I have a ton of information for you today on winter squash varieties {and why they can be hard to digest} when you have IBS and/or IBD.

You could be sans-bloat, but for some reason winter squash can have your stomach rumbling.

Some of you already know that sweet potatoes leave you feeling gassy. They are not in the winter squash family, but they tend to have similar effects.

So I investigated winter squash, the wicked winter squash with IBS and IBD.

I am here to share some information.

Winter Squash Varieties {and why they can be hard to digest}

Click HERE to save winter squash varieties for later.

Wicked Winter Squash with IBS and IBD starchy foods agutsygirl.com #ibs #ibd #guthealth.png What is Winter Squash

First, let’s make sure you know what winter squash is. According to The Kitchn, these are the 11 varieties you need to know:

  1. Acorn Squash
  2. Banana Squash
  3. Buttercup Squash
  4. Butternut Squash
  5. Delicata Squash
  6. Hubbard Squash
  7. Kabocha Squash
  8. Pumpkin 
  9. Spaghetti Squash
  10. Sweet Dumpling Squash
  11. Turban Squash

They mature in autumn, but have a hard shell so you’re able to store (and consume) them all winter long.

Winter squashes are starchy vegetables that also contain a higher amount of fiber.

If you are in the gut-healing phase, those two reasons are likely the cause for all that stomach rumbling upon consumption.

Starchy Vegetables

Wicked Winter Squash with IBS and IBD starchy foods agutsygirl.com #ibs #ibd #guthealth

Starchy vegetables are, oftentimes, high-quality carbohydrates. This makes them awesome for most people.

As women with IBS or IBD and/or an unknown grumpy gut in general, we are not most people.

A long time ago I told you about bananas, remember? I told you we typically need to eat them super ripened, as unripe fruit has too much starch.

If we’re eating bananas in a way that reduces or eliminates the starch, then it only makes sense that we need to be cognizant of this with all foods.

Both winter squashes and sweet potatoes fall under this starchy vegetable category.

Here are several starchy foods: plantain, yam, potato, sweet potatoes (all sorts), acorn squash, butternut squash, parsnips, beets, carrots, beans (baked, garbanzo, limo, black, kidney, navy, pinto), green peas and lentils.

High Fiber Foods

Squashes contain different amounts of fiber. Here are a couple:

  1. Butternut Squash: 2.8g of fiber in 1 cup, cubed
  2. Pumpkin: 12g of fiber in 1 cup

While winter squashes typically contain both soluble and insoluble fibers, they are mostly made up of soluble fiber.

{Read: What is the Difference Between Insoluble and Soluble Fiber?}

Remember what I said about fiber? Yes, fiber is amazing. And yes, we eventually want to heal our guts to a place where we can eat a lot of fiber again. But for now and until we clear away the unwanted bacteria, fiber only helps to feed that unwanted bacteria.

Winter Squash with IBS and IBD

Click HERE to save this information for later.

Wicked Winter Squash with IBS and IBD agutsygirl.com #wintersquash #ibs #ibd #guthealth

Gutsy women have a hard time breaking starch down.

Our guts have to work extremely hard to process them into simpler forms. And thus, they stay in the colon longer.

The longer they stay in the colon, the more chance they have at feeding any bad bacteria.

And once again, those awesome starches, which include winter squashes are helping to feed this unwanted bacteria.

What comes next is a grumpy stomach and (usually) some form of stinky-ness. To be clear, this could also be because the specific winter squash variety eaten was also high-FODMAP. Butternut squash is a high-FODMAP food.

That stinky-ness was always a classic SIBO symptom for me; it is for many of you, too.

How to: Digest Winter Squash

Winter squash can present a plethora of problems for the Gutsy women, namely during the intense healing phase.

But here’s the good news: once the gut heals, digesting winter squash should not present these problems and symptoms.

Due to the amount of fiber in winter squash, you could still have some symptoms if you’re eating large amounts in any one sitting.

