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October 31, 2023
May 20, 2024
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Watermelon, often hailed for its refreshing and hydrating properties, is a summer favorite for many. Despite its relatively high carbohydrate content, watermelon has a surprisingly low glycemic index, making it a favorable choice for individuals concerned about blood sugar management. Rich in nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and B6 and the antioxidant lycopene, watermelon can offer a range of health benefits beyond its sweetness. 

A standard serving of 100 grams of watermelon contains only 7.55 grams of carbohydrates and 30 calories, making it a guilt-free indulgence for those mindful of their blood sugar levels.¹ This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the impact of watermelon on blood sugar levels and its potential role in a diabetic-friendly diet, shedding light on its lesser-known nutritional advantages.

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Glycemic Index Table

A standard serving of 100 grams of watermelon contains 7.55 grams of carbohydrates.¹ To calculate the Glycemic Load (GL) per serving, we can utilize the formula: Glycemic Load = (Glycemic Index * Net Carbs per Serving) / 100. Additionally, the glycemic index of watermelon is estimated to be 72, which falls into the category of high glycemic index foods.² The glycemic index of a food refers to how quickly that food causes blood sugar levels to rise. 

Watermelon, despite having a high glycemic index, is often considered acceptable for individuals with diabetes because it contains a relatively low amount of digestible carbohydrates per serving, which contributes to a lower glycemic load. Notably, cooking typically does not affect the glycemic index of watermelon significantly, as it is commonly consumed fresh and raw.

Glycemic Index

72

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

7.55 g

GL per Serving

5.00

Nutritional Facts

Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that is notably low in calories, containing about 30 calories per 100-gram serving.¹ It is also a rich source of vitamins A and C, contributing to healthy skin and a robust immune system. Furthermore, it contains a significant amount of the antioxidant lycopene, associated with potential benefits for heart health.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of watermelon.¹

Calories

30 kcal

Carbs

7.55 g

Protein

0.61 g

Fiber

0.4 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Vitamins

A (28 µg), B6 (0.05 mg), C (8.1 mg).

Sodium

1 mg

Total Fat

0.15 g

Is Watermelon Good for Weight Loss?

Watermelon can be beneficial to a weight loss diet due to its high water content and low calorie density. With only about 30 calories per 100-gram serving, watermelon can help promote satiety and prevent overeating, as suggested by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

Furthermore, its natural sweetness can satisfy cravings for sugary snacks, potentially aiding in reducing overall calorie intake. However, it's essential to consume watermelon in moderation as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods to ensure adequate intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber for overall health and well-being.

Is Watermelon Safe for People Living with Diabetes?

Watermelon, despite its relatively high natural sugar content, can be included in the diet of individuals with diabetes in moderate portions, as it has a low glycemic index and glycemic load. The American Diabetes Association suggests that individuals with diabetes can enjoy watermelon as part of a balanced meal plan, considering its low calorie and carbohydrate content per serving. 

However, portion control is vital to prevent any significant spikes in blood sugar levels. Additionally, it is advisable for individuals with diabetes to consume watermelon as part of a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Allergies

Allergies to watermelon are relatively uncommon but can manifest as oral allergy syndrome in individuals with existing pollen allergies. This syndrome is typically characterized by itching or swelling of the lips, mouth, and throat after consuming certain fruits and vegetables, including watermelon. It is crucial for individuals with known pollen allergies to be aware of this potential cross-reactivity to prevent allergic reactions. Additionally, some cases of watermelon allergy have been reported to be associated with latex allergies, as both watermelon and latex share similar allergenic proteins.

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FAQs

What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, usually glucose. It ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index (GI) scale is typically categorized as follows: Low GI [55 or less], Medium GI [56-69], High GI [70 or higher]. Foods with a high glycemic index digest rapidly and can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose or glucose spikes.

What is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) takes into account both the quality (glycemic index) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of carbohydrates in a specific serving of food. It is a measure of how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content and dividing it by 100. It provides a more accurate representation of the overall impact of a food on blood sugar compared to the glycemic index alone.

Does Watermelon Spike Insulin?

No, watermelon does not spike insulin levels. Watermelon has a low glycemic index, which means it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. It also contains fiber and water, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. However, people with diabetes should still monitor their intake of watermelon and other fruits to ensure they are not consuming too much sugar.

Is Watermelon Low Glycemic?

Yes, watermelon has a low glycemic index due to its high water and fiber content, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Watermelon?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat watermelon in moderation as it has a low glycemic index and contains essential nutrients like vitamins A and C. However, they should monitor their blood sugar levels and limit their intake to avoid spikes in blood sugar.

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References

  1. USDA FoodData Central. (2019, April 1). Food Details - Watermelon, raw. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/167765/nutrients 
  2. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/

About the author

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

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About the author

Brittany Barry is a national board-certified health coach and NASM-certified personal trainer based in South Carolina.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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