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The Good, The Bad, The Reality About Watermelon For Diabetes

Watermelon can be so refreshing during the summer time. Biting into the crisp flesh with the amazing sweet juices dripping down your chin.  I hope that made you hungry for watermelon, I know I am hungry for one now. 

But the real question is if watermelon is even good for people with diabetes. Sure, it’s a fruit full of vitamins and minerals but isn’t it high in sugar? And as most people with diabetes have heard you shouldn’t eat anything high in sugar.  

However, fruits are full of important nutrients to our health so we do ourselves a disservice when we avoid high sugar fruits completely.  Instead, we should be mindful of portion size while monitoring our blood sugar levels.   

Now, let’s get into it and understand the complexities of watermelon for diabetes, good or bad. 

A whole Watermelon cut in half

What is Watermelon?

First, let me tell you what a watermelon is if you don’t know.  Watermelon is a summer melon that can be enjoyed during the summer months.  They can be small or huge with an average weight of 20-25lbs.  Some watermelon can weigh less, especially the mini watermelon and others can weigh a lot more.   

The outer skin is hard and thick and usually green with dark green stripes along the side.  The sweet flesh is usually red but can be yellow as well. I have eaten a yellow watermelon before; it tastes just like a red colored one.  You can also buy different watermelon types, with seeds or seedless.

If you have never tried a watermelon before, I highly recommend it.  Though later in the season it can be hard to find a good tasting watermelon.  

Benefits of Watermelon 

Watermelon is great for our immune system, gives us energy, and is beneficial to our heart health.  It is full of vitamins and minerals that we need to survive.  A serving size of 2 cup of watermelon contains:     

  • Vit C 
  • Thiamine
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • Vitamin B6
  • Copper 
  • Iron 
  • Magnesium 
  • Potassium 
  • Fiber 

The great news is that it only provides 60 calories and 15gm of carbohydrates for only a 2 cup serving.  It is a nutrient dense food that anyone can enjoy especially during the hot summer months.  

Glycemic Index: A measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating particular foods

GI Index 

The GI index is a measurement of how quickly sugar enters into your bloodstream after you have eaten a particular food. This is not the best unit of measurement to use in deciding what foods to eat and what to avoid. Watermelon is high on the GI index at 76 while a macaroon is 32 on the GI index. 

A macaroon may not break down into sugar as quickly as watermelon but there is very little nutrition in a macaroon. You will get calories, fat and sugar from a macaroon.   Watermelon, on the other hand, has many benefits despite entering into the bloodstream quickly. 

Watermelon is more nutrient dense than a macaroon and therefore a better choice.  A way to slow down any rapid rise in blood sugar is to eat watermelon slowly over the course of 30 minutes to an hour, which would seem like torture to me. You can also eat it with a meal or snack that contains protein, fat or fiber.   

Adverse Effects of Watermelon 

Since watermelon is a fruit and high on the GI index that means that watermelon will spike blood sugar up quickly by itself.  However, it should not stay elevated for a long period of time.  If you own a CGM then you can monitor your blood sugar and determine how watermelon affects your blood sugar.  

Portion control is important when it comes to eating watermelon.  Eating watermelon slowly will reduce the initial insulin spike as well as eating it with a meal or snack.  Just remember that everyone reacts differently to different foods.  

Conclusion

Watermelon is a nutrient dense fruit that is full of water and nutrients keeping us hydrated for a while.  It is a perfect summer treat for a hot day.  However, this food is higher on the GI index so is it healthy for diabetics?  

Here is the good and the bad regarding watermelon for people with diabetes.  Watermelon is full of nutrients and is a nutrient dense food meaning we get more nutrition in a smaller quantity than other foods.  The bad, watermelon releases sugar quickly which can cause an initial spike in blood sugar levels. 

Watermelon for diabetes good or bad: the verdict is that it is good for people with diabetes.  It is full of beneficial nutrients for your bodies.  Despite its ability to enter into your bloodstream quickly, there are ways to lower its blood sugar spike. Enjoy watermelon with meals or as a snack with foods that contain protein, fat, and fiber.      

Do you own a CGM? If you do then track how your blood sugar is affected when you eat watermelon.  Comment below on your experience eating watermelon and its affect on your blood sugar level.

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