Even though you may feel like dishing some of your sweetest treats at every meal this summer, or just make that fruit your afternoon snack, it is vital that you know how healthy it is for you.
There has been a myth that watermelon has a high sugar content but it is not true. While it is a fact that watermelon contains fruit sugar known as fructose, just like all other fruits, it has nearly 92 per cent water.
So because this fruit tastes sweet doesn’t mean that it is high in sugar. The confusion about watermelon and high sugar content comes from estimates about how its consumption affects blood sugar levels.
If you are diabetic, you must know how vital it is for you to be careful what exactly you eat and constantly monitor your blood sugar levels. In case you haven’t heard, watermelon is one of the fruits loaded with amazing natural sugars.
While this in itself isn’t a bad thing, depending on your overall diet, the natural sugars in watermelon may have a negative impact on a person’s blood sugar level.
Keep reading to learn how adding watermelon to your diet may impact you. As you read further, you’ll learn about the sugars in watermelon, and how they can affect your health.
What are the health benefits of watermelon?
Watermelon is a fruit that is native to West Africa, and famous as a wonderful source of amazing vitamins and minerals including:
A single 280 gram serving of watermelon provides exactly 31 per cent of our daily recommended quantity of vitamin A. The vitamin A is designed to support healthy vision as well as assist in keeping your kidneys, heart, and lungs healthy.
Another vitamin that can be derived from eating a large amount of watermelon is Vitamin C. It is very beneficial to a healthy diet and can be found in large quantity in each 280 gram serving of watermelon.
One serving of watermelon provides you with 37 per cent of your RDI of vitamin C. One of the amazing qualities of Vitamin C is its the ability to improve heart health, help battle symptoms of flu, and also aid in the prevention of some cancers.
Because of watermelon’s high fibre content, eating this fruit can assist your body with the flushing out of toxins and also aid proper functioning of the digestive health.
Because of the sugar in watermelon, you may have no reason to eat too much of it if you’re a sweet tooth, as a small amount usually goes a long way. It is also a great way to stay full for longer because of its water content (this makes it amazing for weight loss).
Because watermelon has about 90 percent water content, it keeps you hydrated, keeps you cool in the heat, and feeling fresh.
What does research say about sugar in watermelon?
At present, there isn’t any known research that directly studies the connection between watermelon consumption and management of diabetes. Neither is there any that talks about how the sugar in watermelon helps with managing any blood sugar related problems.
What this means is that, though there is some evidence that suggests eating watermelon could help with the reduction of exposure to risks for some diabetes-related complications, we still can’t prove the validity.
Lycopene is one of the antioxidants contained in watermelon but in moderate amounts. The lycopene is the pigment that provides the beautiful red colour the watermelon fruit has. It is also a great antioxidant.
Despite the fact that more research is required, lycopene may be able to reduce a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. The reason for this is that a claim made by the Mayo Clinic, suggests that early research revealed that the early lycopene in tomatoes can possibly be connected to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Available statistics claim that 68 percent of individuals with diabetes who are between the age of 65 and above, for from one type of heart condition or another. 16 percent of diabetic people within this age range die of stroke.
With this Data in mind, it is the primary reason why the American Diabetes Association has listed diabetes as one of the seven known risk factors of heart diseases that are controllable.
So where does watermelon fall on the glycemic index?
The GI or glycemic index is basically about the speed at which food sugars enter into the bloodstream. Every individual food item gets a GI value of between 1 and 100.
These GI values are determined by how each food is compared to a specific reference item. White bread or sugar is generally used for reference.
Glycemic load (GL) is another important factor to consider. The GL is a combination of the actual carbohydrate content in a typical serving of food and the GI. People have argued that GL provides a more realistic value of how a particular food can have an effect on blood sugar levels.
This approach is a fairly common one, as it is mostly used by individuals who are managing diabetes by counting their carbohydrate consumption. Foods that have a medium or low GI are often considered to be less likely to increase your blood sugar levels.
A GI of less than 55 or exactly 55 is considered as a low GI. For a GI that falls between 55 and 69, it is generally said to be medium. Any GI that goes above 70 is considered as high.
As for a GL, when it is under 10, it is considered to be low, a GL of 10 to 19 is considered as a medium, While a GI of 19 and above is high. Watermelon is a sugar powerhouse even though it typically possesses a GI of 72 and a GL of 2 in every service of 100 gram.
Despite the fact that the GL of watermelon is low, see to it that any meals containing watermelon are balanced with a low-GI food or low-GI foods to read any potential blood sugar increase. The Sugars in watermelon are healthy and good for people with hypoglycemia.
What are other diabetes-friendly fruits?
Even though eating watermelon comes with its own benefits, you should consciously try to balance your meals with fruits that possess a lower GI. Try to only pick up fresh fruit wherever you can, as fresh fruits have no form of added sugars.
If you must ever purchase canned or frozen fruit, do not forget to opt for canned fruits that are soaked in fruit juice instead of syrup. Pay careful attention to the canned fruit label and read carefully so you can notice any hidden sugars.
Fruit juice and dried fruits should be consumed not as often as fresh fruit should be. The reason for this is because of calorie density, smaller recommended portion sizes, and sugar concentration.
If the sugar in watermelon is discouraging you from eating fruits because you’re diabetic, consider the following diabetes-friendly fruits that have a low GI:
Plums: If you eat 2 whole plums you consume a GI of 24 and a GL of 4 which is healthy for you.
Grapefruit: You can eat 1 average size of grapefruit as it has a GI of 25 and a GL of 7
Peaches: 1 large peach has a GI of 28 and a GL of 5
Apricots: You can eat about 5 whole apricots as this will have a GI of 34 and a GL of 6
Pears: 1 small-sized pear carries a GI of 37 and a GL of 2
What does the sugar in watermelon mean for me, my diet, and my diabetes care?
If you are thinking about adding watermelon to your meal plan for every week, it’s best to take a look at your diet in general. As mentioned above, watermelon contains a high GI, yet has a low GL. Moderate consumption of watermelon is advised to avoid blood sugar level spikes.
Pay your doctor a visit and have a talk about how you would like to add some healthy sugars to your diet. The doctor should review your current diet plan and take a good look at your general health profile. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian whose job is to help you determine the best dietary plan for you.
A dietitian can give good answers to all of your questions, give some recommendation as regards portion sizes, and give you some advice on the best possible substitutes.
After you pay your doctor a visit, and you consult a dietitian, make sure to keep track of your physical response to including watermelon to your feeding plan. Make sure that you report any unusual spikes in your blood sugar or other problems that arise to your medical doctor.
Watermelon may be one of the superfruits on the planet, but the natural sugars in watermelon are something to watch out for.