Question:

I am a 65 year old male. I weigh 295 pounds with borderline diabetes (A1c 6.2). I love watermelon because it hydrates and satisfies my sweet tooth. Can I eat too much watermelon?

– Joseph H.

Answer:

Of course, you can eat too much of anything, even food with natural sugars! Watermelon is a more dilute fruit — its high water content (90%!) means less sugar per volume compared with other fruits. A single serving of watermelon at 2/3 cup (100 grams) provides only 7.6 gm carbohydrate. Eat a few servings and you’re back to a higher sugar intake.

Besides just focusing on controlling the sugar load, you should also consider balancing meals and snacks. It’s possible to modify the digestion/absorption speed of the fruit you eat. Consuming fat and protein (or fiber) with simple carbohydrates acts to slow digestion and absorption, thereby blunting the rise in blood sugar response. Example: add part-skim mozzarella, olive oil, basil & balsamic vinegar for a watermelon caprese salad.

Keep in mind your total calories, so reducing portions of fat and protein elsewhere in the day may be needed.

See our previous answers regarding fruit: Which Fruits Contain the Most Sugar, Which Fruits are Best to Eat and Do I Need to Limit Fruit.

Resources:

  1. Basic Report: 09326, Watermelon, raw. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Legacy Release. USDA. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/09326 Accessed 9.3.2019
  2. Best Snacks for People with Type 2 Diabetes by Zawn Villines. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317094.php  Updated April 5, 2019. Accessed 9.3.2019
  3. Healthy Eating With Diabetes: Your Menu Plan by WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/head2toe-15/diabetes-meal-plan February 13, 2017. Accessed 9.3.2019

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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