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The benefits of eating watermelon for weight loss

Watermelon is one of many low-calorie fruits that can be helpful for losing weight.

Is Watermelon Good For Weight Loss? | Juniper

When it comes to weight loss, there is plenty of advice out there. Some of it is good — like eating a healthy diet full of whole foods, fruits and vegetables. And some of it is bad — like eating only watermelon to lose weight fast.

One of our goals is to steer you away from bad advice and help you build a better picture of how to approach weight loss with a long-term, holistic mindset.

That starts with helping you understand how food fits into the picture, which foods are good for weight loss and why.

Watermelon is one of many low-calorie fruits that can be helpful for losing weight. Not only is it good for your everyday health, but it's also a delicious snack for anyone with a sweet tooth.

But is eating watermelon alone enough for sustainable weight loss? And, if it isn't, what else can you do to achieve your goals? Read on for answers to those questions and more.

Is watermelon good for weight loss?

Let’s dive right in with the question of the day — can eating watermelon help you lose weight? As part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, yes it can.

Most fruits contain very few calories while also being full of hydrating water and gut-friendly fibre. That makes them a great snack to increase feelings of fullness, but not calories [1][3].

To be specific with watermelon, 1 cup of this fruit contains around 46 calories — plus a boost of nutrients like 21% of your daily vitamin C and 17% of your daily vitamin A needs [1].

We also have some good scientific evidence that a daily snack of watermelon can support weight loss.

In a study from the US, researchers compared the health benefits of different snacks: watermelon and low-fat cookies. Both snacks were 92 calories, and both were eaten daily for a period of 4 weeks.

At the end of the study, it was watermelon that came out on top. Snacking on watermelon was linked to lower body weight, feeling fuller for longer, and stable blood sugars [1].

There are a few theories for why watermelon might help with weight loss. One is simply the volume of what you’re eating. In this study, it took 2 cups of watermelon to reach the same calorie intake as the cookies. So, even though you’re eating more overall, you’re still keeping calories low. 

Another theory comes from new research which found that an amino acid in watermelon, known as arginine, can increase your metabolism which means you burn fat faster [3].

What are the health benefits of watermelon?

There are so many reasons beyond weight loss to enjoy watermelon. It really is an amazing food that has many benefits for your overall health.

It's a super hydrating fruit 

They don’t call it water-melon for nothing — this fruit is actually 90% water. While most of our hydration needs come from what we drink, a small amount comes from our food as well. Watermelon is a great snack for summertime that can help you beat the dehydrating heat [5]. 

Bonus tip: watermelon is a great post-workout snack to rehydrate your body. Adding a sprinkle of salt to fresh watermelon can replenish electrolytes too.

It's full of essential nutrients

Most fruits and vegetables are packed full of nutrients. Take watermelon as an example — this sweet fruit contains vitamins A, B, C and E, plus magnesium, calcium, and iron [2][5]. 

The best time to eat any fruit is when it's in season because that’s when the vitamin and mineral content is at its peak [3].

It contains powerful antioxidants

There are 2 antioxidants that give watermelon its pretty pink colour, which also happen to be disease-fighting, oxidative stress-busting wonders.

Lycopene and beta-carotene are naturally occurring antioxidants that are found in watermelon, tomatoes, strawberries, and many other fruits and vegetables [2].

They are known to fight free radical damage which helps limit risks of heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. They are also found to support the immune system and may have a part to play in slowing signs of ageing [1], [2].

In good news, watermelon juice also has plenty of lycopene in it, so you can reap the benefits from eating or drinking this fruit [2]. 

It's good for your skin, eyes, and overall health

The combination of all those vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in watermelon makes it a wonder fruit for your general well-being [1][2][5]:

  • Vitamins A and C, plus lycopene can improve your eye health
  • Fibre helps improve your digestion
  • Vitamins A, B6, and C are good for your skin's health, keeping it smooth, supple, and breakout-free
  • Watermelon has also been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure

It's the richest food source of citrulline

You may not have heard of citrulline before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Citrulline is an amino acid that has many functions in your body — from protecting your immune system to improving sexual stamina, preventing anaemia, and helping reduce muscle soreness after exercise [2][5]. 

Watermelon just happens to be the richest food source of citrulline that we know of [1].

Does watermelon help you lose belly fat?

To answer this question simply — watermelon might help you lose belly fat, but it won’t be a targeted intervention like you think.

In the study we mentioned earlier, the results showed a decrease in waist-to-hip ratio after 4 weeks of snacking on watermelon. This suggests it can help with weight in tricky areas like your stomach and hips [1]. 

