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Home / Nutrition / Can I Eat Watermelon on Keto

Can I Eat Watermelon on Keto

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg July 16, 2018

Let me guess.

You’re eyeing the platter of sliced watermelon at your friend’s backyard barbecue - and you’re itching to have a few slices.

But whoa, not so fast.

Because you’re on the ketogenic diet, and you haven’t a clue if eating watermelon is permitted.

Those questions racing in your mind?

You need answers, stat.

“Is watermelon too high carb for keto?”

“Will it knock me out of ketosis?”

“Will it stop weight loss?”

Let’s take a look.

In this article:

  1. How Did We Get Watermelon?
  2. Watermelon and Keto Diet
  3. Ways to Use Watermelon on Keto Diet
  4. Rocking Watermelon on Keto

How Did We Get This Delicious Fruity Treat, Anyway?

Watermelon has been around for thousands of years. Yes, seriously!

It’s believed to have originated in Africa’s Kalahari Desert. Makes sense, right? A watery fruit for the dry desert.

The first recorded watermelon harvest was nearly 5,000 years ago in Egypt, although the fruit was smaller and not nearly as sweet as today’s version.

Years of selective breeding have given us the delicious summertime treat we love. Mark Twain even went so far as to write his adoration of watermelon:

“When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat.”

While you might not rhapsodize about watermelon to the same extent as Mark Twain, you might love it enough that the thought of giving it up while on a keto diet makes you rebel.

Forget the promised weight loss. Never mind about the potential high energy and sharp mental clarity.

You want your watermelon! I mean, isn't it low-carb?

So here’s the thing...

You don’t have to give it up. There are just a few things to be aware of regarding eating watermelon on a ketogenic diet.

watermelon slices on a wooden board


Watermelon And The Keto Diet

First, let’s take a look at the carb count in watermelon because it’s good news.

Watermelon has just 7 grams per one-cup serving, well under your limit of 20 grams of net carbs per day if you’re very strict keto. So yes, it's low-carb.

And if you’re someone who can eat up to 50 grams of net carbs per day while remaining in ketosis, even better. (One reason why you might be able to eat the higher amount of net carbs is if you work out fairly hard and regularly.)

Though its carb count is good news, I want you to be aware that on the glycemic index watermelon scores a 72, which is considered high. The glycemic index is a scale showing how quickly a food will elevate your blood sugar levels.

Next, we’ll take a look at watermelon’s glycemic load, which is 4. The glycemic load is a measurement of the quantity of carbohydrates in a given food. The glycemic load is calculated by multiplying a food’s glycemic index ranking by the amount of digestible carbohydrates it contains, then dividing by 100. A score of less than 10 is considered to be on the low side.

More good news!

I give watermelon two thumbs up for a keto diet.

But there’s a catch.

Be aware that if you consume ever-larger amounts of food, the glycemic load increases, though the glycemic index stays steady. A higher glycemic load means a higher spike in your blood sugar, which will bump you out of ketosis.

So, what’s the answer?

As long as you eat a small enough amount to stay within your net carbs daily limit, you should stay in ketosis.

And isn’t that reassuring?


Ways To Use Watermelon On Keto

You don’t have to stick with plain old watermelon slices. There are numerous ways to jazz up this delicious fruit:

  • In a smoothie with heavy cream, sparkling water, ice cubes, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • As a low-carb mocktail using diced watermelon, sparkling water, a twist of lime and a small amount of a keto-friendly alternative sweetener
  • Concoct a delicious summer salad combining cubed watermelon, feta cheese, and chopped fresh mint leaves. You could switch the mint leaves for sliced cucumber for a very different taste. You’re limited only by your imagination for keto watermelon salad combinations; simply do an online search to find a variety of suggestions
  • Combine a few cubes with keto-friendly blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries

Sounds good, right?

watermelon salad with feta cheese and leafy greens


Rocking Watermelon On Keto

I know you’re relieved to find out you can still eat watermelon on keto.

Just be mindful of the amount.

We’ve all been to backyard barbeques or parties where pounds of watermelon are served. It’s easy to overeat it and knock yourself out of ketosis.

As long as your keto diet consists primarily of leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, moderate amounts of high-quality protein, healthy fats, nuts, and full-fat dairy, you can certainly enjoy a cupful of watermelon here and there.

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