Watermelon contains carbohydrate and of late
carbohydrate has become a dirty word. Of course, some carbohydrate-rich
foods, such as breads and other products made with white flour, are bad
news. But others, including vegetables, whole grains, beans, and fruits,
are a very important part of a diabetic diet. It all depends on how a
particular carbohydrate is metabolised in the body.
Although all carbohydrates are ultimately broken down into glucose and
other simple sugars, the rate at which this happens varies. Some cause a
rapid and dramatic rise in blood sugar levels, while others are
digested more slowly and their sugars are released into the bloodstream
more gradually. Several factors determine where a food falls in this
spectrum, including the type of carbohydrate and amount of fibre it
contains, how much it has been processed, how long it is cooked, even
how acidic it is.
A means of evaluating this and thereby assigning a set of values to
foods is called the glycaemic index. The higher the glycaemic index of a
particular food, the faster and more dramatic the rise in blood sugar
after eating it. However, because it ignores the amount of carbohydrate
in an average serving of a food, it needed a little refining. Enter the
glycaemic load. The glycaemic load of a food takes into account both the
glycaemic index and the number of carbohydrates per serving, giving us a
more reasonable indication of a foods impact on blood sugar.
Watermelon, has a high glycaemic index. However, a typical serving,
because so much of it is water, contains very little carbohydrate and
thus has a low glycaemic load. Three-quarters of a cup of watermelon
balls has fewer than nine grams of carbohydrate.
You would have to eat a heck of a lot of watermelon to have the same
impact on your blood sugar that a single slice of bread would have. This
means that watermelon, carrots, and some other high-glycaemic index
foods that diabetics may previously have shied away from are perfectly