Watermelon is a moisturizing fruit that is an integral part of every household during the summer. A fresh, juicy watermelon feels like a breath of fresh air during the scorching summer months.
Everyone loves to eat watermelon, but the question whether or not people with diabetes can consume this fruit is frequently raised.
This debate stems from the sweet taste of this delectable food. However, contrary to the common assumption that it contains mostly water and sugar, watermelon is nutrient dense.
Nutritional value of watermelon
According to USDAwatermelon contains the following nutrients per 100 g.
- Energy: 30kcal
- Water: 91.4g
- Carbohydrates: 7.55g
- Protein: 0.61g
- Fat: 0.15g
- Sugar: 6.2g
- Fibre: 0.4g
- Sugar – 6.2 grams
- Vitamin C – 8.1mg
The beneficial bioactive components of watermelon can treat a variety of ailments. Watermelons are great for gut and heart health and kidney function.
According research, watermelons can also facilitate weight loss. According to a studywatermelons can reduce inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of malignancies such as breast, stomach, colon and lungs.
Besides, research proves that watermelons boost the body’s immune response and help manage hypertension by improving blood circulation.
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Going back to our main concern, people with diabetes can benefit from this fruit by making strategic decisions about how much to eat and how to consume it. Keep reading to learn more about the association between watermelon and blood sugar.
Watermelon for Diabetes – Glycemic Index (GI)
Simply put, diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood sugar. As we already know, one of the main causes of diabetes is the hindered release of insulin from the beta cells of the pancreas.
These cells are responsible for secreting the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar. Many serious complications, such as eye damage, heart problems, kidney disease and neuropathy, etc., can develop in the long term if you do not manage your blood sugar.
Watermelons have a wonderful nutritional profile, containing high moisture content and powerful health-promoting chemicals. However, watermelon glycemic index (GI) is 80, and therefore portion control is a prerequisite for diabetics when consuming it. Moreover, even though watermelon has a relatively low carbohydrate content, we cannot exclude the fact that it too can cause an increase in blood sugar.
Carbohydrates turn into blood glucose or blood sugar after being digested. Therefore, the amount of carbs you consume is proportional to the amount of glucose/sugar entering your bloodstream.
However, the high fiber content of watermelon balances the carbohydrate effect to some extent and does not allow it to significantly raise blood sugar if consumed in moderation.
Is watermelon good for diabetic patients?
Although more research is needed in this area, research findings on watermelon and diabetes show that if consumed in appropriate amounts, watermelon may reduce diabetes complications.
Regulating the amount of consumption can prevent watermelon from negatively affecting your blood sugar. That said, one should always keep in mind that excessive and frequent consumption of watermelon can lead to blood sugar spikes and negate its positive effects.
According surveys, hyperglycemic patients are more likely to have heart problems. High oxidative stress and oxidation of LDL are the major contributing factors to this condition.
Foods with a high glycemic index significantly increase glucose and their auto-oxidation produces free radicals and cell damage. However, lycopene, an antioxidant, is naturally present in watermelon and has a hypoglycemic action.
Lycopene helps fight free radicals and reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions. It is relevant because cardiovascular diseases account for 68% of deaths in diabetic adults over 65 years of age. Studies also show that lycopene extract significantly improves lipid and glucose metabolism.
The HealthifyMe rating
When eaten in moderation (i.e. 100-150 grams, 2-3 days a week), watermelon may benefit people with diabetes. One can have watermelon with fibrous fruit to further negate its effects of having a high GI of 80. Also, it is advisable to monitor your blood sugar levels after consuming watermelon to keep an eye on its effect on you. Test your blood sugar 1-2 hours after consuming watermelon using a CGM or glucometer. If your blood sugar is 50 points above normal, you should reduce the portion. Since everyone’s needs vary, it’s best to consult an expert nutritionist to identify your portion sizes and proper consumption patterns. However, the general strategy is to track your carbs, understand a food’s glycemic index, and monitor your blood sugar.
A Nutritionist’s Tips for Eating Watermelon While Managing Diabetes
- Limit your daily consumption of watermelon to 100 grams, no more than two to three times a week.
- Every part of a watermelon is edible. Moreover, watermelon seeds are loaded with nutrients like omega-3, omega-6, zinc, protein, potassium, etc. Therefore, you may also want to try having watermelon seeds when enjoying the fruit. Mixing it with your smoothie is a great way to start.
- Watermelons, due to their high moisture content, help people control their cravings for sweet foods and keep their stomachs full longer. You can have it as a snack by mixing half a cup of diced watermelon with a cup of Greek yogurt or adding it to a salad.
Watermelons are an excellent hydrating fruit with almost 92% water. They are also loaded with nutrients that provide a plethora of health benefits ranging from better immunity, heart health and kidney function to better nail and hair quality. However, they are high in sugar with a GI of 80, so diabetics should exercise caution when consuming them. Practice portion control and pair your watermelon with fibrous foods and you’re good to go!
A good way to know the appropriate amount of watermelon you can consume at one time is to monitor your blood sugar before and after consuming it. You can do this by using the HealthifyPro CGM which comes with its set of other benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Which fruit has the most sugar?
A. Lychees have a high sugar content. In many desserts it is also used as a sweetener. Bananas and mangoes are also high in sugar. Compared to fresh fruits, dried fruits contain large amounts of sugar.
Q. Is watermelon high in carbs?
A. Watermelon, a sweet summer treat, is 92% water and has the lowest carb content of any fruit, with just 7.5g of carbs per 100g, according to the USDA.
Q. Do nuts raise blood sugar?
A. Eating nuts in moderation will not raise your blood sugar. Dried fruits with a low or moderate GI are best if you’re worried about the impact on blood sugar. However, dried fruits with high GI scores will significantly affect blood sugar more than low and moderate GI ones. Therefore, it all depends on the type and amount of dried fruits you consume.
Q. What are the best fruits to eat for people with diabetes?
A. Any fruit with a low glycemic index is considered safe for consumption by diabetic patients. These fruits include apples, oranges, berries, guava, kiwi, dragon fruit, peaches, pomegranate, and avocados.
Q. What is the healthiest fruit?
A. Apples are arguably the healthiest fruit. These sweet and juicy treats are the ideal fruits for weight loss thanks to their high fiber and low calorie values. Eating apples for breakfast or lunch will keep you feeling active throughout the day. These fruits are a great caffeine-free way to stay awake. When eaten whole, apples can help control your appetite and reduce hunger.
Q. Which fruit is high in fiber?
A. Figs are high fiber fruits. They contain about 2.9 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Other fiber-rich fruits include apples, oranges, apricots, blackberries, and blueberries. You can also sprinkle pomegranate seeds to boost the fiber content of any salad.
- Beneficial effects of L-arginine in reducing obesity: potential mechanisms and important implications for human health: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20437186/
- The potential role of lycopene in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer: from molecular mechanisms to clinical evidence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742263/
- Diabetes, heart disease and stroke: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
- Watermelon Lycopene and Related Health Claims: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/