Amy Reeder is a Certified Diabetes Educator with a master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Utah. She has worked in the diabetes field since 2005 and has been a Certified Diabetes Educator since 2007.

There’s nothing better than a juicy piece of cold watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew melon. While melon is refreshing and full of water, it can also be full of sugar and carbs and can cause a rise in blood sugar. As with any carbohydrate-containing food, there’s no need to restrict, but it’s beneficial for blood sugar management if you have an idea of how many carbs are in that melon bowl or melon slice you eat.

Not only do melons contain both water and carbohydrate, but they are also plentiful in vitamins and phytochemicals. So yes, they are good for you (just like any fruit or vegetable in moderation)!

But how much makes a serving? Most melons contain about 15 grams of carbs in a one-cup serving. If you haven’t measured a cup of melon before, it would be a good idea to do so. This will help you train your eye to know what a one-cup serving looks like. So, if you like to eat a slice right off the melon, cut off your normal portion. But instead of eating it right away, cut it up and measure out one cup. And remember to do the math if you are eating more or less than one cup!

Specific carb counts of various melons (one-cup serving):

Cantaloupe: 14 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 12.3 g sugar
Watermelon: 12 g carbs, 0.6 g fiber, 9.4 g sugar
Honeydew: 11 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 10.2 g sugar
Casaba: 11 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 9.7 g sugar

Since there’s more sugar in melon than fiber, there’s not much to slow down the digestion and absorption of sugar into the bloodstream once you eat the melon, especially if you are eating it without any other foods. In this way, the fruit would be considered a simple sugar that rapidly affects blood glucose. If that serving of melon was paired with a source of protein, however, you may not see such a rapid spike response. The protein acts to slow everything down, which may be easier to manage in the long run.

Try this recipe for an interesting twist on the melon ball fruit salad:

Ingredients:

½ cup red onion, chopped
½ cup lime juice
8 cups watermelon, cubed
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup sliced mint leaves
½ cup chopped parsley leaves

Instructions:

  1. Soak chopped red onion in lime juice for about 10 to 15 minutes, while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Gently combine all ingredients into a large serving bowl.
  3. Serve immediately.

To read more of the problem foods series:

Problem Foods: What Can Diabetics Eat?