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Is Watermelon Good for Diabetes?

January 17, 2023
8 min read
Is Watermelon Good for Diabetes?

TLDR

  • Watermelon contains antioxidants that help boost immunity and fight against diseases like cancer.
  • Watermelon provides satiety and aids in weight loss.
  • Watermelon contains about 92% of water which makes it a great source of hydration.
  • The glycemic index of watermelon is high, and because of this, it is not good for diabetes.

Watermelon, a sweet and refreshing summer fruit, has gained popularity in recent years as a healthy snack option. The scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus Lanatus and is of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae)1.

Watermelon is a seasonal fruit and is most loved in summer. The fruit is rich in fiber, and water and contains vitamin A and some amount of Vitamin C1.

Watermelon Calories 100g

1 small cup (100 grams) of watermelon slices have 19 kcal. 80% of these calories are from carbohydrates, 12% are from protein, and 8% are from fat.

1 small cup (100 grams) of watermelon slices have 19 kcal. 80% of these calories are from carbohydrates, 12% are from protein, and 8% are from fat. Download the HINT app to track your calories.

Benefits of Watermelon

Watermelon is an excellent functional food as it is a rich source of vitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, and lycopene2.

1. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease

Watermelon is rich in L- Citrulline, which is an essential amino acid. due to this, regular consumption of watermelon reduces the risk of chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease2.

2. Helps in weight loss

According to a study, watermelon is good for weight loss and combating obesity. Watermelon can effectively reduce appetite and aid in weight management2.

3. Helps in treating ulcerative colitis

Another study showed that watermelon has anti-ulcerative colitis properties. This is due to the abundance of L-citrulline, the precursor of l-arginine in the watermelon, which aids in the treatment of ulcerative colitis2.

4. Rich in antioxidants

Watermelon is a good source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. This antioxidant prevents diseases like cancer and boosts immunity2.

5. Hydrates your body

Watermelon contains almost 92% water3. This much amount of water helps you keep your body hydrated along with other vitamins. This fruit is considered one of the best, especially in summer as it protects against heat. 

Watermelon has also been touted as a possible aid for individuals with diabetes. But is this true? Let's explore the evidence.

Glycemic Index of Watermelon

The glycemic index is the rating given to foods based on how quickly that particular food raises blood sugar levels when eaten. 

The glycemic index of watermelon is 72, which is high4. Such foods with a glycemic index value ≥ 70 are strictly restricted from being included in the diet of individuals with diabetes.

Watermelon in Diabetes

So, is watermelon good for diabetic patients? 

According to a study, lycopene present in the flesh of the watermelon and ⍺-glucosidase present in the watermelon leaf extract has antidiabetic properties and could potentially be used for the treatment of diabetes5.

In another study conducted on 40 rats with diabetes, it was found that administration of different doses of watermelon juice reduced the fasting blood glucose level5.

However, it's important to note that these studies were conducted using watermelon flesh, leaf extract and in animals, respectively, so it's not clear if the same effects would be seen in all individuals with diabetes. 

Additionally, the results of these studies are preliminary and more research is needed to determine if a watermelon is truly effective for individuals with diabetes.

Also, considering the high glycemic index value of watermelon, it cannot be advised for diabetic people. 

Managing diabetes requires a combination of lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking medications as prescribed.

If you are looking for guidance in following a diabetic diet and changing your lifestyle, download the HINT app and subscribe to the instant diabetic diet plan

It helps you control your blood glucose levels and reduces your HbA1c in a few months.

Recipes of watermelon

While incorporating watermelon into your diet may have some potential benefits, you should be aware of how it is prepared and the resulting nutrition profile of the recipe.

1 glass (240 mL) of watermelon juice has 28 kcal. Out of these calories, 80% is from carbohydrates, 12% is from protein, and 8% is from fat. Download the HINT app to track your calories.

1. Watermelon Juice Calories

1 glass (240 mL) of watermelon juice has 28 kcal. Out of these calories, 80% is from carbohydrates, 12% is from protein, and 8% is from fat. 

Watermelon juice is a good source of vitamin C and lycopene. It is an ideal pre-workout drink and helps boost immunity

1 glass of watermelon juice contains 5.3 grams of sugar, which is more than a teaspoon (5 grams). As watermelon juice does not contain enough fiber, this amount of sugar will certainly increase blood sugar levels. 

