The glycemic index of watermelon is 76. This means it could give you a faster rise in blood sugar than foods with a lower GI.
1. What is the glycemic index (GI)?
The glycemic index (GI) is a value used to measure how much specific foods increase blood sugar levels.
Foods are classified as low, medium, or high glycemic foods and ranked on a scale of 0–100.
The lower the GI of a specific food, the less it may affect your blood sugar levels. Here are the three GI ratings:
Low: 55 or less
High: 70 or above
Foods high in refined carbs and sugar are digested more quickly and often have a high GI, while foods high in protein, fat, or fiber typically have a low GI. Foods that contain no carbs are not assigned a GI and include meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils.
Several factors influence the glycemic index of a food, including its nutrient composition, cooking method, ripeness, and the amount of processing it has undergone.
The glycemic index can not only help increase your awareness of what you’re putting on your plate but also enhance weight loss, decrease your blood sugar levels, and reduce your cholesterol.
Keep in mind that the glycemic index is different from the glycemic load (GL).
Unlike the GI, which doesn’t take into account the amount of food eaten, the GL factors in the number of carbs in a serving of a food to determine how it may affect blood sugar levels.
For this reason, it’s important to take both the glycemic index and glycemic load into consideration when selecting foods to help support healthy blood sugar levels.
2. Glycemic index of watermelon
Where a carbohydrate food falls on the glycemic index indicates how much it will raise your blood sugar. This is particularly important if you have diabetes, as your body’s ability to manage the amount of sugar in your blood is impaired. Although carbohydrate counting is a more effective way to plan meals and manage your glucose levels, the glycemic index can help you fine-tune your carb intake, reports the American Diabetes Association.
If a food has a low GI – less than 55 — it will affect your blood sugar less than a medium or high food will.
The carbohydrates in watermelon are mostly sugars, with only a little fiber. Half of the sugar is fructose, one quarter is glucose, and less than one quarter is sucrose, with other sugars making up minor fractions. If you are counting carbohydrates, it’s best to measure watermelon carefully.
1 cup diced watermelon (152g): 0.6 grams fiber, 9.4 grams sugars, 11.5 grams total carbohydrates, 10.9 grams net carbohydrates
1 medium-sized wedge of watermelon (286g): 1.1 grams fiber, 17.7 grams sugars, 21.6 grams total carbohydrates, 21 grams net carbohydrates
Watermelon has a glycemic index (GI) of 76. This means it could give you a faster rise in blood sugar than foods with a lower GI. However, when considering glycemic load (which takes into account how much you eat per serving), a half cup of chopped watermelon is 4, which is considered low.
Is watermelon OK for diabetics? Watermelon is safe for people with diabetes to eat in moderation. However, it is best to consume watermelon and other high GI fruits alongside foods that contain plenty of nutritious fats, fiber, and protein.
3. Health benefits of watermelon
Loaded With Lycopene
The cheery red color comes from lycopene, an antioxidant. Studies show it may help curb your risk of cancer and diabetes as part of a healthy lifestyle. Watermelon has more of this nutrient than any other fruit or veggie — even tomatoes. To load up on lycopene, choose a melon with bright red flesh rather than yellow or orange. And the riper, the better. Also, seedless melon tends to have more lycopene than those with seeds.
Watermelon is rich in an amino acid called citrulline that may help move blood through your body and can lower your blood pressure. Your heart also enjoys the perks of all the lycopene watermelon contains. Studies show that it may lower your risk of heart attacks. Of course, your whole lifestyle affects your heart health. So make sure you also work out, don’t smoke, limit saturated fat, and keep up with your doctor’s advice.
Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar
Trying to keep your blood glucose levels steady? You’re in luck. Watermelon has a glycemic index (GI) value of 76, about the same as a bowl of cornflakes. But it’s got few carbs. That means its glycemic load (how quickly it enters your bloodstream and how much glucose it can produce) is a mere 4. Enjoy a slice without guilt!
Easy to Digest
If you have a digestive condition like Crohn’s or colitis, the list of what not to eat during a flare can be long. You can put watermelon on your “yes” list. Its soft, fleshy fruit is easy for even an inflamed gut to digest. (Just don’t eat the rind or the seeds if you need to limit fiber.)
Read more: Watermelon nutrition facts and health benefits that you should know