Is Pumpkin Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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To stay in ketosis your carbohydrate consumption has to be low enough. Find out whether pumpkin is keto-friendly enough for you.

100 grams of boiled pumpkin contain around 3.8 grams of net carbohydrates which comes down to total carbs minus fiber.

Some people may have to pay attention to their portion size if they already ate a lot of carbs but pumpkin is generally relatively keto-friendly.

You can eat it on its own or as a part of keto-friendly recipes like pumpkin soup.

Something else to note is that you don’t necessarily have to eat pumpkin on keto. There are a variety of food alternatives that could align with your tastes and health goals too.

Carbs in pumpkin

The number of carbohydrates in pumpkin and the other foods in your diet is one of the main nutrition details to keep in mind on keto diets.

100 grams of cooked pumpkin contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 4.9 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.8 grams

There are situations where these 3.8 grams of net carbohydrates in 100 grams of cooked pumpkin can kick you out of ketosis.

That being said, compared to many other foods, this is still relatively low-carb. In turn, you can say that pumpkin is relatively keto-friendly.

One cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin is about 245 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 12 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 9.3 grams

As you can expect, bigger portions of pumpkin also mean bigger amounts of carbs.

Not many people consider eating an entire cup of cooked and mashed pumpkin but these individuals may have to think twice before doing so.

In combination with other foods, 9.3 grams of net carbs can be a lot if you want to stay in ketosis.

Other nutrients in pumpkin

Carbohydrates are important on keto but at the same time, they are not the only nutrients in pumpkin that matter.

Fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals still influence whether you stay in ketosis and how good your general health will be.

100 grams of cooked pumpkin contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 0.7 grams
  • Carbs: 4.9 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 1.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Vitamin A: 100% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin C: 8% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 5% of the DV
  • Copper: 5% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Pumpkin is not that impressive when it comes to other nutrients but they are definitely welcome.

You do likely want to consume foods that are more nutritious than pumpkin too to keep your ketogenic diet healthy.

Carbs in pumpkin soup

One of the benefits of pumpkin is that you can use it in many types of recipes including soup.

Something important to note about this dish is that its nutritional details can vary a lot from recipe to recipe.

Soup is often relatively keto-friendly because you water down the ingredients so much. In turn, the number of carbs per 100 grams goes down a lot.

On the other, many typical pumpkin soup recipes use ingredients like potatoes that raise the number of carbs in it a lot.

100 grams of one example of pumpkin soup contains 6.67 grams of total carbs, 0.4 grams of fiber, and in turn, 6.27 grams of net carbs (2).

This typical example of pumpkin soup is not that keto-friendly. Mostly because the 100 grams are so easy to consume.

That being said, there are plenty of low-carb-friendly pumpkin soups too.

Carbs in pumpkin puree

You can also mash pumpkin into a puree. Potentially as a low-carb replacement for regular mashed potatoes.

Pumpkin puree will more or less contain the same amounts of carbohydrates as the boiled pumpkin used above. This means about 3.8 grams of net carbs per 100 grams (1).

In turn, you can say that pumpkin puree is relatively keto-friendly too.

Carbs in canned pumpkin

It is also common to put pumpkin into cans. The nutrition data implies that this changes the number of carbs slightly.

100 grams of one example of canned pumpkin contains the following amounts of carbs (3):

  • Total carbs: 8.1 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2.9 grams
  • Net carbs: 5.2 grams

This means canned pumpkin is less keto-friendly than the regular version.

You could still be able to consume it in a keto-friendly way but you may need to more attention to portion sizes.

Carbs in pumpkin seeds

You can also eat the seeds of this popular orange food. 100 grams of roasted pumpkin seeds with shells contain the following amounts of carbs (4):

  • Total carbs: 14.7 grams
  • Of which fiber: 6.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 8.2 grams

This makes it so pumpkin seeds are not that keto-friendly. You will likely have to exercise some portion control to stay in ketosis.

Why pumpkin can sometimes kick you out of ketosis

Even though pumpkin is considered to be low-carb, there are cases where it can kick you out of ketosis. To avoid this it can be helpful to quickly go over the keto basics again.

Ketogenic diets are basically any way of eating where you get into ketosis. This is a state where your body mainly uses fat as fuel (5).

To achieve ketosis you have to limit your carb and potentially pumpkin intake enough. Exactly what is enough depends on details like your body weight, muscle mass, activity, levels, and more.

This makes the reality more complicated but there are some rough general guidelines to help you get an idea of what this diet takes.

A typical recommendation is that you want to get 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates to get and stay in ketosis.

In practice, this will mean eating around 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day for most people.

You typically don’t include fiber in these amounts even though it is a category of carbohydrates. Your body processes fiber in more keto-friendly ways.

How much pumpkin can you have on keto?

To estimate how much pumpkin you can have on keto you want to count more or less how many carbs you can eat a day and how many carbs the other foods in your diet have.

Then, you can see how much pumpkin would contain the remaining carbs you can eat.

For example, if you conclude that you could eat 23.8 grams of net carbs a day and you already ate 20 grams of carbohydrates today, you would be able to eat about 100 grams of cooked pumpkin (3.8 grams of net carbs).

This is not perfect since eating more fiber reduces how much food spikes your blood sugar etc. However, it is a way to get started without measuring your ketones.

Is pumpkin soup keto?

Pumpkin soup can vary a lot in terms of nutrient content. To be able to apply the ketogenic diet fundamentals from above you want to have an idea of how many carbs your particular recipe includes.

One example of pumpkin soup contains around 6.27 grams of net carbs (2).

You could still stay in ketosis after consuming this but the number of carbs does add up. Especially since it is easy to drink 100 grams of pumpkin soup.

In turn, it is fair to say that this example of pumpkin soup is not that keto-friendly.

Substitutes for pumpkin on keto

Pumpkin is botanically a fruit but in the kitchen, you typically use it similar to vegetables.

There are a variety of other good low-carb vegetables (or vegetable-like foods). You could prefer these over pumpkin or simply want to switch up your keto diet.

The values next to the vegetables are the amounts of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11):

  • Chicory: 0.9 grams of net carbs
  • Spinach: 1.4 grams of net carbs
  • Green leaf lettuce: 1.5 grams of net carbs
  • Celery: 1.8 grams of net carbs
  • Radishes: 1.9 grams of net carbs
  • Asparagus: 2.1 grams of net carbs

These pumpkin substitutes could make it easier for you to stay in ketosis but do keep in mind they still contain carbs.

That means there are situations where you may need to keep your portions small.

Why do you want to stay in ketosis?

Pumpkin is reasonably low-carb but it is possible that the extra carbohydrates are enough to kick you out of ketosis. Whether this is a problem and to what extent depends on why you are following a keto diet.

For example, there are individuals who need/want to stay in strict ketosis every minute of the day. These people want to be careful with their pumpkin portions and the other foods they eat.

On the other hand, if you want to lose weight and/or become healthier, pumpkin can be good even if it kicks you out of ketosis.

A ketogenic diet can be helpful but it is often not the only way to achieve the health goals above.

Can I eat pumpkin on a keto diet?

Cooked pumpkin contains around 3.8 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. Whether you can eat this food on keto and in what amounts depends on many details like the other foods in your diet, your weight, your activity levels, etc. That being said, many people will be able to eat at least some pumpkin on a keto diet.

Is pumpkin high in carbs?

100 grams of cooked pumpkin contains around 3.8 grams of net carbs. There are foods that contain fewer carbohydrates but it is fair to say that pumpkin is relatively low in carbs.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.