However, none of us get to decide where we gain or lose weight from. That’s decided by factors beyond our control — like age, gender, genetics, and hormones [7]. 

A lot of studies have investigated targeted weight loss with mixed results. While a few studies found you can exercise a certain body part and see improvements there, others found that whole-body exercise is much more effective [7].

The key to these studies is they focus on exercise, not diet. So, while we can suggest that watermelon may form part of a healthy weight loss journey, we would never suggest that a single food or exercise can target weight loss in a single region. 

And the truth is, it shouldn’t matter. Your weight loss journey is not about just one part of your body; it’s about becoming a healthier you.

What is the watermelon diet and is it healthy? 

One of our missions at Juniper is to help you with real weight loss advice based on science and facts. We know how many fad diets and dangerous trends are out there and how easy they can be to access online.

The watermelon diet is one such trend that gets plenty of hype on social media and was even mentioned in the Netflix series Cheer [4]. 

Going on this diet involves eating only watermelon for a period of 3-7 days [4]. The purpose is usually to rid your body of toxins, but it can also be rapid weight loss.

You might already be thinking to yourself, ‘That’s crazy, I would never!’. But if you’re even tempted to try it, let us tell you 3 reasons that’s a really bad idea: 

  1. Your body detoxes on its own through the liver and kidneys, making a watermelon detox diet totally unnecessary.
  2. Restricting food like this might create rapid weight loss, but it’s not building healthy or sustainable eating habits, which can lead to weight gain once you return to a normal diet.
  3. Consuming watermelon on its own can lead to drops in blood sugar and blood pressure, which has the potential to be life-threatening.

There are also risks of fatigue, dizziness, and headaches from eating a single low-calorie food like watermelon [4].

Whether your weight loss is plateauing or there’s a certain area you just can’t budge, we really do understand how frustrating it is to want to lose weight and not see results. But, heading for dangerous fad diets is not the answer.

A better option is to work on lifestyle changes that help you lose weight and keep it off. Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme is one way to kickstart your weight loss journey. It uses approved weight loss medications, like Wegovy, to regulate your appetite and safely lower your ‘set point’ — the weight your body fights to maintain.

But, it’s not medication on its own. The programme is holistic, combining weight loss medication with behavioural resets and a supportive community of like-minded individuals. And the results speak for themselves with our programme helping people reduce their weight by 10-15% after 12 months.

Are there any risks to eating too much watermelon?

There are not many risks to eating a lot of watermelon, provided it forms part of a varied diet.

It is possible for watermelon to give you an upset stomach since it’s a high FODMAP food — think bloating and poor digestion. But overall, watermelon is quite safe to eat every day (again, as long as it’s not the only thing you’re eating) [5].

How much watermelon should you eat per day? 

Eating a varied diet means you’ll enjoy lots of different nutrients that boost your overall health. Incorporating watermelon into your daily diet can definitely be part of this, but keeping it to 1-2 cups per day is best [1][5].

 If you’re looking for healthy ways to mix up your diet, try these 12 high-protein snack ideas.

5 ways to incorporate watermelon into your diet 

There are lots of ways to eat watermelon as part of a healthy diet. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.

Eat it fresh

There are few things better than a big slice of watermelon on a hot summer’s day. Whether you like it cut into a wedge, diced into squares or scooped into balls — fresh watermelon is a tasty treat for all hours.

Throw it in a salad

Watermelon salads are an absolute classic for your BBQ table, and they are so simple to prepare. A fan favourite is watermelon, feta, and mint salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Other options include watermelon and halloumi salad, watermelon with prawns and avocado or watermelon and tomato salad [6]. Plus, when you mix watermelon with other foods like cheese, meats or vegetables you are more likely to be eating all the nutrients your body needs.

Blend it into juice 

Watermelon juice is not as filling as eating the refreshing fruit, but it still contains plenty of health benefits and nutrients — like lycopene [1][2]. 

For a quick watermelon fix in your day, try blending 1 cup of diced watermelon with a banana and a dash of apple juice [6].

Chop it into salsa 

Get a little creative in the kitchen with a watermelon salsa. Simply add onion, coriander, lime juice, and olive oil to 1 cup of finely chopped watermelon and you’re ready to go [6]. You can enjoy this one on top of corn chips or nachos for a sweet, salty and surprisingly healthy food.

Dip it in dukkah 

Here’s an idea to turn your watermelon into a sweet and spicy snack or dinner party starter. You can buy dukkah pre-made or make your own with a mix of nuts, seeds and spices. To serve, brush watermelon wedges with a bit of olive oil and dip halfway in the dukkah [6].

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