So here are some ways to better digest winter squash (no matter if you are interested in gut health or you’re in the healing phase):

  1. Make sure you’re drinking enough water between meals to help keep your system moving.
  2. If you’re in the gut healing vs. health stage, slowly increase fiber. Depending on your gut issues, both/either insoluble and soluble fibers can be difficult to digest.
  3. Try a digestive enzyme to help break the squash down.
  4. Work your way up from a very small serving. No need to fill your plate with 3 cups. The squash will be there again tomorrow.
Wicked Winter Squash with IBS and IBD agutsygirl.com #wintersquash #ibs #ibd #guthealth

Personally, I love squash. It used to make me miserable, though, so I don’t pretend like it’s for everyone at each stage of the journey.

Interested in understanding whether or not it’s working for you, make sure you have a copy of my 90-day gut healing journal.


If you need to heal your gut so that you never have to worry about eating winter squash again, check out The Gutsy Girl’s BibleThe Leaky Gut Meal Plan.

If you liked this post on winter squash varieties, you might also enjoy:

  1. 5 Reasons Why You Might Not be Able to Digest Sweet Potatoes
  2. Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber
  3. 5 Reasons to Heal Your Gut


Wicked Winter Squash with IBS and IBD agutsygirl.com #wintersquash #ibs #ibd #guthealth squashes
Wicked Winter Squash www.sarahkayhoffman.com ibs ibd
Wicked Winter Squash with IBS and IBD Starchy Foods sarahkayhoffman.com
What is Winter Squash and why is it hurting my gut? #ibs #ibd www.agutsygirl.com

Similar Posts


  1. What food(s) work for you with respect to avoiding starch-iness and still getting carbohydrates? As a marathoner with Crohn’s disease, I have trouble getting enough carbs from whole foods, and just wondering if you have any good ideas!!

    1. Hey Lindsey! I’m a runner, too:) Well…injured, but I’ve trained for many 1/2 marathons! So, what do I eat for carbs? Ones that are super simple to digest. For me, it’s not a ton still. I do a ton of super ripened bananas and raw honey. Beyond that, any vegetables I can tolerate. That’s it. My energy is awesome, and I strongly believe that it’s a myth that in order to nail a 1/2 or full marathon you need to do heavy carb loading. Actually, my friend Chris proved it as well. Read up: http://bit.ly/agugpfmcm Would love to have you join our Mastermind Group. Might help to give you a ton more answers. xo

      1. Love that link! I also eat a paleo-ish diet (I say “ish” because I still love me some PB every now and then, and I occasionally eat yogurt/cheese). But no bread, pasta, processed food for the most part (besides GU gels on runs that are 15+ miles). What is the Mastermind Group?

  2. very interesting! i eat only very ripe bananas and i think i am the only one that avoids kabocha. haha. I have tried out delicata and it seems to be okay. Have you tried delicata? Thoughts?

    1. Hey Linds! No, I haven’t tried it yet, but I should…just for fun. It’s a winter squash technically, but in the summer squash family. Many summer squashes I tolerate decently. I might have to give it a try.

  3. I love starchy carbs but clearly they hate me! I still haven’t been able to find a “happy medium” with the foods I eat, so I just suffer through i, whether it’s painful D or painful bloating or anything in between (and trust me, anything goes!)

    1. Bummer….sorry for your pain, too. I was just not willing to live like that anymore. I have hope for the future once I’m healed:)

  4. I just discovered the pitfalls of butternut squash. On my list of “green” (i.e., good-to-go foods), it was actually a “yellow” (be wary). I had about a cup and a half last night. Then I awoke to probably the most painful gas pains in my life (like, about 10 knives stabbing your midsection). I started planning my ER trip as I warmed up my heating pad (while not being able to stand up straight, kinda leaning on the counter top). With the pad and sleep, I woke up without the pain and bloating, but yeesh! It scared me to death. No more squash for me…:(

  5. Really appreciate this post – I wasn’t sure after asking Dr Google about how winter squashes affect those with digestion issues – something I’m playing with myself – this cleared a lot up! Thank you

  6. No wonder, thank goodness I came across your site; lately I’ve been trying to include a variety of more veggies in my diet, but butternut squash hit me real hard, and i couldn’t understand why 🙁 i seem to be ok with spaghetti squash and sweet potato, pumpkin not so much. How unfair!

Comments are closed.