Butternut squash is a type of squash that has become very popular over the last few years. The reason for its popularity is its variable culinary nature. This unique product is prepared and consumed in numerous ways like sautéed, toasted, and roasted. Many people make it into a puree for soups such as squash soup. It can also be mashed and used in casseroles, muffins, pies, and even bread.
You may have seen some popular recipes that contain butternut squash circling the internet. However, you are on a low-carb diet, and especially if you are on the keto diet, you need to be extra careful. Therefore, you are left thinking: “Can I have butternut squash on a keto diet?”
Well, to get the answer to your question, keep on reading!
What is Butternut Squash?
Apart from its most common name, this product is also known as butternut pumpkin or gramma in Australia and New Zealand. It is a type of winter squash that grows on vines. Botanically, this is a fruit, but people use it as a vegetable. It belongs to the same family as Waltham, Ponca, pumpkin, and calabaza.
Its skin is pale yellow, while the inside pulp is bright orange with a compartment for its seed- which is on the flowering end of the product. Its flavor is sweet, with a slight nuttiness- similar to a pumpkin. As it ripens, its insides become a richer orange color, and the taste becomes sweeter.
Just like other species of squash, this species is also native to the Western Hemisphere. It originates in northern Argentina near the Andes or certain Andean valleys. Today it is widely spread, produced, and consumed all across the Globe.
Butternut Squash Nutrition Facts
Below is the nutritional information on 100 grams of butternut squash. Keep in mind that the nutrition facts may vary due to differences in preparation, as well as if there are other ingredients added. For this reason, we have added the nutritional information of raw, baked, and boiled products. (*) (*) (*)
|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|
Apart from being a low-calorie food, this pumpkin-like product is rich in many nutrients. Some of them are vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and many more.
It is rich in carotenoids like beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and alpha-carotene. These carotenoids are what give it its bright orange color. They are compounds of provitamin A- which your body turns to retinoic acid and retinal. They are the active forms of vitamin A. These active forms of vitamin A are significant for many functions such as immune function, eye health, regulation of cell growth, and maintaining bone health. It is also an essential nutrient for fetal development and growth. (*)
Another nutrient that this product has plenty of is vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant. It also has functions in carnitine, and catecholamine metabolism, and essential cofactor for collagen biosynthesis. (*)
Both of these vitamins, as well as vitamin E- work as antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage caused by free radicals. They do that by binding to the free radical, so it is no longer free to do any oxidative damage. (*)
You can see the antioxidant activity of beta-carotene and vitamin A through their cancer-preventive properties. For example, a review of 19 studies concluded that people with the highest intake of vitamin A have a 24% lower chance of developing lung cancer. Similar findings were found in a review of vitamin C- the risk for developing lung cancer lowered by 7% for every 100 mg of this vitamin. (*) (*)
Another study showed that eating orange and yellow colored produce lowers the risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Scientists think that this effect is achieved by reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, and controlling the expression of specific genes related to heart disease. (*) (*)
Is Butternut Squash Keto?
Butternut squash is low-calorie, sweet-tasting fruit that people consume in many ways. Nutritionally, it is not high in calories as it contains only 45 calories in its raw form for a serving of 100 grams. Its main component is carbs- at 11.7 grams of total carbs and 2 grams of fiber. That leaves us with 9.7 grams of net carbs of raw product, or 7.3 grams of net carbs when you bake it.
It is also rich in other essential micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium, and others. All of them have many health benefits.
However, the real question is- can you have it on a keto or a low-carb diet? Well, the answer is not as simple as black and white. It greatly depends on how you are doing the low-carb or keto diet. While 7 grams of net carbs does not seem that much, if you are doing strict keto it means that takes up almost half of your daily allowance. So, for you, it might not be the best idea to consume it.
If you are not on a strict keto diet or you are doing low-carb, and you want to have some butternut squash- you can go ahead and eat it. Just make sure you carefully watch out your serving size- as it can be easy to overeat on this tasty sweet product.
This food is low in carbs compared to other root vegetables.
It is not strictly keto-friendly but it can still be okay as long as it is consumed in a moderate amount.
There are 7.3 grams of net carbs per 100 grams serving.
This product is a tasty, sweet, and nutty type of squash native to the Western Hemisphere, originating in northern Argentina near the Andes, or certain Andean valleys. It has yellow skin, and its inside is bright orange.
It is low in calories and has a moderate amount of carbs. It is also rich in many essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, and others. The vitamins it contains are antioxidants that help lower the risks for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. They also play a role in collagen production, cell growth, immune response, fetal development, eye health, and more.
When it comes to the keto diet, it is not strictly keto-friendly. In one 100 grams, this food contains almost half of a strict keto dieter’s daily carbs. However, if you are not on a strict keto diet or you are on a low-carb diet, and you want to have it- you can. Just make sure to be mindful of the serving size, and you can enjoy this sweet food.
See more: Is spaghetti squash keto?
*image by AtlasStudio/depositphotos