Spaghetti Squash - Calories, Health Benefits, and Carbs

Carbohydrate and Nutritional Information for Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti sqush whole and cut
If you look carefully, you can see "rings" in the cut squash - these are the strands that are easily separated out after cooking. Paul Johnson/E+/Getty Images

Spaghetti squash is beloved among those of us who are watching our carbs, as it is way higher in nutrients and way lower in carbohydrate and calories than pasta is. Why is this vegetable a pasta substitute? Because after you cook it, you can separate the flesh into thin strands somewhat similar to spaghetti, and then serve it with red sauce, pesto, or whatever pasta sauce and toppings you like. I also use it as a substitute for spaghetti in casseroles such as Chicken or Turkey Tetrazzini.

History: Unlike most squashes, which originated in the New World, spaghetti squash is said to come from China, where there are images of people in Manchuria serving it in the 1920's (although I can't find a source for how it got to China -- many seeds have been passed around the globe for hundreds of years).  Seeds were first sold in the United States in 1936 as Vegetable Spaghetti, but it didn't begin to be popular for another fifty years.

Find out:

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Spaghetti Squash

  • ½ cup cooked spaghetti squash: 4 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 1 gram fiber and 21 calories
  • 1 oz. cooked spaghetti squash: 1.5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus .5 gram fiber and 8 calories
  • 4 oz cooked spaghetti squash (¼ lb): 5.5 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 30 calories

    Glycemic Index for Spaghetti Squash

    One glycemic index study of "winter squash" reported an average of 41.

    More Information About the Glycemic Index

    Glycemic Load of Spaghetti Squash

    • ½ cup cooked spaghetti squash: 1
    • 1 oz. cooked spaghetti squash: 1
    • 4 oz cooked spaghetti squash (¼ lb): 2

    More Information About the Glycemic Load

    Health Benefits of Spaghetti Squash

    Spaghetti squash is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. It is a fair source of niacin, pantothenic acid, and potassium.

    Low-Carb Recipes with Spaghetti Squash

    More Carb Profiles:

    Leroux, MarcusFoster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).
    USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.

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