Like all fruits, watermelon contains plenty of natural sugar. While watermelon is usually safe for someone with diabetes to eat as part of their diet, how much and how often they can do so depends on several factors.
Eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables is advisable, but fruit contains natural sugars, and so it can be confusing to work out how much a person with diabetes can eat.
The American Diabetes Association recommend that “there is no single ideal dietary distribution of calories among carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for people with diabetes, macronutrient distribution should be individualized while keeping total calorie and metabolic goals in mind.”
There is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer about whether fruits, such as watermelon, are healthful for people who have diabetes. In this article, we look at the nutritional and health benefits of watermelon, as well as other factors a person with diabetes should consider.
Watermelon is a refreshing, juicy fruit and is a common healthful food choice in the summer. But what does it contain?
Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including: vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B6, fiber, iron, calcium, lycopene, Vitamin A helps to keep the heart, kidney, and lungs functioning properly. It also supports vision and eye health. A 280 g serving of watermelon provides 31 percent of a person’s recommended daily amount of vitamin A.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and promotes a healthy immune system. A good immune system can reduce colds and infections, and may help prevent certain types of cancer. One 280 g serving of watermelon provides 37 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
A diet that is high in fiber will keep the digestive system functioning well and also help the body flush out toxins. Fruit is often high in beneficial fiber.
Watermelon is more than 90 percent water, which means it is a great choice for hydration. In addition, magnesium and potassium can improve blood circulation and aid kidney function. One serving of watermelon contains around 170 milligrams (mg) of potassium.
Watermelon also contains a non-essential amino acid called citrulline, which can help prevent high blood pressure. A diet that regularly includes watermelon or watermelon extract is thought to stop high blood pressure from worsening over time.
Watermelon and glycemic index
As the GI for watermelon is above 70, people with diabetes should be mindful of how much of it they eat. The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly sugar from food enters the bloodstream. The faster this happens, the more likely it is that a person’s blood sugar levels will spike or rise quickly.
Foods are given a number or GI between 1 and 100. The higher the number, the more quickly sugar enters the bloodstream.
Watermelon has a GI of 72 per 100 g serving. Any food item with a GI of 70 or more is considered high. Because of this, people with diabetes should carefully consider how much watermelon they consume.
Additionally, people who have diabetes should try to eat it with a healthy fat or protein, such as nuts or seeds. This combining can help keep them full for longer and lower the impact on their blood sugar levels.
Watermelon can provide many health benefits for a person with diabetes, as long as it is consumed in moderation and attention is paid to the other foods that are eaten alongside it.
Talking to a doctor can help determine how much sugar a person is eating in their diet and how much they should be eating, and which foods are best suited to a diabetic diet.