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Summer Squash vs. Pumpkin - What Are Their Differences?

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on December 28, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Summer squash
vs
Pumpkin

Summary

Summer squash contains twice as much fiber and is richer in manganese, magnesium, vitamins B2, B6, folate, and vitamin C. In comparison, pumpkin is twice as high in carbs and is richer in iron, potassium, copper, vitamin A, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. Pumpkin is richer in beta carotene. They both provide numerous positive health impacts. 

Introduction

Summer squash and pumpkin, are they different than one another? Well, in short, yes, they are.
Their nutritional content is different, and thus, their health impacts. In addition, they are different for culinary usage, and they can't be used interchangeably since they can affect the flavor profile of the dish. 

This article will discuss the differences between summer squash and pumpkin regarding their nutritional and health impacts. 

General Differences

Pumpkins are more orange in color and bigger in size. In comparison, summer squash is a yellow zucchini. Their flavor profile is different and is peculiar for each. Pumpkins are more aromatic and flavorful

Their culinary uses are versatile, and both should be part of our diets since they provide numerous positive health impacts. 

You can read about summer squash vs. winter squash in this article.

Nutritional Content Comparison

This section will compare 100g of each in raw form. 

Calories 

They are both very low in calories, and the difference is insignificant. 

Fats and Proteins

Their fat and protein contents are negligible

Carbs and Fiber

Pumpkins contain nearly 2 times more carbs compared to summer squash. 

However, Summer squash contains 2 times more fiber than pumpkins. 

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +68.1%
Contains more Fats +157.1%
Contains more Carbs +46.3%
Equal in Water - 93.69
Equal in Other - 0.62
3% 95%
Protein: 1.21 g
Fats: 0.18 g
Carbs: 3.35 g
Water: 94.64 g
Other: 0.62 g
5% 94%
Protein: 0.72 g
Fats: 0.07 g
Carbs: 4.9 g
Water: 93.69 g
Other: 0.62 g
Contains more Protein +68.1%
Contains more Fats +157.1%
Contains more Carbs +46.3%
Equal in Water - 93.69
Equal in Other - 0.62
 

Vitamins 

Summer squash is richer in vitamins B2, B6, folate, and C. In comparison, pumpkin is richer in vitamins A, K, B1, beta-carotene, and vitamin E. 

It is important to mention that beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in our bodies.

One of the main points to consider is vitamin C in summer squash. During heating and cooking, vitamin C gets denatured since it is heat-labile, thus decreasing its bioavailability. 

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin C +261.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +54.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +82.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +17.9%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +395.5%
Contains more Folate +222.2%
Contains more Vitamin K +275%
Contains more Vitamin A +2777.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +566.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +29.7%
Equal in Choline - 6.2
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 12% 3% 0% 57% 12% 33% 10% 10% 51% 22% 0% 4% 8%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 346% 16% 0% 16% 8% 18% 8% 13% 11% 7% 0% 4% 2%
Contains more Vitamin C +261.7%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +54.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +82.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +17.9%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +395.5%
Contains more Folate +222.2%
Contains more Vitamin K +275%
Contains more Vitamin A +2777.5%
Contains more Vitamin E +566.7%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +29.7%
Equal in Choline - 6.2

Minerals 

Summer squash is richer in manganese and magnesium. In comparison, pumpkin is richer in iron, potassium, and copper. 

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Magnesium +88.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +26.7%
Contains more Potassium +13.9%
Contains more Zinc +26.1%
Contains more Manganese +96.6%
Contains more Iron +62.9%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Copper +78.4%
Equal in Calcium - 15
Equal in Selenium - 0.2
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 14% 13% 17% 24% 1% 8% 17% 23% 2%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 5% 22% 7% 13% 21% 1% 7% 31% 12% 2%
Contains more Magnesium +88.9%
Contains more Phosphorus +26.7%
Contains more Potassium +13.9%
Contains more Zinc +26.1%
Contains more Manganese +96.6%
Contains more Iron +62.9%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Contains more Copper +78.4%
Equal in Calcium - 15
Equal in Selenium - 0.2

Health Impacts

We often hear people say, "Eat the rainbow". This means eating different types of vegetables and fruits during the day and each season. Pumpkins and summer squash are mostly used during the fall season. Ever wondered why these orange/yellow fruits are one of the top foods consumed during these times?

