Should Diabetic Dieters Avoid Eating Watermelon?


Slices of Fresh Watermelon

No. In fact, according to the American Diabetes Association*, you are encouraged to enjoy them as part of a balanced diet. Persons diagnosed with diabetes and those who are borderline diabetic suffer from a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to correctly utilize the sugar absorbed from the foods they eat. In order for them to manage their blood sugar levels each day, diabetics have to consider their daily intake of carbohydrates when deciding which foods to put on their plate. Since high blood sugar levels can damage the heart and kidneys, foods that have high sugar or saturated fat content should be avoided.  

Many people have mistakenly assumed that watermelon would also be bad for those who are trying to lose weight but that is not true. The fruit's high fiber and water content coupled with a relatively low sugar content can help manage hunger pangs without negatively impacting blood sugar levels. Free radicals caused by oxidation can cause permanent damage to the body and both lycopene and vitamin C are potent antioxidants that are found in watermelon. The melon is also a rich source for vitamin A as well as vitamin B1 and B6. Researchers at Florida State University believe an amino acid found in watermelon can help to improve blood flow.

Due to its broad range of health benefits, watermelon is being touted today as both a Super-Food and a Functional Food. Watermelons have no fat or cholesterol and are a great source of potassium which helps to minimize the effects of sodium on a diabetic's or dieter's blood pressure. Just remember to count the carbohydrates (about 22 grams and 86 calories per slice). So, consuming a piece of this fresh fruit for dessert or as a snack is a great way to supplement your menu plan, satisfy your sweet tooth, and beat the summer heat.

*If you are following a strict diet due to any medical condition, you should ask your healthcare provider, dietician or weight loss consultant before adding any new food to your menu plan.

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