I love summer for more reasons than I can count. The bikinis and monokinis, the outdoor picnics and barbecues, the glowy tan I get and of course watermelons! I hope you’ll agree that no fruit quenches summer thirst quite like a watermelon. It is no wonder they have become a staple in most summer picnics.
But just how much should one indulge in this juicy fruit? Is watermelon fattening? Can watermelon help you lose weight?
These are but a few of the questions most folks grapple with every summer. Lucky for you, I’m here to enlighten you about all things watermelon.
A Little Bit About Watermelon
Watermelons are tropical to subtropical plants. To survive these plants require around 25 °C (77 °F) temperature. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family of plants and its botanical name is Citrullus lanatus. The plant is a creeper and gives a large round fruit with a hard rind and fleshy inside.
The outer skin is usually is dark green to a lighter shade of green in colour with the inside rind being white and flesh is dark pink to red. The flesh is sweet and juicy with dark brown to black coloured seeds. Nowadays even seedless varieties are being grown.
The white rind in harder than the flesh, it can’t be eaten directly as such; though it can be cooked and eaten. It can be used as any other cooked vegetable and added to curries, soups, gravy and as a side dish.
The pink-red fleshy part is eaten raw. Watermelons are super-cooling fruits and very refreshing especially during the hot summers.
Is Watermelon Fattening?
The short and sweet answer is No.
However, the proper nutritional information is not that cut and dry. As they say, too much of anything is poisonous and the same can be said for watermelon. Well, that’s not to say that you will literally be poisoned by watermelons.
To accurately answer this question we must first explore how one gains weight. Simply put one “gets fat” when you consume more calories than you burn. Watermelon happens to have calories like every other fruit and food under the sun albeit in very low quantities.
If you eat a cup of watermelon you can count yourself 46 calories richer. With this logic, you’d have to consume about close to two whole watermelons to eat the recommended 2000 calories a day.
Unless you are trapped in a deserted island, I am sure you aren’t consuming two whole watermelons all on your own. So in reality, it’s quite hard to argue that you will gain weight solely from eating watermelon.
The contrary is actually true. Its low caloric count makes it a great option for those watching their weights. It is 91 % water, 6% sugars and contains negligible amounts of fat.
How Much Sugar In Watermelon?
The only worrisome bit about eating watermelon is its sugar content. I bet you have heard the bad rap that sweet fruits get. We’ve been led to believe that any sugar-containing fruit will ultimately make us fat.
Well, this is just but a fad. You don’t get bigger by having a sweet tooth. You become fatter when you consume too many calories. Even though most sweet things happen to contain a lot of calories, you can still indulge in them in moderation.
As stated earlier, a cup of watermelon has roughly 46 calories. These calories are almost entirely due to the 9 grams of sugar contained in one cup of watermelon. This amount of sugar is not enough to make you a diabetic even if you ate ten cups of watermelon a day.
What’s more, watermelon has a low glycemic load of about 8. Simply put the sugar is not concentrated. It boasts of sufficient fibre and water that prevents the sugar from being absorbed immediately. As such the sugar-high of watermelon is not the same as that from candy. In any case, its sugar content is much lower than most fruits out there.
If you are hoping to indulge in a few slices of watermelon then you need not fret about sugar content. The issue arises when you want to feat on a whole watermelon alone.
Watermelon’s Hydrating Power
From the name alone, I bet you can guess that it is mostly water. About 92% of it is pure water. No wonder it’s a hit during summer. Eating a cup of watermelon is just as hydrating as drinking a cup of water. Keep in mind that water has no calories whatsoever and is quite good at hunger suppression.
With this logic, about 9/10 of watermelon will help you lose weight. The water will fill you up without racking up your calories. Even better it will prevent you from overeating.
In summary, you’ll have the benefits of nutritional value, hydration and great taste while curbing food cravings.
Any Other Nutritional Benefits?
Along with being low on calories it is rich in some other nutrients as well.
It contains Vitamin C, Carotenoids and Lycopene. All three of which are powerful anti-oxidants.
Anti-oxidants help in scavenging the damaging free-radicals. Free-radicals are harmful to your body since they attack the body cells and DNA and are responsible for the destruction of healthy cells in the body, thus leading to dangerous effects such as early ageing of important organs such as heart, brain, kidneys etc.
Keep in mind free-radicals are one of the major culprits when it comes to lifestyle-related disorders and diseases such as heart problems, diabetes, metabolic disorders, skin issues, vision problems, cancer and many more. These free-radicals can be generated due to faulty food habits, pollution, smoking etc.
Anti-oxidants are your defence system against these free-radicals. Thus Vitamin C, carotenoids and lycopene help in fighting with these damaging substances.
Enjoy This Yummy Fruit Your Way!
Watermelon can be eaten along with other fruits as a fruit salad or individually as well. Also, watermelon juice is a great thirst quencher and a tasty option as compared to other high-calorie beverages. Always remember to not waste the fiber and include it in the juice for maximum benefits.