If you have diabetes, it is important to watch your diet because different foods affect blood sugar levels in different ways. Watermelon is a healthy fruit that is low in calories and fat, and a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, but it is also high in sugar. In this article, we will discuss the nutritional value of watermelon, its health benefits, and whether or not you can eat it when you are diabetic. We will also provide a list of other fruits to avoid and another list of fruits that are ideal to maintain a healthy diet.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is a chronic condition that occurs when there is too much sugar in your blood. To convert glucose into energy, your body needs the hormone insulin to help move the glucose from your blood into your cells. When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or can’t use it properly which causes a rise in blood sugar levels, which can lead to serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure levels, eye damage, and kidney damage.
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is when your body does not make insulin due to your autoimmune system attacking the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. Type 2 diabetes, also called adult-onset diabetes, is the most common type of diabetes. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or the cells do not use it properly due to your cells developing insulin resistance. Gestational diabetes is when you are pregnant and have high blood glucose levels during pregnancy that typically goes away after giving birth.
Why do diabetics need to watch their diet?
If you have diabetes, you need to watch your diet because you need to control the amount of sugar in your blood. Digesting any food or drink can have a direct impact on your blood glucose level and it can cause dips or spikes in blood sugar depending on what you eat or drink, how active you have been, and other factors such as stress. For these reasons, it is important to have a diabetic meal plan that works for you and is tailored to your own individual needs.
What is the nutritional value of watermelon?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one 152 gram (3/4 cup) serving of diced watermelon provides the following nutritional values:
Vitamin C: 12.3mg
Vitamin A: 42.6mcg
Watermelon provides a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C while also being low in fat and calories, and contains high amounts of lycopene. Watermelon is also high in sugar which can impact your blood glucose levels.
What are the health benefits of watermelon?
Watermelon can provide a number of different health benefits, including:
Helps fight dehydration
Due to its high water content, eating watermelon can help you stay hydrated and is a good choice if you are looking for healthy food to fight dehydration.
Aids in weight loss
Watermelon is a low-calorie food and can help you reach your weight loss goals while also providing lots of water that can make you feel full.
Helps lower blood pressure
Watermelon is rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been shown to help lower blood pressure.
Lowers cancer and infection risk
As a good source of vitamins A and C, watermelon has been shown in some studies to lower the risk of certain types of cancer. It also contains flavonoids and carotenoids which are beneficial and have been shown to help lower the risk of certain infections.
Are there any adverse effects from eating watermelon?
Eating watermelon is generally considered safe and there are no known adverse effects from eating it. However, if you have diabetes, be aware of the impact that watermelon can have on your blood sugar levels. Watermelon is high in sugar and can cause your blood sugar levels to spike if you eat too much of it. It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels and speak to your doctor or health care provider if you are concerned about the impact that watermelon is having on your diabetes.
What is the glycemic index and where does watermelon on it?
The glycemic index is a scale that ranks foods based on their impact on your blood glucose levels two hours after eating a particular food. Foods that rank high on the glycemic index, such as watermelon, can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Foods that rank low on the glycemic index are more slowly digested and absorbed and have a lower impact on your blood sugar levels. Glycemic index is not the only way to measure a food’s impact on your glucose levels as glycemic load accounts for grams of carbohydrates per serving size and is another way to measure the impact of a food on your blood sugar levels. Watermelon has a glycemic index ranking of 76 and a glycemic load of 8. This means despite being high in natural sugar watermelon is low in glycemic load.
Can I eat watermelon if I am diabetic?
If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy watermelon as part of your diet. However, it is always important with diabetes to monitor your blood glucose levels to ensure it doesn’t spike. When eaten at the recommended serving size, watermelon can be beneficial as it is hydrating, low calorie, and can help lower blood pressure. Be sure to speak with your doctor or health care provider before making any changes to your diet.
What other fresh fruit can I eat if I am diabetic?
There are a number of other beneficial fruits that are safe for diabetics to eat. These include apples, blueberries, oranges, peaches, pears, plums, strawberries, raspberries, and kiwis. Certain fruits are higher in sugar than others and portion sizes vary, so it is important to read the label for the carbohydrate content and sugar content before consuming them. As always, speak with your doctor or health care provider before making any changes to your diet.
What are the other types of fruit should I avoid if I am diabetic?
If you have diabetes, avoid eating fruit that is high in sugar, such as bananas, dates, grapes, mangoes, and pineapple. Also, remember to eat moderate portion sizes and monitor your blood sugar levels if you do eat them. To better manage your blood glucose levels, limit your intake of dried fruit and fruit juice as they are high in sugar and can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
Watermelon is a delicious and refreshing fruit that can be enjoyed by everyone of all ages. If you have diabetes, watermelon is still a safe fruit for you to eat, but it is important to be aware of the impact it can have on your blood sugar levels. Watermelon is high in sugar and has a glycemic index ranking of 76 which means that it can cause your blood sugar levels to spike if you eat too much of it. However, watermelon is also low in glycemic load which accounts for serving size which makes them safe to eat in moderate quantities. Watermelon can be beneficial as it is hydrating, low calorie, and can help lower blood pressure among other health benefits. If you have any more questions speak with your doctor or diabetes care team before making any changes to your diet.
References and Sources:
- Watermelon extract supplementation reduces ankle blood pressure and carotid augmentation index in obese adults with prehypertension or hypertension
- Vitamin C and cancer prevention: the epidemiologic evidence
- Carotenoids: Therapeutic Strategy in the Battle against Viral Emerging Diseases, COVID-19: An Overview
- Effects of Flavonoids on Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Immune Function: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis
Oregon State University
Owner, entrepreneur, and consumer health enthusiast.