Are watermelon calories a good source of energy for a weight-conscious person? Even though watermelon is a fruit, and therefore technically healthy, anything so sweet has to have a ton of sugar in it, right?
No need to worry — the sugar in watermelon likely isn't to blame for any trouble you're having losing weight, and actually might even help you lose it. What's more, watermelon's nutritional offering is great for your overall health.
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Watermelon consumption can actually help you lose weight because watermelon calories are far fewer per volume than many other foods, and its natural sugars will help satisfy your body's cravings for something sweet.
Watermelon Calories Comparison
Fresh fruit doesn't come with a nutritional label printed on the side the way packaged food does, so you're not able to refer to or how much sugar is in a serving of watermelon — or even what a serving size is. Here's how watermelon calories compare with those of several other common fruits:
- One large apple: 130 calories
- One large banana: 110 calories
- One medium pear: 100 calories
- 2 cups watermelon: 80 calories
Filling up on fruits and vegetables — including watermelon — aids in weight loss because you're able to eat the same volume of food for far fewer calories. Compare watermelon with another summer treat, such as ice cream, and you'll see fresh fruit has a major benefit when it comes to weight loss: Two cups of ice cream contain more than 500 calories.
Sugar in Watermelon
If you're watching your sugar intake, watermelon might make you a little wary because it has 20 grams of sugar per 2-cup serving. But don't forget that your body needs sugar. You might have heard of "net carbs," which the Mayo Clinic describes as the number of carbohydrates remaining after you subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbohydrates.
Unlike fiber, net carbs are broken down by the body into glucose to be used for energy. Sugar accounts for all net carbs in watermelon, since it has no starch. Watermelon has only 1 gram of fiber per serving.
Your body will be better served when fed natural sugar from fruits and vegetables rather than added sugar in processed foods. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends eating fruit to satisfy sugar cravings, and even centering dessert on fruit, as ways for kids to cut back on sugar.
Read more: What Are Sugar Alcohols — and Are They Safe to Eat?
What About Watermelon Nutrition?
Watermelon isn't just great for being a low-calorie fix for your sweet tooth. The National Watermelon Promotion Board states that watermelon is packed with vitamins and minerals that people tend to consume too little of. These essential nutrients include potassium, vitamin C and folate.
A recent study published by Nutrients in March 2019 examined how eating watermelon affected satiety response and cardiometabolic risk factors in adults that had overweight and obesity. The study compared test subjects who ate 2 cups of watermelon every day for four weeks with test subjects who ate low-fat cookies, and it found that watermelon increased feelings of satiety.
By the end of the four weeks, watermelon decreased body weight, body mass index, systolic blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio. The study also noted that watermelon is a good source of lycopene, a carotenoid that may protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
So, next time you get the chance to cut into a fresh watermelon, don't hesitate. Watermelon nutrition means this fruit is a beloved warm-weather goody that won't hurt your weight-loss efforts.
- Food and Drug Administration: "Fruits: Nutrition Facts"
- Mayo Clinic: "Are You Adding Too Much Sugar to Your Diet?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Nutrition and Healthy Eating"
- American Academy of Family Physicians: "Nutrition Tips for Kids"
- Watermelon.org: "Watermelon + MyPlate"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight"
- Nutrients: "Effects of Fresh Watermelon Consumption on the Acute Satiety Response and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Ice Creams, Vanilla"