Serving spaghetti squash to diabetics?

by Audrey
(Orlando, FL)


I want to make Spaghetti Squash. What I need to know is this: what is the glycemic index, carbohydrate and sugar content of spaghetti squash?

I will be serving diabetics and want to use the least amount of sugary foods yet still have a wonderful Italian dinner.

Thanks for your help Matt.

Response:

Hi Audrey and thanks for posting this question. I've done a little research and also spoken to a friend who has similar medical issues.

What I've worked out - referencing these pages here and here - is that one 155g/5.5oz (large!) cooked serving of spaghetti squash contains 42 calories, 3 or 4 of which come from fat. Equally, 4 of the 155 grams are sugar.

The first of the 2 pages above also contains what's called 'glycemic load' information. A typical day's target load is 100/day or less, and one portion of spaghetti squash is just 2, which is promising.

If you decide to go ahead then (and my friend says this recipe is do-able), then in terms of your squash sauce for spaghetti you could start by considering my butternut squash sauce recipe.

You might also like this page from DiabetesDaily, which is all about spaghetti squash and different ways to approach it.

You should also use wholemeal pasta (the Barilla brand, which you might see in the store, is branded 'integrale'), as this contains the 'right' kind (slow-processed) of sugar.

(For future reference, if you ever want to serve a tomato-based sauce to diabetics, use fresh tomatoes rather than canned, which have extra sugar & preservatives.)

I hope that's helpful and I understood the type of dish you want to cook correctly (for me, squash is butternut squash, but maybe Americans use 'spaghetti squash' to mean something different... it's always possible!).

Buon appetito!

Matt.

========

Important Update:

Hi again,

Since posting my original response, I had a lovely email from a mother of a diabetic child. She thought that 10g of carbs (total carbohydrate) out of a 155g serving, as I described it above, was very low.

The reason for this confusion is that we both, bring British, naturally assumed that spaghetti squash was in fact spaghetti pasta served with butternut squash sauce.

However it turns out we were completely wrong!

What is spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash is in fact a specific type of winter squash and nothing to do with spaghetti really (see this Wikipedia definition).

In which case the numbers quoted above do indeed seem much more reasonable.

And as the diabetic forum thread I also mentioned above suggests, this ingredient does then seem a reasonable choice for diabetic guests.

I hope that clears the issue up Audrey :-)

(As an aside, the mum I spoke to also recommended a good book for learning more about this type of stuff (e.g. it includes carb values for a lot of different meals). It's called Carbs & Cals and you can find it on Amazon here.)

Matt.

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