Is watermelon good for weight loss?

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Medically reviewed by Karina Tolentino, RD, CHWC

If you’re trying to lose weight, watermelon is one of the best fruits to include in your diet. It is high in water but low in calories, which can keep your appetite in check. Watermelon contains beneficial compounds that may help burn fat and improve digestion.

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This article discusses everything you need to know about watermelon for weight loss, including its potential benefits and harms.

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How watermelon helps you lose weight

Watermelon contains nutrients that may help with weight loss by promoting satiety, enhancing exercise performance, burning fat and aiding in digestion. It can also satisfy the sweet tooth.

It keeps you full

Watermelon is 92% water, making it an excellent choice for staying hydrated. Dehydration can make you feel hungry instead of thirsty, resulting in unnecessary calorie intake when your body needs water.

Also, because watermelon is made up mostly of water, it has a low calorie density, so you can eat a lot of it without taking in a lot of calories. Studies show that people get full by the amount of food they eat, not the amount of calories they consume.

In one study, participants were given 2 cups of watermelon or low-fat cookies with the same calories per day for four weeks. The researchers found that those in the watermelon group experienced decreased hunger, less food intake, and a reduced desire to eat. Watermelon consumption also significantly reduced body weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio.

Low in calories

One cup of watermelon has 45 calories. Swapping high-calorie, ultra-processed snacks for watermelon can help you cut calories and lose weight while still feeling satisfied.

One study found that consuming low-calorie, high-volume foods before a meal can reduce hunger and overall calorie intake, which can help with weight loss.

Relieve sore muscles from exercise

Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which increases blood concentrations of L-arginine (an amino acid that helps the body build protein). This can increase nitric oxide production, improving blood flow and muscle oxygen delivery.

Nitric oxide also regulates various skeletal muscle functions, including muscle contraction and repair. The increase in nitric oxide from consuming citrulline can help reduce muscle soreness.

Vigorous exercise can cause ammonia and lactic acid to build up, resulting in decreased exercise capacity and muscle fatigue. Some evidence suggests that citrulline may reduce blood ammonia and lactate levels, which may help improve exercise performance and reduce muscle soreness.

Research has found improvements in muscle soreness and recovery heart rate 24 hours after consuming 500 milliliters (ml) of natural watermelon juice.

Helps curb a sweet tooth

Watermelon contains natural sugars, which can satisfy your sweet tooth with fewer calories than traditional sweets.

However, despite its sweetness, watermelon has less sugar than many other fruits. This could make it a better option for those who watch their blood sugar.

One cup of watermelon has just 9 grams (g) of sugar, while one cup of grapes contains about 23 g.

Helps burn fat

The citrulline in watermelon can be metabolized into arginine. Some studies suggest that arginine supplementation can significantly reduce BMI, waist circumference, and fat mass. It can also help increase muscle mass. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

This may be due to its potential to increase the development of brown adipose tissue as well thermogenesis (the heat production process). Brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, is a special type of fat that can produce heat and increase the amount of calories your body burns.

Improve digestion

With its high water content, watermelon may be beneficial to digestive health. Water keeps food moving through your digestive system, which can help reduce and prevent bloating. Additionally, water helps break down food so that its nutrients can be absorbed.

Watermelon also contains small amounts of fiber, which helps clean out buildup in the digestive tract to improve gut health.

You risk eating too much watermelon

While watermelon is incredibly nutritious, overeating can cause unwanted side effects.

Watermelon is a food high in fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs). FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that are not easily absorbed in the intestines. While many people have no problems with FODMAPs, they can cause pain, bloating, constipation, and/or diarrhea in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Excess watermelon can raise blood sugar in people with diabetes. It can also cause a rare condition called lycopenemiawhich causes yellow-orange skin discoloration.

Who should avoid watermelon?

Some people who are allergic to ragweed or grass pollen may react to watermelon. If you have pollen allergies and experience hives, vomiting, or difficulty breathing after eating raw watermelon, you should avoid it, especially during allergy season.

Avoid eating watermelon if you are prone to migraines, as there is evidence that it can trigger headaches in people with migraines. However, if you experience no symptoms after consuming watermelon, there is no need to avoid it.

Is the watermelon diet healthy?

The watermelon diet is a low-calorie diet plan that involves eating only watermelon. While watermelon is a healthy food, there is no evidence that the watermelon diet offers any health benefits. Relying solely on watermelon, which is low in fat, protein and many other essential nutrients, can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and fatigue, just to name a few.

Ways to incorporate watermelon into your diet

Watermelon is a versatile fruit that can be easily incorporated into your diet. Here are some creative ways to enjoy watermelon:

  • Cut watermelon into cubes for a hydrating snack.

  • Grill the sliced ​​watermelon for a few minutes on each side, turning it into a tasty watermelon steak.

  • Mix watermelon chunks with feta cheese, cucumber, and fresh mint to create a watermelon salad.

  • Blend the watermelon and pour the juice into popsicle molds, freeze until solid.

  • Make the watermelon salsa by combining diced watermelon, red onion, cilantro, jalapeo, and lime juice.

Can you eat watermelon every day?

Most healthy adults can safely consume up to 2 cups of watermelon per day to meet the recommended daily fruit intake. However, it’s a good idea to incorporate other fruits into your diet to provide your body with a wide range of nutrients.

Watermelon-like fruit

Other water-rich fruits that are low in calories and may aid in weight loss include:

  • Strawberries

  • Cantaloupe

  • Cucumbers

  • Honeydew melons

  • Peaches

  • Oranges

  • Grapefruit


Watermelon has a high water content with very few calories, making it a filling snack that can help with weight loss. The fruit also contains beneficial compounds that can help reduce body fat, maintain lean muscle mass, and relieve muscle soreness.

However, it’s important to note that while watermelon is a nutritious food, it shouldn’t be relied on solely for weight loss. Instead, it should be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.

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