Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that remains integral to every household during the summer. A chilled, juicy watermelon feels like a breath of fresh cool air in the scorching summer months.
Everyone enjoys eating watermelon, but the question of whether or not people with diabetes can consume this fruit gets raised frequently.
This debate stems from the sweet taste of this delectable food. However, contrary to the common assumption that it mainly contains water and sugar, watermelon is rich in nutrients.
Watermelon Nutritional Value
According to the USDA, watermelon has the following nutrients per 100g.
- Energy: 30 kcal
- Water: 91.4 g
- Carbohydrate: 7.55 g
- Protein: 0.61 g
- Fat: 0.15 g
- Sugar: 6.2 g
- Fibre: 0.4 g
- Sugar – 6.2 grams
- Vitamin C – 8.1 mg
The advantageous bioactive components of watermelon can treat a variety of ailments. Watermelons are great for your gut and heart health and kidney functions.
As per research, watermelons can facilitate weight loss as well. According to a study, watermelons can reduce inflammation, potentially lowering the risk of malignancies such as breast, stomach, colon, and lung.
Furthermore, research proves that watermelons boost the body’s immune response and help manage hypertension by improving blood circulation.
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Circling back to our main concern, people with diabetes can enjoy this fruit by making strategic decisions about how much to eat and how to consume it. Continue reading to learn more about the association between watermelon and blood sugar.
Watermelon for Diabetes – Glycemic Index (GI)
Simply put, diabetes is a condition characterised by elevated blood sugar levels. As we already know, one of the major causes of diabetes is the hampered insulin release by the beta cells in the pancreas.
These cells are in charge of secreting the hormone insulin, which helps regulate blood glucose levels. Many severe complications, such as eye damage, cardiac issues, nephropathy and neuropathy etc, can develop in the long run if you do not manage your blood sugar levels.
Watermelons have a marvellous nutrient profile, containing high moisture content and potent health-promoting chemicals. However, watermelon’s glycemic index (GI) is 80, and thus portion control is a prerequisite for diabetics when consuming it. Furthermore, even though watermelon has a relatively low carbohydrate content we cannot rule out the fact that it too can cause blood sugar levels to increase.
Carbohydrate transforms into blood glucose or blood sugar after being digested. Therefore, the amount of carbohydrates you consume is proportional to the amount of glucose/ sugar entering the blood.
However, watermelon’s high fibre content balances out the carbohydrate effect to some extent and does not let it significantly raise blood glucose levels if consumed in moderation.
Is Watermelon Good for Diabetic Patient?
While more research is needed in this field, research findings on watermelon and diabetes show that if consumed in appropriate amounts, watermelon could lessen diabetes complications.
Regulating the quantity of consumption can prevent watermelon from negatively affecting your blood sugar levels. Having said that, it should always be kept in mind that excess and frequent consumption of watermelon may lead to blood glucose spikes and nullify its positive effects.
According to investigations, hyperglycemia patients are more likely to experience cardiac problems. Elevated oxidative stress and LDL oxidation are the main contributing factors to this condition.
High glycemic foods significantly increase glucose, and their auto-oxidation produces free radicals and cell damage. However, lycopene, an antioxidant, occurs naturally in watermelon and has hypoglycemic action.
Lycopene aids in the battle against free radicals and lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. It is relevant because cardiovascular diseases account for 68% of deaths in adults with diabetes over the age of 65. Studies also show that lycopene extract greatly enhances lipid and glucose metabolism.
The HealthifyMe Note
When consumed in moderation (i.e., 100-150 grams, 2-3 days a week) watermelon can be beneficial for people with diabetes. One may have watermelons with fibrous fruits to further negate its effects of having a high GI of 80. Furthermore, it’s advisable to monitor your blood sugar levels after consuming watermelon to keep a tab on its effect on you. Test your blood glucose 1-2 hours after consuming watermelon using a CGM or glucometer. If your blood sugar is 50 points higher than the normal range, you must cut back on the portion. Since everyone’s body’s requirements vary it’s better to consult an expert nutritionist to identify your portion size and the correct ways of consumption. However, the general strategy is to track your carbs, understand a food’s glycemic index, and monitor your blood sugar levels.
Nutritionist’s Tips on Eating Watermelon While Managing Diabetes
- Limit your daily intake of watermelon to 100 grams, not more than twice to thrice a week.
- Every part of a watermelon is edible. Moreover, the watermelon seeds are jam-packed with nutrients like omega-3, omega-6, zinc, proteins, potassium, etc. hence, you may want to try having watermelon seeds too when enjoying the fruit. Blending it with your smoothie is a great way to start.
- Watermelons, owing to their high moisture content, help people control their cravings for sweet foods and keep their stomachs fuller for longer. You can have it as a snack by mixing half a cup of diced watermelon with a cup of Greek yoghurt or adding it to a salad.
Watermelons are a great hydrating fruit with nearly 92% water. They are also loaded with nutrients that offer a plethora of health benefits ranging from better immunity, heart health, and kidney function to improved nail and hair quality. However, they have a high sugar content with a GI of 80 and thus diabetics should practice caution while having it. 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 once is by monitoring your blood sugar levels pre and post it consumption. You can do it using the HealthifyPro CGM which comes with its set of other perks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Which fruit has the most sugar?
A. Lychees have high sugar content. In many desserts, it also is used as a sweetener. Bananas and mangoes are also rich in sugar content. Compared to fresh fruits, dried fruits have high quantities of sugar.
Q. Is watermelon high in carbs?
A. Watermelon, a sweet summertime delicacy, is 92 per cent water and has the lowest carb content of any fruit, with only 7.5 g of carbohydrates per 100 g, according to the USDA.
Q. Do dried fruits raise blood sugar?
A. Eating dried fruits in moderation will not raise your blood sugar. Dried fruits having a low or moderate GI is best if you are concerned about the impact on blood sugar levels. 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 for people with diabetes to eat?
A. Any fruit with a low glycaemic index is deemed proper for consumption by diabetic patients. Such 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 juicy treats are the ideal weight loss fruits thanks to their high-fibre, low-calorie values. Eating apples during breakfast or lunch will keep you feeling active throughout the day. These fruits are a great non-caffeinated way to stay awake. When eaten whole, apples can help control your appetite and reduce hunger.
Q. Which fruit is high in fibre?
A. Figs are high-fibre fruits. They have approximately 2.9 grams of fibre per 100 grams. Other fibre-rich fruits include apples, oranges, apricots, blackberries and blueberries. You can also sprinkle pomegranate seeds to boost the fibre of any salad.
- Beneficial effects of L-arginine on reducing obesity: potential mechanisms and important implications for human health: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20437186/
- The Potential Role of Lycopene for the Prevention and Therapy of Prostate Cancer: From Molecular Mechanisms to Clinical Evidence: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742263/
- Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Stroke: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke
- Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464475/
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