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TOPIC: KABOCHA SQUASH: A CALORIC MYSTERY

 
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November 8, 2012 7:24 AM
Hi All,
As you can tell from this topics title, I am here to inquire and discuss the uncertainties surrounding members of the gourd family; a wonderful winter squash variety: the Kabocha (also known as Asian pumpkin) and the Buttercup. Now, I am not here to discuss how one can tell which is a Kabocha vs. a buttercup based on appearance because there are answers to that online and I myself know the difference. In fact despite the signage and PLU codes at my groceries stores that say it is buttercup, I know I am buying Kabocha.

My concern here is to initiate a discussion around what it nutritionally and calorically different about the Kabocha. Moreover, I want to find a 'ballpark' amount of the CALORIES (along with fat, carbs, fibre and protein) in 1 cup of cooked (without salt, buttter..etc.) KABOCHA squash and/or 1 WHOLE squash weighing in about 4 pounds.

Like many other forum discussions focused on the suspiciously starchy, dense, sugary/sweet, 'tastes-like-a-cross-between-pumpkin-and-sweet-potatoe' Kabocha, I too am skeptical of the current MFP calorie breakdown. After spending QUITE a long time researching the Kabocha, many have pointed out that most calorie tracking platforms such as MFP are UNDERESTIMATING the calorie content of this squash.

As is, Japanese Pumpkin, or Kabocha squash on MFP is about 73 cals for 100 grams. There is already a MFP message board that discusses 'how to cook" this squash (link: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/112975-japanese-pumpkin-squash-kabocha) and indicates that a 350 grams of Kabocha is 125 Cal. Other sites like LIVESTRONG, CALORIE COUNT AND FAT SECRET indicate that this squash is about 40 cals for 85 grams. To further complicate and confuse these caloric inconsistencies, individuals who have bought this squash in Japan and have translated labels suggest that it is 91 calories per 100 grams.

So HOW MANY CALORIES does this mystery squash have if I were to cook and measure 1 cup? I myself, do NOT KNOW. And, I am quite consumed by pinpointing its nutritional properties so I know how to incorporate it into my daily allowance since I have a long and contentious relationship with this squash. Let me explain:

About 4 years ago I discovered this squash and was hooked on it's potato-like, crumbly characteristics. Believing that it was super low in calories, I will admit, I was quite the glutton with this squash. For a while, I had eaten 1-2 medium squash a day for weeks which eventually lead to the area around my mouth and palms of my hands turning orange (you are what you eat..literally). But I started feeling bloated and was worried that I was gaining weight from eating too much of this squash. So I stopped eating it for a while. About 2 days after NOT eating it, the bloating went away and I felt like I had lost weight. Surprised by this correlation I stopped eating Kabocha all together....for years.

But alas, recent encounters with this squash has rekindled my love and gluttonous approach to its consumption. I am very active now, excersise regularly and am also dedicated to tracking my daily calories as accurately as possible. For the past few weeks I have been inputting my consumption of Kabocha as BUTTERCUP. I eat about 1 medium squash a day (not every day, though) and according to MFP 1 MEDIUM BUTTERCUP is 173 calories. I REFUSE TO believe this and depending on size and the starchiness of the flesh when I cook it, I sometimes track ONE squash AS 3-5 medium squash (at least 450 cals up to 850 cals) in order to be safe.

Yeah....kind of ridiculous considering I eat 1550 calories daily and somedays when I track one Kabocha as 800-900 cals I only have 500-700 cals left to add all my other nutrients. But sometimes I can't help it. I genuinely crave this squash so bad some days. Sometimes I don't eat much else other than this squash because after eating one I feel thirsty and drink lots of water and feel soooooo full and bloated and am not hungry for the rest of the day/eve. Although I feel bloated and like I am 'gaining weight' after eating one, the next morning that all subsides after my morning (sorry for the explicitness) bowel-movement. In the mornings before I eat anything I look and feel deflated and thus do not feel so guilty about eating a large amount of this squash the previous day and get myself to the grocery store to buy another one! Okay, okay, I know....I am getting off track and now revealing my disordered eating habits....

But tell me members of MFP, what are your knowledges regarding the oh so good but MIGHT be oh so bad for dieters Kabocha squash? What are your thoughts and opinions? How do you respond to this: yesterday I tracked my one medium squash about 3-4 pounds as 880 calories an thus only ate some fat free greek yogurt, a cucumber, some berries and a few plums to get to 1500? Am I being too paranoid about the caloric mystery surrounding this squash and OVERESTIMATING or am I hitting the nail on the head....cause' 3-4 pounds of squash IS A LOT so it should be about that many calories...??