Hence, we would advise you not to drink watermelon juice if you are diagnosed with diabetes.

one glass (240 mL) of watermelon lassi contains 166 kcal calories. Out of this, 60% is from carbohydrates, 13% is from protein, and 27% is from fat. Download the HINT app to track your calories.

2. Watermelon Lassi Calories

One glass (240 mL) of watermelon lassi contains 166 kcal calories. Out of this, 60% is from carbohydrates, 13% is from protein, and 27% is from fat. 

Watermelon lassi is a good source of protein, probiotics, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin D, and an excellent source of vitamin B12. It is a great beverage one can include in their high protein diet and helps boost immunity.

We recommend individuals with diabetes avoid this recipe due to its high sugar content of 17.5 grams per serving of one glass.

one glass (240 mL) of watermelon smoothie contains 104 kcal calories. Out of these calories, 56% is from carbohydrates, 16% is from protein, and 28% is from fat. Download the HINT app to track your calories.

3. Watermelon Smoothie Calories

One glass (240 mL) of watermelon smoothie contains 104 kcal calories. Out of these calories, 56% is from carbohydrates, 16% is from protein, and 28% is from fat. 

Watermelon smoothie is a good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12. It is an excellent source of lycopene, calcium, and phosphorus. It helps boost immunity and aids in weight loss.

Individuals with diabetes should avoid this recipe as one serving contains a high amount of sugar i.e. 9 grams in one glass.

You can easily track your daily sugar intake on the Hint App

Conclusion

In conclusion, while there is some evidence to suggest that watermelon may have potential benefits for individuals with diabetes, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.

The glycemic index of watermelon is high and cannot be included in a diabetic diet plan.

Additionally, watermelon is a high-sugar fruit and may not be suitable for all individuals with diabetes.

It is important to remember that managing diabetes requires a combination of lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking medications as prescribed.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much watermelon should a diabetic eat?

The glycemic index of watermelon is 72, which is very high. People with diabetes should avoid including watermelon in their diet as it may raise their blood sugar levels.

2. Is watermelon good for ulcers?

Yes. Studies show that watermelon contains L-Citrulline which helps in treating ulcers2.

3. Is watermelon good for weight loss?

Yes. Watermelon provides satiety and controls appetite. This in turn helps in reducing weight.

4. Can we eat watermelon in the corona?

Watermelon contains lycopene, an antioxidant that helps boost immunity. 

According to a recent study, this lycopene present in watermelon can be used for treating the inflammation of covid because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-viral properties6.

However, there are no direct studies that can say that watermelon helps treat corona and one should include it after consulting the expert based on their symptoms.

References

1. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "watermelon". Encyclopedia Britannica, 9 Dec. 2022, Accessed 10 January 2023.

2. Manivannan A, Lee ES, Han K, Lee HE, Kim DS. Versatile Nutraceutical Potentials of Watermelon-A Modest Fruit Loaded with Pharmaceutically Valuable Phytochemicals. Molecules. 2020 Nov 11;25(22):5258. doi: 10.3390/molecules25225258. PMID: 33187365; PMCID: PMC7698065.

3. Naz A, Butt MS, Sultan MT, Qayyum MM, Niaz RS. Watermelon lycopene and allied health claims. EXCLI J. 2014 Jun 3;13:650-60. PMID: 26417290; PMCID: PMC4464475.

4. Fiona S Atkinson, Jennie C Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Anette E Buyken, Janina Goletzke, international tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values 2021: a systematic review, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 114, Issue 5, November 2021, Pages 1625–1632.

5. Huerta-Reyes M, Tavera-Hernández R, Alvarado-Sansininea JJ, Jiménez-Estrada M. Selected Species of the Cucurbitaceae Family Used in Mexico for the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus. Molecules. 2022 May 26;27(11):3440. doi: 10.3390/molecules27113440. PMID: 35684376; PMCID: PMC9182361.

6. Khongthaw B, Dulta K, Chauhan PK, Kumar V, Ighalo JO. Lycopene: a therapeutic strategy against coronavirus disease 19 (COVID- 19). Inflammopharmacology. 2022 Dec;30(6):1955-1976. doi: 10.1007/s10787-022-01061-4. Epub 2022 Sep 1. PMID: 36050507; PMCID: PMC9436159.

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