils, or other harmful additives.
Is butternut squash keto friendly?
Many vegetables and fruit can be used in the keto diet, but most often than not, many of them have to be closely checked for their carb contents.
Where then, does butternut squash fall under the keto diet use?
What are some keto health benefits of butternut squash?
Aside from its low caloric intake, butternut squash has other health benefits due to its nutrient loaded composition.
Many opt to use butternut squash for these highly beneficial health advantages, but also for its delicious flavor.
- Does butternut squash have nutrients?
Butternut squash is a great source of a plethora of nutrients including:
- Vitamin A – implicitly involved in organ function, promoting healthy eyesight
- B-vitamins thiamine and pyridoxine – turns nutrients in the body into energy
- Calcium – for bone health
- Potassium – to maintain adequate levels of fluids inside the body’s cells
- Magnesium – for the proper function of nerves and muscles as well as producing energy
- Manganese – aids in developing connective tissue, blood clotting factors, and bones
- Vitamin C – the all-praised vitamin, beneficial in repairing all body tissues, and fights neurodegenerative diseases linked with oxidative stress.
There is no shortage in nutrients for butternut squash and many are promoted to have some health benefit in the works.
- Rich source of antioxidants for the keto
Butternut squash contains carotenoids such as beta and alpha carotene, which give it a bright orange color. (*)
Even more so!
Carotenoids have antioxidant properties and this means they reduce disease risks for cancer and eye problems. (*)
Another antioxidant present in butternut squash is polysaccharide, and this can greatly reduce free radicals from the body. (*)
- Keto immunity booster
Its array of minerals, vitamins, and carotenoids for antioxidant components, makes butternut squash a formidable immunity booster. (*)
Studies even show that beta-carotene has the ability to reduce natural killer cells in elderly men.
These killer cells exhibit immunity to viruses and tumors which is helpful in treating many health problems. (*)
- Blood pressure balancing and heart health
Existing nutrients in butternut squash provide health benefits that regulate blood pressure.
- Potassium is one such nutrient that is vital in lowering blood pressure levels. Blood pressure is balanced with potassium by affecting sodium levels in the body. (*)
- Dietary potassium has been shown in many studies to prevent hypertension. (*)
- Dealing with hypertension will inadvertently promote better health for the heart too.
- Combats chronic disease
Vitamin C is not only promoted to be good for strengthening immunity but has many other benefits to it as well, such as:
- Lowers risks of chronic disease
- Decreases risk of lung cancer
Butternut squash is thus a good source of vitamin C.
- Offers protection against mental decline
Alzheimer’s has been revealed to be greatly slowed down with enough vitamin E intake. (*)
Luckily, vitamin E is one that is found in butternut squash and can be easily integrated into your diet.
Potential keto disadvantages of butternut squash
Butternut squash has higher amounts of carbs, and this will mean measuring out the necessary macros if you want to include it in your diet.
We always recommend always moderation!
Apart from a high concentration of carbs, here are a few other side effects that come with consuming butternut squash.
Among these we count:
- Stomach irritation
- Upset bowels
- Allergic reaction on your skin that can lead to dermatitis when peeling or cutting the squash – rare but possible outcome
Whenever possible we suggest you wear gloves if you know you have sensitive skin, but still want to prepare butternut squash.
Butternut squash for keto
If you face issues with carbs and are preoccupied that butternut squash will kick you out of ketosis, there are a few options you can make use of.
- Balance out carbs
Eating butternut squash solely as one meal may not be the best idea.
We think you should carefully add butternut squash within a well balanced keto meal so it won’t affect ketosis.
Here’s how to do this:
A few cubes in a one-pot meal or with coconut cream soup can work for keto. Coconut will supply necessary fats and some beef or chicken will bring proteins.
- How to cook butternut squash?
Butternut squash is mostly treated as a vegetable even if it’s a fruit, so cooking it also emulates certain veggie recipes.
- Bake and mash butternut squash with milk, salt, and cinnamon, similar to potato mash
- Add a few cubes in a carb balancing stew with other keto friendly veggies
- Butternut squash made into a pureed soup with seasoning and milk
- Baked with salt, pepper, olive oil, and some other keto veggies
With butternut squash, it’s always the case of adding certain fats and pairing it with other low carb ingredients to balance its own carbs.
- Replace butternut with other squashes
The easiest solution to dealing with high-carb butternut is to find a different squash that has fewer carbs.
- Zucchini – a source of vitamin A, with higher water intake and fewer carbs
- Summer squash – rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene much like butternut squash
Both zucchini and summer squash have thinner skin and less starch or carb content.
Bonus: Our Favourite Keto Butternut Squash Casserole Recipe
Get recipe: lowcarbquick.com
- What squashes are keto friendly?
While butternut squash is not 100% keto friendly it can be a part of the keto diet within reason, and we encourage careful calculation of macros.
Besides it, there are other squashes that can be even higher on keto friendly scale.
Some of these keto approved squashes are:
- Summer squash (even the yellow variety)
- Spaghetti squash
- Acorn squash
- Delicata squash
Bare in mind!
It’s still a good idea to maintain a healthy balance with any squash on the keto diet.
- Do butternut squash have carbs?
One cup of butternut squash can contain about 22 grams of carbs which is in fact a high quantity for keto. (*)
So what’s to be done?
To have this delicious autumnal treat as a seasonal ingredient, we suggest you use as little as you can and add other low carb ingredients to the meal to compensate.
Butternut squash can work for the keto, but with careful planning.
- What squash is lowest in carbs?
With a carb count of 6.5 grams per cup, the spaghetti squash reigns supreme as the lowest in carbs among the squash varieties. (*)
Gluten free and low in carbs, it’s a favorite both in the keto community and gluten intolerant one.
- Is butternut squash considered low-carb?
Butternut squash is quite high in carbs as it relates to other vegetable options. But this is where other options come in handy.
Combinations of butternut squash and other low carb veggies balance the scales of carbs and make it more keto friendly.
The bottom line
In the quest to answer the question is butternut squash keto friendly, we encounter other obstacles.
But you’re in luck!
The world of keto is all so richly developed that is can accommodate butternut squash if paired with other low carb ingredients.
Butternut squash has enough health benefits that it deserves a spot on the keto, and it can be included with moderation and attention.
So try it out!
This autumn you can jump on the bandwagon with butternut squash and its deliciously seasonal appeal.
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- The complete low carb vegetables on keto diet list!