Pumpkins and summer squash have a rich content of zeaxanthin, xanthophylls, lutein, beta-carotene, antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, and flavonoids such as catechin and kaempferol

Pumpkins and summer squash contain these bioactive compounds. Some can be higher in pumpkins, and others higher in summer squash. In addition, the amounts depend on how they are grown, how they are stored, and how they are cooked. Overall, both can be said to have a similarly positive effect on our cardiovascular, immune, and eye health. 
The antioxidants present in them reduce risks of carcinogenesis (1)(2)(3). 

You can read about pumpkin vs. winter squash in this article.

Some of the data indicate that pumpkins are higher in these compounds. However, the combined cumulative effect of all of them present in both gives the most positive health benefits. 

Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: December 28, 2023
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Summer squash vs Pumpkin infographic
Infographic link

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +77.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +2125%
Contains less Saturated Fat -15.9%
30% 11% 60%
Saturated Fat: 0.044 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.016 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.089 g
74% 18% 8%
Saturated Fat: 0.037 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.009 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.004 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +77.8%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +2125%
Contains less Saturated Fat -15.9%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Summer squash Pumpkin
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Summer squash Pumpkin Opinion
Net carbs 2.25g 3.8g Pumpkin
Protein 1.21g 0.72g Summer squash
Fats 0.18g 0.07g Summer squash
Carbs 3.35g 4.9g Pumpkin
Calories 16kcal 20kcal Pumpkin
Fructose 0.95g Summer squash
Sugar 2.2g 2.08g Pumpkin
Fiber 1.1g 1.1g
Calcium 15mg 15mg
Iron 0.35mg 0.57mg Pumpkin
Magnesium 17mg 9mg Summer squash
Phosphorus 38mg 30mg Summer squash
Potassium 262mg 230mg Summer squash
Sodium 2mg 1mg Pumpkin
Zinc 0.29mg 0.23mg Summer squash
Copper 0.051mg 0.091mg Pumpkin
Manganese 0.175mg 0.089mg Summer squash
Selenium 0.2µg 0.2µg
Vitamin A 200IU 5755IU Pumpkin
Vitamin A RAE 10µg 288µg Pumpkin
Vitamin E 0.12mg 0.8mg Pumpkin
Vitamin C 17mg 4.7mg Summer squash
Vitamin B1 0.048mg 0.031mg Summer squash
Vitamin B2 0.142mg 0.078mg Summer squash
Vitamin B3 0.487mg 0.413mg Summer squash
Vitamin B5 0.155mg 0.201mg Pumpkin
Vitamin B6 0.218mg 0.044mg Summer squash
Folate 29µg 9µg Summer squash
Choline 6.7mg 6.2mg Summer squash
Vitamin K 3µg 0.8µg Summer squash
Tryptophan 0.011mg 0.009mg Summer squash
Threonine 0.028mg 0.021mg Summer squash
Isoleucine 0.042mg 0.023mg Summer squash
Leucine 0.069mg 0.034mg Summer squash
Lysine 0.065mg 0.039mg Summer squash
Methionine 0.017mg 0.008mg Summer squash
Phenylalanine 0.041mg 0.023mg Summer squash
Valine 0.053mg 0.025mg Summer squash
Histidine 0.025mg 0.011mg Summer squash
Saturated Fat 0.044g 0.037g Pumpkin
Monounsaturated Fat 0.016g 0.009g Summer squash
Polyunsaturated fat 0.089g 0.004g Summer squash

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Summer squash Pumpkin
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
17%
Summer squash
34%
Pumpkin
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
12%
Summer squash
11%
Pumpkin

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Summer squash
Summer squash is lower in glycemic index (difference - 39)
Which food is cheaper?
Summer squash
Summer squash is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Summer squash
Summer squash is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Summer squash
Summer squash is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Pumpkin
Pumpkin is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.12g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Pumpkin
Pumpkin contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Pumpkin
Pumpkin is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.007g)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Summer squash - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170487/nutrients
  2. Pumpkin - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168449/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.