Unless you’ve been living under a rock with noise-canceling headphones on, you’ve probably heard of the keto diet. But isn’t the whole point of keto that you have a high fat, low carb diet? What does that mean for our favorite fruits like watermelon?
Spoiler alert: Watermelon is a great option for you.
Is watermelon keto-friendly?
Watermelon is actually one of the lowest carb fruits there is. It’s a general rule of thumb that the more water a fruit contains, the lower in carbs it is. So, melons, berries, and avocados are all #SquadGoals.
And water is, unsurprisingly, one of the main features of watermelon. So, not only is watermelon super-refreshing on a hot day, but it’s also mega low in carbs, and therefore, keto-friendly!
In short: The keto diet works by dramatically reducing the number of carbs you eat. This means your bod has less glucose to use, which kicks off a process called ketosis that uses your stored fats for energy instead. And this process can help you manage your weight.
But fruits are pretty carby, right? So, can you get all the health benefits from watermelon while sticking to your (pretty slim) carb limit? Let’s take a look!
Heck, yeah, you can!
But… (Yes, we know, there’s always a but.)
The whole point of a keto diet is a dramatic drop in your daily carb intake. And if you don’t stay within those strict guidelines, the diet just isn’t gonna work, because your body will just stick to its usual routine. Harvard’s School of Public Health says that most keto diets recommend that you drop your carb count to between 5 and 10 percent of your total daily food intake.
Assuming that you consume around 2,000 calories per day, 5 to 10 percent counts for less than a single, medium-sized, plain bagel. It’s not much, is it? So, you have to do a bit of juggling.
You can *absolutely* eat watermelon on a keto diet. But bear in mind that it does still contain carbs. So, you’ll need to keep an eye on how much watermelon you munch, as well as what your carb intake looks like for the rest of the day.
With a little planning, that watermelon juice will be running down your chin in no time.
1 cup of watermelon provides 11.5 grams (g) of carbs.
Some keto diet plans recommend reducing your carb intake to under 50 g a day. And this is where your juggling begins, because you’ll have to check the carb content of everything else you’re planning to eat.
If you can’t fit those 11.5 g in without going over your daily carb limit, you’re better off leaving them for another day.
But you might be planning a glorious onslaught of watermelon. In that case, you can eat the equivalent of 4 cups without teetering over your limit. Enjoy!
However, if you want to tap into those watermelon urges without frog-leaping your carb limit for the day, why not go for 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup watermelon instead? Same flavor, just slightly less. And that might just leave enough wiggle room for *that* bagel…
Watermelon is indeed low carb.
But you have to carefully plan a keto diet for it to have any effect. So, how low in carbs is it? All fruits contain carbs. At the same time, we don’t want to miss out on the nifty health benefits that come with getting a good intake. (So, no skipping on the fruits, OK?)
And that goes double for watermelon, because a small study found that watermelons can be useful for weight loss. It seems that consuming a daily dose of watermelon can help with reductions in weight, BMI, and blood pressure, and they actually make you feel fuller than eating a cookie.
What are the other benefits of watermelon?
Watermelon may be your new BFF. It’s not just lovely and refreshing, but plays host to a bunch of potential benefits:
- It has links to improved heart health.
- Watermelon can help people manage some factors of obesity and diabetes (by filling you up and reducing the urge to snack).
- It may help the management of some age-related illnesses and ulcerative colitis.
- Those beautiful pink slices provide a bounty of antioxidants, which counter the effects of harmful, disease-causing free radical molecules that have links to cancer development. Watermelon’s antioxidant content might help you reduce your risk of cancer.
Also, they taste frickin’ great. So, there’s that.
Sure, you can eat plain old watermelon. It’s a healthy snack. Shoot your shot.
But how about taking watermelon all the way to its true potential (like a fruit-based Pokémon) and using it in some keto-friendly meals and snacks? Try out these recipes — gotta catch ’em all!
- Watermelon smoothie. Eating watermelon is so last year — we want to drink it! Start your day off *perfecto* with this smoothie, which is low carb, refreshing, and ridiculously easy to make. It’s perfect for summer days or evenings in the sunshine.
- Watermelon salad. It might seem like the obvious route, but you can’t go wrong with a watermelon salad. It’ll fill you up while keeping you nicely under your 50-g limit. And why have watermelon as a snack when it can be a main meal? This recipe adds vinaigrette and crispy prosciutto for flavor — and comes in at a mere 4.5 g carbs.
- Watermelon pizza. 🚨Dessert pizza made from watermelon alert! 🚨 It’s low carb, healthy, full of fruits and flavor, and makes for a stunning dessert. If you’re hosting a party, this gives you that crucial low carb option.
- Watermelon popsicles. Who doesn’t love a popsicle in the summer? And there’s no reason you should miss out. This recipe is natural, sugar-free, and looks the part on Insta.
- Watermelon cocktail. Yeah, you may be on a keto diet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself! This refreshing cocktail is low carb and alcohol-optional. If you’re hosting a party, you’ll probably find that everyone else wants one, too.
Whenever you switch up your dietary regimen, be careful.
Keto diets can have a pretty awesome weight loss impact for some peeps, but they can also cause adverse effects if you have underlying health conditions like diabetes. And even though fruits contain carbs, they’re an important part of a healthy diet, watermelon or otherwise.
Plus, it’s not an easy eating plan, with “keto flu” presenting roadblocks for those starting out. As your body adjusts to the switcheroo in its energy source, it can lead to:
- flu-like symptoms
- tiredness and low energy
- feeling sick
- tummy troubles
- changes to your heart rate
You might want to check in with your doctor or dietitian before attempting a keto diet. It’s not for everyone and still relatively controversial among nutrition pros, regardless of what that ripped person on your IG feed tells you.
Watermelons are indeed keto-friendly. Rejoice! But remember that they still contain carbs. So, you’re going to have to balance it up. Can you fit those carbs in today? If not, you can simply leave them for another time, or just eat a smaller portion to fit your daily carb quota.
And because watermelon is an incredibly versatile fruit, you can have some fun with it. Eat it as a snack! Add it to your salad as a main meal! Make a freakin’ cocktail with it! The world is your melon.
So, enjoy your watermelons responsibly, and reap all the health benefits they bring!