Are Pumpkin Seeds Keto-Friendly?


Since pumpkin seeds are fairly low in carbs, yet contain a good amount of healthy fats, they are a Keto-friendly food if enjoyed in moderation (¼ cup serving).  Be careful not to overindulge – measure out your serving size to ensure you stay within the parameters of the Keto diet.

carbs in pumpkin seeds

How Many Carbs are in Pumpkin Seeds?

A ¼ cup serving is recommended as this amount contains only 6 grams of carbs. 

If you were to eat a full cup of pumpkin seeds (kernel only, no husk), you would consume 34 grams of carbs.  A 1-ounce serving contains 15 grams of carbs.

How Many Calories are in Pumpkin Seeds?

A ¼ cup of shelled pumpkin seeds contains 187 calories.

Origin of Pumpkin Seeds

It is believed that pumpkins originated in North America, although seeds from related plants have been found in Mexico dating back to 5500 B.C.

References to pumpkins date back quite a few centuries. The name pumpkin originated from the Greek word for “large melon” also known as the “pepon.” The word “Pepon” was revised by the French and changed into the name “pompon.”  Then, the English changed the name “pompon” to “Pumpion.” Finally, American colonists came along and changed the name from “pumpion” to “pumpkin”, which we know it as today.

Pumpkins were a staple in the Native American Indians’ diets centuries before the pilgrims arrived.  The American Indians would also dry strips of pumpkin to weave into into mats. Indians would also roast long strips of pumpkin on the open fire to eat. When caucasian settlers arrived, they saw how the Native Americans ate pumpkin and pumpkin seeds, which soon became a staple in their diets as well.  

As of today, pumpkins and their seeds are used in a wide variety of recipes from to stews, soups and desserts.  Pumpkin pie was invented when the colonists sliced off the pumpkin top, took out the seeds, and then filled it with milk, honey and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves). The stuffed pumpkin was then baked in the hot ash of a dying fire.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

pumpkin seeds keto

Pumpkin seeds are rich in Vitamin K, a nutrient that is missing in most foods.  They’re also a great source of iron, copper manganese and magnesium.  In fact, in just a ¼ cup serving of pumpkin seeds, you will get nearly 50% of your daily value of magnesium. Diets high in dietary magnesium reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.  Magnesium is also important for keeping your blood sugar levels and blood pressure stable.

Pumpkin seeds offer 1/3 your daily iron needs. Pumpkin seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Both of these fatty acids promote a healthy diet.  Pumpkin seeds don’t just offer a supply of omegas, they also provide the inactive omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, which gets converted into gamma-linolenic acid which acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Pumpkin seeds also contain many antioxidants and a decent amount of potassium, riboflavin and folate.

Nutritional Facts

Carbs 6 grams
Dietary Fiber 1 grams
Sugar 0 grams
Fat 12 grams
Saturated Fat 2 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat 7 grams
Monounsaturated Fat 4 grams
Trans Fat 0 grams
Protein 9 grams
Sodium 10 grams

*Based on a ¼ cup Serving of Pumpkin seeds

Interesting Facts About Pumpkin Seeds

eating pumpkin seeds in keto diet
  • Pumpkin seeds were once used in traditional medicine by indigenous people of North America to rid people of tapeworms and other intestinal parasites.
  • In South America, the history of pumpkin seeds has been traced back as far as 1300 AD in Aztec cultures.
  • Recent studies show ground pumpkin seeds improves insulin regulation in diabetic animals and prevents kidney disruption associated with diabetes.
  • Pumpkins bred for jack-o-lanterns have a larger seed cavity, longer stems, and thinner walls for easier carving.  Pumpkins for eating tend to be smaller and more solid, with a smaller seed cavity.
  • The flat white seeds that you scoop out are the unshelled, milder-tasting edible seeds.  The smaller green seeds, also known as “pepitas” are the hulled version.
  • Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) are nutritional powerhouses! A quarter cup boasts 10 grams of protein as well as essential magnesium, iron, and zinc.
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil makes a great salad dressing, but you shouldn’t cook with it as it has a very low smoke point and can turn bitter when heated.  It can even be drizzled on desserts as it has a nice nutty flavour.
  • Pumpkins were once called “gros melons”.  The first instance they were referred to as “pumpkins” was in the movie Cinderella.
  • Each pumpkin contains about 500 seeds.
  • Pumpkins are technically fruit.
  • There are over 45 different varieties of pumpkins.
  • Every single part of the pumpkin is edible, including the rind, flesh and seeds.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees farenheit.
  2. Toss seeds in a bowl with oil and salt. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown, while flipping occasionally.
  3. If you want to hull the seeds, after roasting, simply pick the white shell off or enjoy them with the shell on – whichever you prefer.  The white seeds make a great snack, while pepitas are great added to salads, soups, or granola.

Related Questions:   

Are Pumpkin Seeds Fattening?

Consuming too many pumpkin seeds could cause weight gain, if you eat more than the recommended serving size.  If you were to eat an entire cup of roasted pumpkin seeds, you would consume 677 calories and 34 grams of carbs, which is much too high for most low carb or calorie restrictive diets. Foods like nuts and seeds are still high in fat, which tends to increase the calorie count.

As with most foods, overindulging can cause you to gain weight, so stick to a ¼ cup serving of pumpkin seeds which yields only 187 calories and a moderate 6 grams of carbs.

Are Pumpkin Seeds Safe to Eat?

pumpkin seeds is keto

Phytic acid is a natural compound that plants produce to protect themselves from predators. You can find phytic acid in pumpkin seeds, along with Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseed.  Phytic acid can also be tough to digest, which is especially problematic if you already suffer from gut issues like dysbiosis or leaky gut.  However, phytic acid isn’t quite as bad as some people make it out to be.

While it does impair the absorption of some nutrients like zinc, iron, and calcium, this only applies to the meal you consume containing phytic acid and not your entire daily food intake.

If you’re concerned about the phytic acid, avoid consuming massive amounts of nuts, seeds, and legumes.

You need high-quality sources of omega-6 fatty acids to thrive, but too many can cause inflammation and throw off your omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratios.  As long as you stay away from unhealthy fats, like vegetable oil, while following the Keto diet and eat plenty of good fats, then you won’t become omega-6 dominant.

Make sure to eat pumpkin seeds as a part of a diverse keto diet with plenty of low-carb veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats to ensure you receive all the nutrients your body requires.

Are Pumpkin Seeds Gluten-Free?

If you’re gluten intolerant or have a sensitivity to gluten, you’ll be pleased to find out that pumpkin seeds are in fact gluten free.  However, this only applies to non-flavored versions of these nuts. Some flavored nuts that are gluten free as well, just be sure to check the ingredients label on the packaging.

If you enjoy your time with having some pumpkin seeds you may also to check about carbs in sunflower seeds

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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