Fruits and your sugar levels
Along with vitamins and minerals, fruits also contain carbohydrates. The carbs inevitably raise your blood sugar levels. Therefore, you must count the carbs consumed and track your fasting blood sugar levels.
Leaving out fruits from your diet if you have diabetes is not a great idea. You may still need the goodness of minerals and vitamins that fruits amply provide. Watermelons, for example, contain natural sugars. But consuming them in moderation may be beneficial even for an individual with diabetes. Let us find out how.
Before delving into whether watermelons spike blood glucose volumes, let us know more about normal blood sugar ranges. A simple blood test can measure fasting blood sugar levels. Draw blood through a needle in the vein or a prick in the finger. Ensure that you have not had anything to eat or drink, except water, for 8 to 12 hours before the test.
A reading of 99 mg/dL or lower is the normal fasting blood sugar level. A blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes. A blood sugar reading higher than 126 mg/dL indicates diabetes. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels tells you how well your body’s glucose targets are managed and helps prevent sugar-related complications.
To know if your body is managing glucose efficiently, you must be aware of your fasting blood sugar levels. The results of your fasting blood sugar will depend on the following:
- the meal consumed before testing
- the portion consumed
- the body’s insulin sensitivity
High fasting blood sugar values indicate insulin resistance, as the body cannot lower blood glucose levels even after hours of being on an empty stomach. In such cases, the condition has to be managed conservatively through proper medication, exercise, and dietary changes. Consuming fruits high in sugar content can cause more harm than good. However, knowing where to draw the line is crucial while including fruits like watermelons in the diet.
Are you worried about the content of sugar in watermelons and their suitability for a person with diabetes? Here is the detailed nutritional value chart of this popular fruit.
|Nutrients||Quantity (per 100 g)|
Vitamins (A, B, C, E, and K)
It all boils down to glycemic index (GI). The ability of a foodstuff to increase blood sugar levels is a measure of its GI. Foods with a GI below 55 are low GI foods, while those above 70 are high GI foods. Watermelon has a GI of 72, which raises red flags about it can be a part of a diabetes-friendly diet. Interestingly, even though it is a high-GI food, watermelon can be consumed by a person with diabetes. How? That is where the glycemic load (GL) enters the picture.
GL is the combined GI value and actual carbohydrate content in a foodstuff. A GL under 10 is considered low, and above 19 is considered high. As the content of sugar in watermelon is around 6 g, its GL value is 2 (per serving of 100 g). Thus, it is safe to consume in moderation without worrying about drastic spikes in glucose levels.
The health benefits of watermelons outnumber their potential risks. Here are some reasons this fruit can be one of the healthiest add-ons to your diet.
- Excellent for hydration
Watermelons replenish the water content as it constitutes more than 90% water. Sprinkling a bit of salt on it will help regain the body’s electrolytic balance.
- Good for cardiovascular health
Contrary to popular belief, the content of sugar in watermelon is low. It has a high quantity of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. It helps in stabilising blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Reduces inflammation
The vitamin C and antioxidants in watermelons are instrumental in lowering the risk of inflammation and oxidative stress.
- Rich source of iron
A slice of watermelon can provide up to 70 mg of iron. The vitamin C content in the fruit helps in better absorption of iron, thereby increasing haemoglobin levels in your bloodstream.
- Great for the eyes
Keep age-related eye disorders at bay by consuming a portion of this wonder fruit. Watermelons are rich in beta-carotene, which gets converted in our body to vitamin A. This vitamin A helps produce the necessary pigments to keep the retina in top shape.
- Reduces the risk of cancer
Increased lycopene intake reduces cancer risk, and watermelon is one of the best sources of this pigment. It helps neutralise free radicals and combat cancer-causing cells.
- Aids digestion
The high water and fibre content ensures regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Watermelons are among the quickest fruits to get digested.
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A person with diabetes must keep the following in mind while including watermelon in their diet:
- Consume it in its raw and unprocessed form.
- Add fats and proteins to the diet to decrease the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream.
- Have diced or chopped watermelon in the form of fruit salads.
- Avoid watermelon juice as it has a higher glycemic load.
- Do not consume other high-GI foods with watermelon.
- Keep a watch on the portion size.
One can safely consider watermelon a superfood, as, despite its high GI value, it is okay to consume it in moderation because of its low GL. Packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fibres, watermelon can do wonders for your health without making your fasting blood sugar levels skyrocket. Remember to count the carbs and enjoy the goodness of this fruit.