Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about pumpkin seeds, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Pumpkin seeds are simply the seeds of a pumpkin. Many people throw them away but these seeds are actually very nutritious.
While pumpkin seeds are very high in healthy nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals they are also relatively high in calories.
Pumpkin seeds are definitely better food for weight loss than many processed snacks but on the other hand, there are also a lot of foods that are way more useful when trying to lose weight.
If you do decide to add pumpkin seeds to your diet choose the shelled ones. These contain a lot more fiber per 100 grams which is generally helpful for weight loss.
Micronutrients in pumpkin seeds
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in pumpkin seeds.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of roasted pumpkin seed kernels provides you with approximately (1):
- Manganese: 151% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Magnesium: 134% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 117% of the DV
- Iron: 83% of the DV
- Copper: 69% of the DV
- Vitamin K: 59% of the DV
- Zinc: 50% of the DV
- Potassium: 23% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 19% of the DV
- Thiamin: 14% of the DV
- Folate: 14% of the DV
- Niacin: 9% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 8% of the DV
- Selenium: 8% of the DV
And a few others in smaller amounts. These are extremely good amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams. Pumpkin seeds can get you well on your way to hitting many daily vitamin and mineral goals.
If you combine pumpkin seeds with a healthy diet and you should be able to hit most of your daily vitamin and mineral goals.
Pumpkin seeds also contain anti-oxidants. These are substances that help your body deal with oxidative stress, damage that occurs from day to day. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in pumpkin seeds for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Roasted pumpkin seed kernels contain around 3.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
This is a good amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many other foods.
Interestingly enough shelled roasted pumpkin seeds contain a lot more fiber, about 18.5 grams per 100 grams (2).
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in pumpkin seeds, especially shelled ones, you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a good amount.
Protein in pumpkin seeds for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Roasted pumpkin seed kernels contain about 33 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (3). Pumpkin seeds are a very big source of plant-based protein but also a very big source of protein in general.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in pumpkin seeds is really big for a plant-based source of protein. You will most likely also need protein from other foods but pumpkin seeds can get you well on your way towards your daily protein goals.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Are pumpkin seeds good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can eat pumpkin seeds while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in pumpkin seeds.
Roasted pumpkin seed kernels contain around 522 calories per 100 grams. 55 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (13.4 g per 100 grams of which 3.9 g fiber). That means about 40 calories in a tablespoon (7.5 grams) of pumpkin seeds.
You might be able to fit in some pumpkin seeds in low carb diets like the keto diet.
On the one hand, you have these big amounts of micronutrients, fiber, and plant-based protein but on the other hand, you have this large number of calories.
Roasted pumpkin seed kernels should likely not be your food of choice when trying to lose weight. There are plenty of foods that will help you a lot more.
Shelled roasted pumpkin seeds on the other hand may deserve a spot in your weight loss diet due to the high amount of fiber they have. Because of the fiber, they are a lot more filling while adding less absorbable calories. This in turn may help you avoid higher-calorie foods.
Even shelled roasted pumpkin seeds likely shouldn’t play too big of a role in your weight loss diet.
Do pumpkin seeds burn belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To burn belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since pumpkin seeds are not ideal to lose weight in general this food is also not ideal to burn belly fat.