Squash comes in many shapes, sizes, and varieties, which are broadly grouped into two categories: summer squash and winter squash. Thankfully, both are excellent choices for those struggling with diabetes, meaning that everyone can enjoy squash almost year-round. However, there are some important differences to be aware of.
Summer squash, also known as zucchini, is most commonly found in long, bright yellow, orange, or green varieties. This is an excellent non-starchy vegetable to add to any meal. Being low in carbs and high in fiber, summer squash is kind to your blood glucose levels, scoring just 15 on the glycemic index.
Additionally, zucchini is full of carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which all work to support an overall healthy life.
Winter squash comes in the forms of pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, and spaghetti squash. These winter varieties should be enjoyed with a bit more caution than their summer cousins. Unlike its summer squash, winter squash is considered to be a starchy vegetable, meaning it shouldn’t take up more than one-fourth of your plate. Furthermore, winter squash nearly three times the digestible carbs as summer squash. For these reasons, winter squash varieties often receive a GI score in the moderate to high range.
However, that doesn’t mean you should stay away from winter squash. In fact, studies conducted on animals reveal that extracts from winter squash can reduce both obesity and blood glucose levels. Another study verified this reduction of blood glucose in humans.
So, although it shouldn’t be eaten in excess, definitely make the most out of winter squash when it’s available in the fall and winter!