All of those sweet juicy melons at the grocery store might have you asking “is muskmelon good for diabetes?” You aren’t alone! There’s a lot of confusion with sweet fruits and blood sugar management, and I’m here to set the record straight.
Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed with diabetes or have had diabetes for some time, you’re probably wondering what fruits are better for managing your blood sugars. In this article, we’re diving into the research to find out if muskmelon is good for diabetes.
By the end, you’ll know what muskmelon is, how it affects your blood sugar, its health benefits as they pertain to diabetes, and how to fit it into your meal plan.
What is Muskmelon?
Muskmelon is a sweet variety of melon, belonging to the same family as zucchini, pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. You’re probably more familiar with the types of muskmelon available including cantaloupe and honeydew.
How to buy it
The best time to buy muskmelon is from June to August when they’re in season and perfectly ripe. With the tough outer shell, it can be tricky to know if you’re buying a deliciously ripe muskmelon, one that’s past its prime, or one that still has to ripen.
How to buy a perfectly ripe cantaloupe:
Choose a melon that’s heavy for its size with minimal bruising on the outer skin. The rind should have a raised net-like texture and have a slightly sweet smell. When you press on the stem, the skin should be easier to press than the rest of the melon.
How to buy a perfectly ripe honeydew melon:
The color of the honeydew should be more yellow than deep green. Like cantaloupe, the smell should be slightly sweet. The stem should give slightly when pressed and the rind should have faint ridges instead of being perfectly smooth.
Is Muskmelon a high sugar fruit?
Just as all fruit contains natural sugar, so does muskmelon. Does this mean you need to avoid it if you have diabetes? Absolutely not! One cup of diced cantaloupe contributes 12g of sugar. Let’s see how it stacks up compared to other common fruit.
Sugar Content in One Cup of Various Fruits
|Fruit, 1 cup (sliced or diced)||Sugar|
Cup for cup, muskmelon is lower in sugar than many other fruits. Cantaloupe is 91% water, which helps to decrease the amount of sugar per serving without sacrificing sweetness or flavor.
How Muskmelon Affects Your Blood Sugar
Muskmelon has 12g of sugar and 14g of carbohydrate per serving. What does this mean for your blood sugar? We can look at the glycemic index and glycemic load of cantaloupe to see how muskmelon can directly affect your blood sugar levels.
The glycemic index (GI) helps to rank food by how quickly it will cause a rise in blood sugar. This rise is then compared to the rise you would receive from a similar weight of plain table sugar. The rankings range from 0 (no effect on blood sugar) to 100 (pure sugar). The glycemic index of cantaloupe is 65, which is considered moderately high.
One of the issues with using GI is that it uses grams of carbohydrate in food to find its ranking, not necessarily the amount of food in a typical portion. To make the GI work for the real world, Glycemic Load (GL) was created.
A ¾ cup portion of diced cantaloupe has a GL of 4. When it comes to the GL, a value of less than 10 is considered to have a low impact on blood sugars.
Health Benefits of Muskmelon for People With Diabetes
Per one cup of diced cantaloupe you get:
- Calories: 53
- Protein: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 13g
- Fiber: 1.5g
- Fat: 0.3g
- Potassium: 416mg
- Vitamin A: 29% of your daily value
- Vitamin C: 64% of your daily value
Cantaloupe is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals while being low in calories and has a low glycemic load. Including this summertime melon in your diet can help you increase your intake of vitamins A and C as well as potassium.
It’s full of antioxidants
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body from the damage of free radicals. It’s also involved in the formation and healing of the skin, muscle, and cartilage as well as absorbing and storing iron. With 64% of your DV of vitamin C in 1 cup, cantaloupe is a great source of antioxidants.
It can improve eye health
If you have diabetes, you’re likely aware of how important healthy eyes are. While managing your blood sugars is essential to keeping your eyes and your vision healthy, a nutrient-rich diet can also help. Cantaloupe is packed with Vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene), a nutrient important to eye health as we age.
A tasty way to hydrate
Being 91% water, muskmelon is right up there with the most hydrating foods! If you struggle to drink enough fluids throughout the day, make sure to include hydrating foods in your meal plan.
How to Add Muskmelon to Your Diabetes Meal Plan
Muskmelon can be a healthy and delicious addition to a meal or snack. Remember that your body is unique and each person’s blood glucose responds differently to food. The only way to truly know how your blood sugars respond to muskmelon is by experimenting and monitoring your blood glucose levels.
Keep these tips in mind when including muskmelon in your diet:
- Portions: Stick to 1 cup of muskmelon at a meal or snack. Too much of a low sugar food can raise your blood sugar the same as a high sugar food!
- Pairing: While muskmelon itself is low in sugar, it’s also low in protein and fat. Pairing muskmelon with higher protein and fat foods will help keep you full, satisfied, and keep your blood sugars stable.
Meal and snack ideas
- Combine this melon with an easy egg omelet for a low carb and filling breakfast.
- Muskmelon with cottage cheese.
- A handful of almonds with muskmelon.
- Dessert for a low-carb meal such as Easy Cheesy Keto Vegetarian Lasanga.
- Added to a protein smoothie.
Wondering what other foods are good for diabetes? Check out my recent articles breaking down the science so you can enjoy your favorite foods while managing your blood sugars.