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Pumpkin seeds, which can be enjoyed with or without their white shell, are a tasty and nutrient-rich food.
Many people wonder whether pumpkin seeds can also help you lose weight.
This article examines whether pumpkin seeds are beneficial for weight loss, plus tips for incorporating them into your diet.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in nutrients known to support weight loss, such as fiber, protein, and unsaturated fatty acids.
One 6-month study in 345 adults on a low calorie diet examined the effects of dietary composition on weight loss. It found that fiber intake promoted dietary adherence and weight loss, independently of calories or any other nutrient (4).
The minimum fiber recommendations for adults to support overall health and weight maintenance are 19–38 grams per day (6).
A 1/2-cup (72-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds with their shells removed provides 5 grams of fiber, while a 1/2-cup (23-gram) serving with shells provides 1.5 grams (7).
A 1/2-cup (72-gram) serving of pumpkin seeds without their shell provides 21 grams of protein, and a 1/2-cup (23-gram) serving of seeds with their shells on provides 7 grams (7).
Moderation is key
While pumpkin seeds are a nutritious, high fiber snack that can help support weight loss, it’s important to remember that moderation is key when it comes to your intake of any food.
Like other nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds are energy-dense, meaning that they contain a substantial number of calories and fat in a small serving size.
For example, 1/2 cup (72 grams) of pumpkin seeds with their shells removed contains approximately 415 calories and 35 grams of fat (7).
If you were to eat 1/2 cup (23 grams) of pumpkin seeds with their shells intact, you would still be getting approximately 130 calories and 11 grams of fat (7).
When it comes down to it, just be sure that the quantity of pumpkin seeds you’re eating fits into your overall calorie goals for weight loss.
While some people may be able to fit 1/2 cup (72 grams) of shelled pumpkin seeds into their diet, others may need to restrict themselves to a smaller serving size.
To minimize added calories and sodium, choose raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds, with or without their shell, to best complement a healthy weight loss diet.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in fiber, protein, and unsaturated fatty acids, which can all play a supportive role in healthy weight loss and maintenance. Choose raw, unsalted seeds to minimize your intake of added fat, calories, and sodium.
Pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed both with and without their shell. Pumpkin seeds without their shell are often called pepitas and can be identified by their smaller, green appearance.
Pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed in a number of ways, such as:
- raw or in a homemade trail mix
- sprinkled onto salads or waffles
- baked into muffins or on top of breads
- mixed into yogurt and oatmeal
- blended into smoothies
- mixed into warm noodle dishes or stir-fries
- on top of avocado toast
- blended in a food processor with nutritional yeast, bread crumbs, and seasonings to make vegan “Parmesan” cheese
Note that pumpkin seeds contain phytic acid, which may inhibit the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.
Pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed raw with or without their shell and added to pasta dishes, smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods. If you’re concerned about their phytic acid, roast or soak and then sprout them before eating.
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy food rich in nutrients that may support weight loss and maintenance goals, such as protein, fiber, and unsaturated fatty acids.
As with other nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds contain a substantial amount of fat and number of calories in a small serving, making moderation important if you’re on a calorie-restricted diet.
To best complement a weight loss diet, choose raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds either with or without their shells. These seeds can be added to a number of dishes or eaten on their own as a healthy snack.