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Is Squash Keto? - Butternut, Spaghetti, & Yellow Squash

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023


There are many different varieties of squash that can be used as a side dish or can even act as a substitute for your favorite comfort foods—but is squash keto-friendly? 


Its rich, starchy texture might make you think that it has too many carbs to eat on a keto diet. Surprisingly, squash is very low in net carbs and is a wonderful addition to a ketogenic diet

butternut squash

How many carbs are in squash?


Because squash is so starchy, people often wonder, is squash keto-approved? Generally, squash contains about half the total carbs of a potato. Squash is very high in dietary fiber, so it’s low in grams of net carbs. The total carbs in squash vary depending on the specific variety. 


Butternut squash

A 100-gram serving of butternut squash contains the following:


  • 45 calories

  • 0.1 g fat

  • 12 g carbohydrates

  • 2 g fiber

  • 1 g protein 


This rich and delicious squash will make you second guess if it’s keto-friendly. The good news is that it is! 


Although butternut squash is higher in net carbohydrates than some of the other types of squash, it will not prevent you from losing weight when consumed in moderation. 


Spaghetti squash

A 100-gram serving of spaghetti squash contains the following:


  • 31 calories

  • 0.6 g fat

  • 7 g  carbohydrates

  • 1.5 g fiber

  • 0.6 g protein


Spaghetti squash has a spaghetti-like texture that is the perfect keto-friendly alternative to pasta. 


Yellow Squash

Yellow squash is a type of summer squash that has a big flavor with a low net carb count. Here are the nutrition facts for a 100-gram serving of yellow squash:


  • 31 calories 

  • 0.4 grams of fat

  • 7 grams of carbohydrates

  • 2.2 grams of fiber

  • 2.4 grams of protein

 

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash and a delicious squash to eat on a low-carb diet. A 100-gram serving of acorn squash contains:

 

  • 40 calories 

  • 0.1 grams of fat 

  • 10 grams of carbohydrates

  • 1.5 grams of fiber

  • 0.8 grams of protein


Winter squash generally has a slightly higher carb count than summer varieties. When consumed in moderation, varieties of winter squash that are higher in carbs are still suitable for a keto lifestyle. Just be sure to pay attention to your daily net carbs.


Other squash

Other varieties of squash—like kabocha squash and zucchini—are also low in net carbs. There are about 6.5 net carbs in a one-cup serving of kabocha squash and less than 3 grams of net carbs in one cup of zucchini. 


There are several other varieties of squash, like banana squash, chayote squash, and various species of pumpkin. All squash is suitable for low-carb diets. 


Watch this video to learn more about adding squash to a ketogenic diet. 


Can you have squash on keto?


Yes! You can enjoy squash on a ketogenic diet. 


When you’re in ketosis, it’s important to eat plenty of leafy greens and other keto-friendly vegetables. Not only is this important for optimal health, but it will also help you feel your best. 


Eating plenty of vegetables helps to avoid many of the negative side effects associated with keto and keto-adaptation. 


Squash has a significant amount of dietary fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied on keto. Squash has a low glycemic load, so it has a minimal effect on insulin and blood sugar levels. 


As long as you are eating the correct foods and keeping your net carbs between 20 and 50 grams per day, you can safely enjoy squash on keto.



Health benefits of squash


The word squash is a Native American word that means “eaten raw or uncooked.” Loaded with vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, manganese, and potassium, squash is not only keto-friendly, but it’s also excellent for your overall health. 


Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that plays a crucial role in the health of your immune system. Studies show that oxidative damage is also linked to several chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer.


A whole yellow squash has more than half of the vitamin C that you need in one day. Butternut squash contains 35% of the RDA for vitamin C. 




This study, published in Food Science and Nutrition, evaluates the bioactivity of the seeds and skin of butternut squash. Researchers determined that “butternut squash is beneficial in combating macular degeneration, heart health, and immune function due to the quite high level of carotenoids which are able to convert to vitamin A in the body”. 


The cell walls of butternut squash contain pectin, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties, protects against diabetes, and helps regulate insulin levels. 

spaghetti squash keto-friendly

How to enjoy squash on a keto diet


If you want to add more squash to your diet, there are plenty of nutritious keto recipes to choose from. 


This spaghetti squash carbonara is the perfect substitute for a delicious pasta dinner. 


You may even find that you enjoy squash spaghetti more than conventional wheat spaghetti! Packed full of bacon and creamy cheese, this dish is 100% keto-approved. 


This keto-friendly lasagna uses zucchini instead of pasta for a delicious low-carb meal. Try these crispy baked keto chips also made out of zucchini. There are so many keto recipes that incorporate squash in surprising yet delicious ways.


If you want to keep it simple, any squash can be roasted or sauteed with olive oil and sea salt. Roasted butternut squash can be a delicious side dish, or you can even make a butternut squash soup. 

yellow squash keto-friendly

Key takeaways



Low-carb eating doesn’t have to be boring or leave you feeling deprived. There are so many keto foods and comfort food alternatives that are not only delicious and satisfying but healthy too. 


Squash is a keto-friendly vegetable that comes in many different varieties, is low in net carbs, and is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Squash is a great vegetable to add to your diet plan today!



FAQ


1. What kind of squash is keto-friendly?

Yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash are all keto-friendly. Just make sure to keep track of the grams of net carbs that you’re consuming.



2. What squash is not keto-friendly?

Although the carb content of squash varies depending on the type of squash you’re eating, all squash is keto-friendly. Butternut squash, acorn squash, and other winter squash have more carbohydrates than some other varieties of squash, but you can still enjoy them in small servings! 


Pay close attention to your net carbs when consuming butternut squash, acorn squash, kabocha squash, and other winter varieties. 


3. Does squash stop ketosis?

As long as your total carb intake for the day is between 20 and 50 grams of carbs, you will remain in ketosis. Some people like to check for ketosis after eating certain foods, but this can produce misleading results. Whenever you eat, you spike insulin, even if you’re not consuming carbs. 


4. Is squash considered low-carb? 

Yes! Squash is considered low in carbs and has a low glycemic load. This means that it has a minimal effect on insulin.


5. Is all squash low-carb?

While some squash varieties are lower in carbohydrates than others, all squash is considered low-carb. Butternut squash, for example, has a higher number of total carbs than yellow squash and other summer squash. This just means that you should consume smaller servings of butternut squash on keto. 


6. What kind of squash is low-carb?

All squash is considered a low-carbohydrate food. Summer squash like yellow squash and zucchini have the least carbs, while winter varieties have more. All squash is fine to eat on a low-carb diet as long as you don’t go over your daily net carb allotment. 


7. How much squash can you eat on keto?

The amount of squash that you can eat on keto will vary depending on the carb content of the squash. Summer squash, like yellow squash and zucchini, have a lower carb content and can be consumed in larger quantities. Winter varieties like butternut and acorn squash should be consumed in moderation. Keep your net carbs between 20 and 50 grams per day to remain in ketosis.


8. Why is acorn squash not keto?

Acorn squash is higher in carbohydrates than some of the other varieties of squash, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t keto-friendly. When consuming squash with a higher carb content, just be sure to pay attention to your serving size and the grams of net carbs consumed.  


9. Is spaghetti squash safe on keto?

A one-cup serving of spaghetti squash contains about 5.5 net carbs, making it perfectly safe for keto. Spaghetti squash is an excellent keto-friendly alternative to pasta. It’s surprisingly easy to make and creates “noodles” effortlessly. 


10. Is squash nutritious?

Squash has many nutritional benefits! It’s high in potassium, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and many other important vitamins and minerals. 

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