Butternut Squash Carb and Nutrient Information

Butternut squash
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 Butternut squash, also known as butternut pumpkin in Australia and New Zealand, is one of the most popular of the winter squashes. It has similar nutrients to pumpkin, although it has more starch and sugar than pumpkin. Like other squashes, the seeds can be roasted and eaten.

The easiest way to prepare butternut squash is to roast it by splitting it in half (lengthwise), scooping out the seeds, and baking them at 350 F until soft (about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on size).

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can be prepared in a variety of ways. Here are carbohydrate and fiber counts for different portions and methods of preparation:

  • ½ cup raw butternut squash cubed: 7 grams of effective (net) carbohydrates, plus 1.4 grams of fiber and 32 calories.
  • ½ cup cooked butternut squash, mashed: 10 grams of net carbohydrates, plus 2 grams of fiber and 49 calories.

  • 1 cup baked butternut squash, cubed: 14.9 grams of net carbohydrates, plus 6.6 grams of fiber and 82 calories.

  • 1 oz. raw butternut squash: 3 grams of effective (net) carbohydrates, plus .5 grams of fiber and 13 calories.
  • 4 oz. raw butternut squash (¼ lb): 11 grams of effective (net) carbohydrates, plus 2.5 grams of fiber and 50 calories.

Glycemic Index for Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has a glycemic index of 51 for an 80-gram serving, which is about 1/3 cup. One glycemic index study of winter squash as a whole reported an average of 41.

It could be that one of the reasons for the relatively low glycemic index of winter squashes is that some of what had been categorized as starch is actually a type of soluble fiber, which also may have antioxidant effects.

Glycemic Load of Butternut Squash

Though the glycemic index for butternut squash is moderate for a winter squash, the glycemic load is low at 3 for an 80-gram serving.

This figure is for plain squash without any seasoning or butter.

Health Benefits of Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is an excellent, low-calorie source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and all the carotenes, especially beta-carotene. It is also a good source of potassium, manganese, vitamin B6, and magnesium. 

Selection and Storage of Butternut Squash

As always with fresh produce, squash that is heavy for its size will be fresher and tastier. Choose squash that has skin that isn't damaged. They can be stored whole for several months if the temperature is kept around 50-60 F. Once they're cut, they need to be wrapped and refrigerated and they'll keep for 3-5 days.

Sources:

Atkinson FS, Foster-Powell K, Brand-Miller JC. International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care 2008; 31(12).

Nara K, Yamaguchi A, Maeda N, Koga, H. Antioxidative Activity of Water-Soluble Polysaccharide in Pumpkin Fruits (Cucurbita Maxima Duchesne). Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. June 2009;73(6):1416-8.

Queensland Government, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. Commercial Production of Pumpkins and Grammas. Updated March 12, 2014.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28, 2016.

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