Is Watermelon Good For Diabetes?

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is critical for those with diabetes. But knowing what food choices are best for your health can be difficult, especially when it comes to fruit, which can be high in natural sugars. Knowing whether to reach for an apple or a banana is essential for blood sugar balance. So what about watermelon?

Every person with diabetes has individual needs, notes WebMD, but being aware of how many carbohydrates you're consuming is key for determining the serving size and managing blood sugar. While counting carbs is important, knowing a fruit's glycemic index (GI) is helpful as well. The GI is a scale that measures how quickly foods will raise your blood sugar (via Cleveland Clinic). The lower the number, the slower the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, with a scale from 0-100. Eating a low GI diet can help you to manage your post-meal blood sugar changes. Fruits that are low on the GI scale include strawberries, apples, and pears.

How watermelon measures up when it comes to diabetes

Watermelon has a GI coming in at around 72, according to Medical News Today. Any food that has a GI of 70 or above is considered high. However, watermelon also has a high percentage of water in it. Harvard Health explains that this means that it has a low glycemic load, which is a measurement that explains how much sugar, or carbohydrates, are in a particular food. Watermelon's glycemic load is only 5, so while it has a high GI and makes sugar enter the bloodstream quickly, it doesn't actually have that much sugar, as long as you don't eat too much of it.

Watermelon also contains a lot of important vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, says Medical News Today. Experts recommend eating watermelon alongside fats and proteins like nuts or seeds, which will help slow the sugar's absorption into the bloodstream. It's also important to note the difference between raw watermelon and watermelon juice, which has a much higher glycemic load and should be avoided.