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Can Watermelon Help you Lose Weight?

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We all know that when planning a fat loss program we should include lots of fruits and vegetables in our diet to provide hydration and nutrients.

As a traditional summer fruit, the watermelon provides you with a hydrating and refreshing, sweet snack. It is a filling alternative to other sweet treats and boasts a range of key nutrients to improve your health. But can it help with weight loss?

In this article we’ll take a look.


What is watermelon?

Watermelon comes from the African native citrullus lanatus flowering plant. It is classed as a pepo berry – so called as it has a hard, thick rind and seeds throughout its fleshy inside.

It is typically striped with different green colors on the outside, with a vibrant deep pink flesh inside. It can be eaten raw or cooked – barbecue is a common cooking approach.

This summer fruit provides you with a number of vitamins and minerals. It is a great source of vitamin C, as well as vitamin A in the source of carotenoids. It also provides modest amounts of fibre, pantothenic acid, copper, magnesium and vitamins B1 and B6 – all essential for good health.

One cup of this summer snack will give you around 10g of carbohydrates and 40kcal making it a much less calorie-dense alternative to other sweet snacks and fruits.

As well as the tomato, this fruit is a great source of lycopene – a nutrient that is important in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. One cup of melon will also provide you with around 250mg of citrulline – an amino acid that is an important regulator of blood flow.


Watermelon-and-Lycopene

Can it help with weight loss?

This fruit has a number of attributes that can ramp up your fat loss. Let’s take a look at how it can help you:

High in water

This fruit comes in at over 90% water meaning that whilst the vitamin and mineral profile is high, the calories are low. The fiber will help to slow digestion and the water will keep you feeling full.

Studies have found that by increasing hydration in the body you can lose weight by not only reducing overall energy intake from food, but by altering your metabolism as well.

A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology [1] for example, found that drinking water increased metabolic rate by 30% within 10 minutes of drinking.

Not only that, but the researchers claimed that by aiming to drink (or obtain through food) 2 liters of water a day, you could increase your energy expenditure by 400kJ/95kcal. 

Similarly, a study by Davy et al [2] found that by keeping yourself hydrated prior to a meal, you can reduce your energy intake by 13%.

As a good source of water, this variety of melon is a perfect snack for anyone wanting to kick start their fat loss – or as a starter prior to a main meal.

Helps with exercise recovery

An important part of any weight loss program is exercise and physical activity. A study in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry [3] found that the citrulline content of the fruit was a beneficial drink to athletes as it helped to reduce the recovery heart rate and muscle soreness after 24 hours. 

Interestingly, the 500ml watermelon drink given to the athletes was much more bio-available than a standard citrulline supplement, meaning the body was able to use more of it.

Better recovery means you can exercise harder and more frequently. This all adds up within a fat loss plan.


Citrulline-and-Weight-Loss


Boosts fat loss

When citrulline enters the body it converts into another amino acid called arginine. This particular component of protein improves circulation and helps to control the elasticity of your blood vessels. Not only that but arginine can also boost your energy and enhance exercise endurance too.

A study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements [4] found that arginine was effective in reducing central obesity – fat from around the middle – over a 12 week period. On average, the volunteers in the study lost 6.5lbs of weight and 7cm from their waists.

Satisfies a sweet tooth

When your diet has been going well and you want to treat yourself to something sweet, this fruit can help to satisfy your sweet tooth with very few calories.

You might be concerned that if this fruit is sweet, then it must contain lots of sugar? Don’t be – remember, a cup of melon will provide you with only 40kcal and around 10g of carbohydrates.

Sugar content is foods is often measured using the glycemic index (GI) – this is a measure of how carbohydrate foods impact blood sugar, given a score out of 100. Watermelon comes in at 72/100 which is high.

However, the GI is based on 100g of carbs – remember, there are only 11g in this fruit so you’d have to eat 10 cups to get a relevant score on this index.

Contrary to glycemic index, glycemic load (GL) provides a measure of impact on blood sugar whilst taking into account the amount of carbs per serving. On this scale, watermelon gets a score of 4 – lower than other fruits such as papaya and pineapple. A GL score of 10 or under is considered low so this fruit is a great option for anyone watching their sugar levels.


Summary – does watermelon boost fat loss?

Watermelon comes from the African native citrullus lanatus flowering plant. Its fruit is classed as a pepo berry, so called as it has a hard, thick rind and seeds throughout its fleshy inside. It is typically striped on the outside, with a vibrant deep pink fruit inside. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

This fruit contains a number of key nutrients that help to improve health and is a sweet alternative to other less healthy snacks – but is low in carbohydrate content therefore low in glycemic load.

It can help you lose weight as it has a high water content that can help keep you full and increase your metabolism. It contains citrulline, an amino acid that have been found to help reduce exercise soreness meaning you can exercise harder and more regularly, and can increase central fat burning with its arginine content.


References

  1. Boschmann, M et al. Water-induced thermogenesis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec; 88(12): 6015-9
  2. Davy, BM et al. Water consumption reduces energy intake at a breakfast meal in obese in older adults. J AM Diet Assoc. 2008; 1087): 1236-9
  3. Tarazona-Díaz, MP et al. Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes. J Agric Food Chem. 2013; 61(31): 7522-8
  4. Hurt, RT et al. L-arginine for the treatment of centrally obese subjects: a pilot study. J Diet Suppl. 2014; 11(1): 40-52