I need some input as to put my eating into perspective and perhaps smarten me up.

Thanks everyone.
Jaz
November 8, 2012 7:44 AM
I would compare it to pumpkin or butternut squash nutritionally.

Pumpkin
Serving Size:
1 cup (8.6 oz)

Calories 83
Total Fat 0.7g
Sat. Fat 0.4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 12mg
Total Carbs. 19.8g
Dietary Fiber 7.1g
Sugars 8.1g
Protein 2.7g
Calcium 63.7mg
Potassium 504.7mg



Butternut Squash, baked
Serving Size:
1 cup, cubes (7.2 oz)

Calories 82

Total Fat 0.2g
Sat. Fat < 0.1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 8mg
Total Carbs. 21.5g
Dietary Fiber 2.1g
Sugars 4g
Protein 1.8g
Calcium 84.1mg
Potassium 582.2mg
  8003723
November 8, 2012 8:02 AM
Thanks Chrsitineab.
But since comparatively there is about 5 gram fibre difference between the two, where would you fit Kabocha into this fibre count?
November 8, 2012 8:49 AM
I loved reading your post.

I picked up one of these squash at a farm market and didn't know WHAT it was called. I did a search for "squash" and didn't see a photo of it. NOW I know what it was.

Sure was delicious....and I have some in the freezer for later on.

IMO you are eating far to much squash at one time. Not good to short change your nutrients by eating mostly squash and not too much else. Well, maybe if you did it only once a month or so it wouldn't hurt. MODERATION is my mantra now. Have anything I want but make it ONE serving at a time.

Sorry I can't weigh in on the nutrient values for you. I would simply count it as a winter squash...whatever is in the MFP database. I figure minor differences don't matter a lot with one serving.
November 8, 2012 8:58 AM
Keep it up with the "I only eat squash, yogurt and berries" deal and your fingernails will start to split and peel. Protein deficiency will wreck your nails and can affect your hair and skin, too. Maybe you'd be better off to eat one cup a day and freeze the rest in single servings. Then you have plenty of calories left to eat what you should.
November 8, 2012 10:59 AM
Since Kabocha is commonly called Japanese pumpkin I would use the pumpkin numbers.
  8003723
November 8, 2012 12:07 PM
Hi Anifani4
I deeply appreciate your comments and advice. Unfortunately because of my binge disordered eating habits it is hard for me to abide by the 'everything in moderation' mantra. Like my other food focus obsessions, I am confident that this Kabocha romance will surely wither away and I will find a new flavour of the week...month. Besides, it is in peak season right now (from what I have read) and in the spring and summer months it is not as satisfying. In fact, I just bought and cooked one and ended up throwing half of it out. It was much too 'wet' and had a potent 'grassy' taste. I know, I know, I am a food waster! I guess this is reflective of my socio-economic privileges in which I have the option to dispose of things that do not tickle my fancy. HAHA. I am such a brat!

Anyways, again Anifani4: thanks for the knowledge. I am constantly taking into consideration the moderation mandate. How did you cook it, by the way?
November 8, 2012 12:12 PM
Hi Lacurandera1,

You are right. I am cognizant of the dangers in malnourishing myself. Keep in mind, however, that I do not eat like this everyday. Today I had about 2 cups of this squash and am preparing some quinoa, steamed veggies and poached salmon for dinner. I am very good with getting my protein. In fact I get more than I should because I weight train.

I appreciate and value your advice and assure that I am perpetually negotiating your assertions. Thanks again!
Edited by FeministJaz On November 8, 2012 12:14 PM
November 8, 2012 12:12 PM
Thanks Christineab!
November 20, 2012 9:14 AM
For any of you still reading this post, I am remotely proud to say that I have been Kabocha squash free for about 3 weeks now. The Umpa-Loompa skin tone has almost fully subsided and my food intake has surly diversified. In turn, I am becoming quite explorative in my recipe searches and cooking. I made an excellent Octupus dish and root vegetable mash the other day and if anyone would like to give it a try: message me and I will gladly dictate the spontaneity of adventurous cooking that ensued my weekend into a more readable (and thus sharable) recipe.
April 20, 2013 10:58 PM
All I know is that I am saddened and hurt by the constant mis information of this most wonderful and delicioso food.
I:m in Japan now, and Kabocha- well, we love the stuff. It:s in everything. These people are thin and they eat it all day, right?
Can`t be bad?
They also eat fried food and tempura a lot and , actually come to think of it, they eat all the time, yet are incapable of growing anything close to a big ass. And I`ve looked at a lot of the women here with that penetrating glare that only a woman can give another female. The glare that accuses, searches and dissects.

