Watermelon is a tasty and refreshing fruit that many people love. But if you have diabetes, you may wonder if watermelon is a good choice for you. The answer is not so simple, as watermelon has both benefits and drawbacks for people with diabetes.
The Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon provides you with a number of essential nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. These nutrients can support your overall health and well-being, as well as help prevent some complications of diabetes.
For example, vitamin A supports healthy vision and helps your heart, kidneys, and lungs function well. Vitamin C is also good for your health, as it can improve your heart health, help prevent some cancers, and lower the risk of eye problems as you age.
Watermelon is also hydrating, as it is more than 90% water. Staying hydrated can help control your blood sugar levels and prevent dehydration, which can make your diabetes symptoms worse.
Watermelon also has lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that makes the fruit red. Lycopene may help lower your risk for heart disease, which is a common problem for people with diabetes. Lycopene may also have anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects.
The Drawbacks of Watermelon
Watermelon also has some drawbacks for people with diabetes. The main one is that watermelon has natural sugar that may affect your blood sugar levels. The amount of sugar depends on how much watermelon you eat and how ripe it is.
One cup (152 g) of diced watermelon has 9.42 g of natural sugar and 11.5 g of carbohydrates. One wedge (286 g) of watermelon has 17.7 g of natural sugar and 21.6 g of carbohydrates. These amounts may seem low compared to other fruits, but they can still add up if you eat too much watermelon or do not balance it with other foods.
Watermelon also has a high glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly a food raises your blood sugar levels after eating it. Watermelon has a GI of around 72, which means it can cause a quick rise in your blood sugar levels. This can be bad for people with diabetes who need to keep their blood sugar levels stable.
However, watermelon has a low glycemic load (GL), which considers the portion size and the amount of carbohydrates in a food. Watermelon has a GL of 5 in a typical portion size of 120 g. This means that watermelon does not have a big impact on your blood sugar levels if you eat it in moderation.
How to Eat Watermelon Safely
If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy watermelon as part of a balanced diet. However, you need to be careful about how much you eat and how you eat it. Here are some tips to help you eat watermelon safely:
Check your blood sugar levels before and after eating watermelon to see how it affects you.
Limit your portion size to one cup (152 g) or less per serving.
Choose watermelons that are not too ripe, as they have less sugar.
Eat watermelon with other foods that are rich in protein, fiber, or healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, yogurt, or cheese. This can help slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and keep you feeling full longer.
Avoid watermelon juice or smoothies, as they have more sugar and less fiber than whole watermelon.
Do not eat watermelon on an empty stomach or as a dessert after a high-carb meal.
Count the carbohydrates from watermelon as part of your daily allowance and adjust your insulin dose accordingly if needed.
Watermelon is a nutritious and hydrating fruit that can offer some benefits for people with diabetes. However, it also contains natural sugar that can raise your blood sugar levels if you eat too much or too often. Therefore, you need to be aware of how much watermelon you eat and how you eat it. By following the tips above, you can enjoy watermelon safely and without guilt.
Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)
Internal Medicine Specialist
Phone : 85000 23456