Is Watermelon Keto-Friendly?

is the most reliable way to beat the heat each summer. When temperatures rise, the lightly sweet and lusciously juicy fruit has a reserved spot at every backyard barbecue, pool party, and casual afternoon across the United States.

While it isn't thought of as a gluttonous snack, watermelon might still be off limits for anyone following certain diets. The Ketogenic, or keto, diet is one that relies on maintaining a low carbohydrate yet high fat intake. It's similar to other low carb diets like the Atkins Diet (via Healthline). Carbohydrates are an essential nutrient that the body turns into glucose, and may contribute to weight gain (via Cleveland Clinic). The idea is that replacing carbohydrates with fats puts the body in a state of ketosis in which fat cells are metabolized and used by the body for energy at a more efficient rate.

The keto diet has become one of the most popular in the United States. Body Ketosis states that 12.9 million Americans, or roughly 5% of the population, choose to follow the diet each year. That's roughly the entire population of Pennsylvania (via World Population Review).

So, is watermelon off limits for all of those people?

Keto dieters can still enjoy watermelon

Watermelon can be keto friendly, but in limited quantities. According to The Kitchn, most people following a ketogenic diet are permitted to eat between 20 to 50 grams of net carbohydrates a day. You find your net carbohydrates by subtracting the amount of fiber in a food from the total carbohydrates it contains. One cup of watermelon contains roughly 11 net grams of carbohydrates. This means that depending on the person, a cup of watermelon might make up half of their allotted carbohydrates for the day.

Despite this, Healthline still recommends it as a nutritious fruit option for anyone following a keto diet. It's also high in lycopene, an antioxidant, and a variety of other vitamins and nutrients. 11 net carbs puts a cup of watermelon roughly on par with strawberries, another Summer favorite, with both are relatively well-suited to a keto diet. While it might take some planning, there's no reason that someone following a keto diet can't indulge in a slice of watermelon this summer.