With only 85 calories per serving, watermelon makes a perfect snack between meals. It's healthy and refreshing, providing both flavor and nutrition. Plus, it fills you up quickly and curbs sugar cravings.
The watermelon diet, though, won't necessarily help you get in shape for the summer. In fact, you might end up gaining weight once you return to normal eating.
This diet plan requires eating nothing but watermelon for five to seven days. It's too low in calories and may lead to nutrient deficiencies. In the long run, it can slow down your metabolism and affect lean body mass.
Read more: 9 Unhealthy, Even Dangerous Weight-Loss Diets
What Is the Watermelon Diet?
The watermelon diet is promoted as a detox plan that cleanses your body and aids in weight loss. Its proponents claim that it helps flush out toxins, boosts your energy levels and wards off infections.
Sounds good, doesn't it? There's a catch, though. You must eat nothing but watermelon for five to seven days — or even 10 days. That's rule number one.
The second rule says that dieters must eat 1 kilogram of watermelon for every 10 kilograms of body weight. Some versions include two or more phases to help you keep the pounds off.
Does It Work?
Just like the pineapple diet or the cantaloupe diet, this slimming plan is low in calories and lacks variety. To put it simply, it's a crash diet that limits your food choices and can take a toll on your metabolism.
According to a 2018 study published by the European Society of Cardiology, crash diets may accelerate weight loss, lower blood pressure and improve diabetes symptoms. The downside is that they may affect cardiovascular function and worsen existing heart problems. Subjects who followed a diet providing only 600 to 800 calories per day experienced a 44 percent increase in heart fat levels after just one week.
Read more: The 14 Best Foods for Your Heart
As MedlinePlus notes, fad diets rarely have lasting results and can deprive the body of essential nutrients. Furthermore, they may cause muscle loss and slow down your metabolism, so you'll burn fewer calories throughout the day.
What this means is that the watermelon diet can help you get leaner, but its risks outweigh the benefits. There are safer ways to lose those pesky pounds and keep them off.
Watermelon Benefits and Nutrition Facts
Watermelon has its place in a balanced diet. This fruit is over 90 percent water, so it helps keep you hydrated and quench your thirst. Plus, it's rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron and antioxidants. One serving provides:
- 85.8 calories
- 1.7 grams of protein
- 21.6 grams of carbs
- 0.4 gram of fat
- 1.1 grams of fiber
- 33 percent of the DV (daily value) of vitamin A
- 39 percent of the DV of vitamin C
- 6 percent of the DV of thiamin
- 9 percent of the DV of potassium
- 7 percent of the DV of magnesium
As you can see, this fruit offers more than one-third of the daily recommended intake of vitamins A and C. These nutrients exhibit antioxidant properties and may protect against heart disease, cancer and free radical damage. Watermelon is also a good source of l-arginine, l-citrulline and various antioxidants that may help decrease post-exercise inflammation and boost immune function, according to a 2016 review published in the journal Nutrients.
Watermelon benefits your heart too. A 2014 study featured in the American Journal of Hypertension found that this fruit may reduce cardiac stress and aortic blood pressure in adults with obesity. Lycopene, one of the most abundant antioxidants in watermelon, may lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Delicious Ways to Enjoy Watermelon
The watermelon diet alone may not be healthy, but the fruit itself packs a hefty nutritional punch. Replacing your go-to snacks with watermelon can help reduce your calorie intake and keep you full longer, making weight loss easier.
If you're craving dessert, dip this fruit in dark chocolate and let it set in the fridge. To make ice cream, blend watermelon, coconut milk and vanilla extract, and then freeze the mixture for about half an hour.
Read more: Benefits of Juicing Watermelon and Watermelon Water
Experiment with watermelon smoothies, lollipops, frozen fruit pops and salsa. You can even add watermelon to soups, salads and other savory dishes. It's a simple, convenient way to boost your antioxidant intake and stay hydrated.
- SELFNutritionData: Watermelon, Raw
- StyleCraze: What Is Watermelon Diet and What Are Its Benefits?
- Mavcure: Watermelon Diet: Perfect Way to Cleanse Your Body & Lose Weight
- European Society of Cardiology: Crash Diets Can Cause Transient Deterioration in Heart Function
- MedlinePlus: Diets
- NCBI: Nutrients: Body Composition Changes in Weight Loss: Strategies and Supplementation for Maintaining Lean Body Mass, a Brief Review
- Precision Nutrition: Can Eating Too Little Actually Damage Your Metabolism?
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release: Watermelon, Raw
- Nature.com: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Sources of Vegetables, Fruits and Vitamins A, C and E Among Five Ethnic Groups
- MDPI: Nutrients: Comparison of Watermelon and Carbohydrate Beverage on Exercise-Induced Alterations in Systemic Inflammation, Immune Dysfunction, and Plasma Antioxidant Capacity
- American Journal of Hypertension: Effects of Watermelon Supplementation on Aortic Hemodynamic Responses to the Cold Pressor Test in Obese Hypertensive Adults
- Europe PMC: Watermelon Lycopene and Allied Health Claims