If you’re thinking, “is watermelon low FODMAP?” – the good news is you can eat small quantities of this juicy, refreshing fruit on a low FODMAP diet.
This blog outlines the specific quantities of watermelon you can eat, the benefits of eating watermelon, and how it can impact your gut health.
This popular fruit, loved for its sweet taste and hydrating properties, does contain fructose, mannitol, and fructans.
Eating watermelon in small quantities outlined below can reduce the FODMAP content.
For people suffering from IBS, finding out which foods and quantities are low in FODMAPs can be challenging. For more information on the symptoms and causes of IBS – click here.
What are FODMAPs?
‘FODMAPs’ are fermentable carbohydrates, specifically oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.
They are poorly absorbed in the digestive system and can cause symptoms such as loose stools, bloating, and gas.
Following a short-term low FODMAP diet may improve IBS symptoms and has been shown to have up to a 70% effective rate at managing IBS symptoms (1).
Check out this Low FODMAP grocery list + meal plan (dietitian approved) for more ideas.
Is watermelon low FODMAP?
No, watermelon is not low FODMAP, unless you count the tiny 1.5tbs portion considered to be low FODMAP (2).
Watermelon is high FODMAP due to its fructose and fructan content.
The good news is that most people tolerate ‘moderate’ amounts of FODMAPs whilst on the restriction phase of the low FODMAP diet.
The allowed moderate amount is still small at 2tbs which won’t be useful for a snack but it may allow you to enjoy a fruit salad where water melon is an ingredient (2).
Is honeydew melon low fodmap?
Honeydew melon is easily recognisable by its smooth, pale green to yellow rind and light green flesh. It can be used in salads, desserts and as a light snack.
You can enjoy 90g of honeydew melon per meal, as this is low in all FODMAPs (2).
A serving of 100g contains moderate amounts of fructans and is classed as moderate FODMAP content.
A 150g portion (0ne large wedge) would be high in FODMAPs, specifically fructans, and unsuitable for a low FODMAP diet.
Is cantaloupe / rockmelon low FODMAP?
Cantaloupe, also known as rockmelon, is a sweet, orange-fleshed melon with a netted, tan-coloured rind. It’s commonly sliced and eaten fresh or blended into smoothies.
Eating 120g of cantaloupe / rockmelon is low in FODMAPs and is likely tolerated by individuals with IBS (2).
Consuming 150g is moderate in FODMAPs and should be restricted, as the fructan content is higher.
Is watermelon juice low FODMAP?
The vibrant red or pink liquid extracted from watermelon flesh, can be used in food and beverages. It can be consumed as a refreshing drink, in cocktails, or added into smoothies.
Watermelon juice is generally not considered low in FODMAPs.
The juicing process concentrates the sugars, including fructose, a high-FODMAP sugar. Therefore, watermelon juice can be problematic for individuals sensitive to FODMAPs (2).
Are watermelon seeds low FODMAP?
Watermelon seeds are small, flat, and oval-shaped, usually black or white in color.
They are often roasted and consumed as a snack, used to make watermelon seed oil, or ground into a flour for use in baking and cooking.
There has been no specific testing on watermelon seeds and their FODMAP content by Monash. The watermelon content tested was on seedless watermelon in the research.
Despite most seeds being low in FODMAPs, continue to be cautious when following the low FODMAP diet until further research has been done in this area.
After you finish the restriction phase, trial watermelon seeds to check if you can tolerate them.
Is watermelon radish low fodmap?
Watermelon radish is a root vegetable with a green exterior and a vibrant pink to red interior, resembling the look of a watermelon.
It’s commonly used in salads, pickled, or served as a garnish, offering a mild to peppery flavor and a crunchy texture.
Monash has not researched watermelon radish, so the FODMAP content is unknown.
However, radishes are generally considered to be low in FODMAPs. They contain mostly water and some fiber, with low fermentable carbohydrates.
A serving size of 75g (4 medium radishes) is considered low in all FODMAPs, which you can enjoy on a low FODMAP diet.
What are the health benefits of watermelon?
Watermelon contains large amounts of lycopene, citrulline, antioxidants, and bioactive compounds, which all help immune protection and cognitive functioning (3).
Watermelon provides vitamins, and minerals, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), potassium, flavonoids, and beta-carotene (4).
Watermelon has a high water content and can help meet your fluid requirements. Adults need around 35ml/kg/day of fluids to stay hydrated and avoid dehydration (7).
Low fodmap fruits and vegetables
There are many low FODMAP fruits and vegetables you can choose from when following a low FODMAP diet.
It is important to have a variety of fruits and vegetables daily. Low FODMAP Vegetables – including recipes can help you achieve this.
Most vegetables provide fiber benefits for digestive health. Read How To Get 30g of Fibre a Day.
The same principle applies – choose appropriate serving sizes that are Monash certified and considered low in FODMAPs.
Why not think about Refreshing low FODMAP drink options: Gut-Friendly Beverages.
Is watermelon hard to digest?
Watermelon is generally easy to digest for most people.
However, those with FODMAP sensitivities may experience digestive issues with larger servings, as outlined above.
Is watermelon bad for diarrhea?
Eating watermelon in large quantities can lead to loose stools due to its high FODMAP content (1). There is usually a threshold for how much fructose can be tolerated in the digestive system.
Any excessive consumption of FODMAPs, including fructose, can lead to loose stools in many people.
Keep to the recommended serving sizes outlined above; small portions should not trigger gut-related symptoms.
When thinking “is watermelon low FODMAP”, think yes in small certified quantities. You can consume 15g per meal.
Some other melons available can also be eaten in small quantities, but watch out for higher serving sizes due to high FODMAP content.
Watermelon is a delicious and nutritious fruit but contains FODMAPs in higher servings, including fructans, fructose, and mannitol.
While it offers several health and nutritional benefits, overindulgence can lead to digestive issues, including loose stools. Stick to small servings if you’re sensitive to FODMAPs.
Hannah Pritchard is a UK HCPC registered Dietitian, specialising in gastroenterology, and she is a member of the British Dietetic Association. Working within the NHS, voluntary and private sectors have enabled her to work with a mixture of people to improve their gut health and achieve their dietary targets. She is also FODMAP trained and has spent over 5 years focusing on helping people with conditions of the gastrointestinal system, including IBS. Prior to this, she worked in other areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight management. Hannah has a particular interest in the gut microbiota and the impact that diet and lifestyle choices can have on it, and ways to optimise long term gut health.