In Japan the pumpkins are ALL Kobocha and they:re labelled with 60 calories or energy per 100grams.
It`s starchy, yes. My favourite is to take off the inner flesh and eat that raw, the fluffier part nearest the seeds.and to lightly boil the remaining skin with the still orange rind. That is good eating.
but it is too similar to a sweet potato or potato for me to think it`s much lower in calories and I don`t believe the 30 calorie label.
I have read people saying the frozen weight, the cooked weight etc and etc.
But that doesn`t matter, nobody is referring to cooked-in-soup kabocha and whether its boiled or not it weighs the same.
Pretty much anyway for something so dense.
It@s the sugar that I wonder about. Something so sweet, HAS to be higher in cals?
But maybe not. A potato is not as sweet. But high cal. An apple is very sweet, but lower cal.
I don`t know. I wish I could get accurate info. I am thinking of taking some to a lab.
April 28, 2013 5:00 AM
If you do take it to a lab, please let us know. I too am very curious about kabocha and the variances in nutritional content is frustrating. I eat a large mass of vegetables everyday (yes, I have lots of protein too). The fluctuation in calories could really make or break a workout.

Kelly.
June 1, 2013 7:50 PM
Came across this thread after just devouring a half kabocha squash. Damn tasty! Cut squash in half, poke outer skin with fork a few times, bake @ 350 until soft. Remove seeds and stringy pieces. Scrape meat into bowl. Add tapatio. Devour!

I am guessing this squash has more calories than a standard US pumpkin. I would put it somewhere close to a sweet potato. No scientific evidence to support this, just a gut feeling.

Regardless of the exact count, anything bright orange that tastes delicious is okay in moderation (the list is endless). Enjoy Kabocha after exercise, and you got nothing to fear.

I might use the leftover squash to make a Kabocha Chocolate Cookie. Who wants one? ;-)
June 11, 2013 4:36 AM
I'm in Korea and eat 2 of these things every week. They are great steamed - just as they are. Koreans like to fry them tempura style as well as eat them with rice or in soups.
  20269019
November 3, 2013 6:11 AM
I'm still curious as to calorie content of this delicious squash. Jaz' story is exactly like mine, except I'm a vegan and very thin. I'm addicted to these things, and I'd like to know calorie and fiber count.
My cooking method is very simple. Put in oven at 350°, bake ½ hour. Take out, cut in half and remove seeds, bake 45 minutes, check, ½ hour or 20 minutes more.
November 21, 2013 8:31 PM
Did you end up taking it to a lab??
November 25, 2013 9:00 PM
bump for this pump
January 27, 2014 12:49 PM
bump for later
  183615
February 13, 2014 12:22 AM
Did you take it to the lab!? I wanna know aswel, i eat A LOT of this amazing food when its available, prettymuch until im orange...
February 20, 2014 9:43 PM
I'm curious about this too. I've been eating about 1/2 pound (cooked weight) a day for a month or two now and I have also put on a few pounds, which isn't a big deal, but it is surprising since everything else I eat is the same and exercise is the same too. I'm also bloated at night too and never thought that these might all be related....
March 3, 2014 3:03 AM
Yea it def makes me keep my weight up. I switch to swede when buttercup pumpkin goes out of season and i lose weight when i eat that instead of buttercup and the cals of swede (rutabaga) are about 37per 100grams so i really think the cals in this must be higher. Thats the annoying thing about nutritional databases online they just copy each other so if info is false it just gets accepted as correct
March 3, 2014 3:20 AM
It is a winter melon/ winter squash - classified as "Cucurbita maxima"

Here is more info including nutritional information

http://extension.umass.edu/vegetable/ethnic-crops/kabocha-cucurbita-maxima-auyama
  55184219
March 11, 2014 8:46 PM
I found this link... You need to use Google translate or something, but if you look at the table, it compares Japanese pumpkin vs. Western one (which I believe are the Halloween pumpkins Americans tend to use).

Hopefully this helps! :-)

http://kcal.akhealthnews.com/kabocha38.html

In any case, conclusion seems to be that's it's very low in calories, whether you use the UMass values or the ones on this Japanese site.

As a site note, are the calories on the UMass site for raw kabocha? I tend to just microwave covered and that essentially steams it... Not sure how to account for the calories then, whether with before or after steaming weight.

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