Is Melon Low Carb?


carbs in melon

If you need a cool, refreshing treat on a hot summer day, both casaba melon and cantaloupe make the list of low carb fruits. They are the lowest carb melons that you can eat on a Ketogenic diet.  Watermelon and honeydew aren’t far behind, when it comes to being lower carb melons.

Which Types of Melon are Lowest in Carbs?

The following four types of melons contain the least amount of carbs, based on a 100 gram serving:

Casaba Melon 5.5 grams of carbs
Cantaloupe 6.5 grams of carbs
Watermelon  7.5 grams of carbs
Honeydew Melon 8 grams of carbs

Casaba Melon 

Casaba Melon ranks in at #1 as the lowest carb melon you can eat.  It has only 5.5 grams of carbs per 100 gram serving and is lowest in sugar. (See the full nutritional breakdowns later in this article.)  Casaba melons are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium. 

Cantaloupe

Cantelope is second lowest in carbs and contains only 6.5 grams per serving.  It is plentiful in Beta Carotene, which gives this fruit its orange color, making it a powerhouse of antioxidants.

Cantelope also contains a good source of Vitamin C, folate, water and fiber, as well as potassium and other vitamins and minerals.  This fruit also provides your body with folic acid, niacin, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, and vitamins A, B-6, C and K.   

Watermelon 

carbs calories in watermelon

Watermelon comes in at a close 3rd place in the ranking of low carb melons.  A 100 gram serving of cubed watermelon contains 7 grams of carbs per 100 gram serving. Watermelon is packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and lycopene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of several forms of cancer.

Lycopene also offers the body protection from harmful UV rays. Due to its 96 per cent water content and mineral balance, a watermelon can hydrate you more than a glass of water!

Honeydew Melon

Honeydew melon is slightly higher in carbs, about 8 grams in the same serving size. The diverse nutrient profile of honeydew is inarguably another valuable asset as this melon is rich in a number of vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folate. 

Honeydew melon may help reduce blood pressure. The fruit contains nutrients vital to bone health and may improve blood sugar levels. Honeydew melon is also high in electrolytes and water.  Eating honeydew melon supports healthy skin, boosts your immune system and promotes a healthy digestive system.

Is Melon Keto-Friendly?

Melon doesn’t typically come to mind when you think of low carb foods, but this fruit is surprisingly low in carbs and can be consumed in moderation while following the Keto diet.

You can include some melon in your low carb diet, but always be mindful of the amount you consume, just as you would with other fruits. The best way to control portion sizes is to use a food scale to measure out a half cup serving.  When purchasing melon, check the carb content of the different types of melons and make sure you choose one of the lower carb varieties.

A little watermelon could be a good idea as long as you can stay within your carb limit for the day.  However, if you were to consume 2 whole cups of watermelon (which is easy to do considering the fruit mostly consists of water), you would easily consume 22 grams of carbs and 18 grams of sugar! 

This is much too high for the Keto diet.  So be mindful while consuming watermelon (and all fruits).  Aim to limit your portion size to a half-cup serving, which contains a moderate 5.5 grams of carbs or if you’d like a little more, a 100 gram serving contains only 7 grams of carbs. This way, you’ll avoid raising your blood sugar and insulin levels too high, which can shut down ketone production. 

Calories in Different Types of Melon

The chart below breaks down the nutritional value of each melon by type, based on a 1 cup Serving. You might wish to cut your portion size lower on Keto and only consume a 1/2 cup serving, in which case the nutritional values below will be cut in half.

is melon keto

Keep this chart handy when picking a melon, so that you’ll be better aware of the calories, as well as the carb, fiber and sugar conent in grams of each type of melon on the market.

Melon
Type
Calories Carbs Fiber Sugars
Cantaloupe 53 13 1.4 12.3
Crenshaw 48 11 1.5 9.7
Casaba 48 11 2 10
Honeydew 61 15 1 14
Watermelon 46 12.5 .6 9.4

The Truth About Fructose

Fruit is known as nature’s candy.  We all love it.  But, there is a lot of confusion about whether it is good for you.  Not to be confused with high fructose corn syrup, fructose is the natural sugar found in fruits, like melon. It is what gives fruit its sweet taste. 

cantaloupe low carb

Unlike glucose, fructose causes a low rise in blood sugar levels. Therefore, some health professionals recommend fructose as a “safe” sweetener for individuals with type 2 diabetes.

However, fructose doesn’t suppress appetite as much as glucose does. As a result, consuming too much fructose could promote overeating.  Some health professionals believe excessive fructose intake contributes to metabolic disorders, like cardiovascular disease. 

A diet high in fructose could also lead to increased uric acid levels in the body, which could cause an increase in blood pressure. Excess fructose consumption could also cause leptin resistance and contribute to obesity. 

With that being said, fruit is only a minor source of fructose found in the average North American diet, compared to the added sugars found elsewhere. 

The harmful effects of fructose apply to a Western diet supplying excess calories and added sugars derived from sugar cane in convenience foods, candy, and beverages like soda and concentrated fruit juice. These harmful effects do not apply to the natural sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables.

Because whole fruits are natural foods with a low calorie density and they’re full of fiber, they do not carry a harmful load of fructose.  It’s very difficult to overeat fruit.  In fact, you would need to eat extreme amounts of fruit in order to reach dangerous levels of fructose.

Interesting Facts About Melon

  • Melons are more hydrating than a glass of water and are often doubly so.  For example, watermelon is more than 92% water, hence the name.
  • Yubari King melons are the most expensive melons in the world. Known for their unique flavour, they grow only in a small region of Japan, which makes them very rare and highly coveted. Two of these melons once sold for over $20,000!
  • Watermelons have been around for thousands of years.  Images of the fruit can even be seen in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. 
  • Early explorers drank water from watermelon rinds during their travels, using them as canteens.
  • To choose the perfect watermelon, flip it over to make sure that the underside has a light yellow spot from sitting on the ground. This light spot shows the fruit has fully ripend in the sun. 

Ways To Enjoy Melon

Whether sliced, made into balls using a melon baller, added to salads or smoothies, melon make a delicious treat to be enjoyed a number of ways. 

calories in melon

Some people even grill melon over the barbeque.  Grilled watermelon sounded a bit odd to me at first, but the grill caramelizes the melon and gives it a subtle, sweet, and smoky flavour.

You can also freeze melon chunks into cubes to flavour drinks.

Alternatives

Other low carb fruits, besides melon, that you can safely enjoy on a low carb Ketogenic diet include:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, avocado, tomato, peaches, coconut and lemons.

Keto-friendly Tropical Coconut and Melon Smoothie

Yum! This smoothie tastes like paradise.  One sip and it will take you away… You’ll swear you were down South on the beach. 

Blend:

  • A handful of ice
  • ½ cup cantelope
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • A splash of vanilla
  • A drop of coconut extract

This recipe makes a large smoothie to be enjoyed as a meal replacement.  Or split it into 2 servings and enjoy as a refreshing, low carb treat with a friend. This smoothie contains only 6 grams of carbs per serving.

Summer Shish Kabob with Grilled Melon

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 red or green bell pepper (or half of each)
  • 6-8 medium sized white button mushrooms (leave whole or cut in half if mushrooms are large)
  • ½ cup Watermelon (balled or cubed)
  • Low Sugar Barbeque Sauce or BBQ seasoning mix
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Cut chicken breast, bell pepper and watermelon into 1 inch cubes (leave button mushrooms whole).
  2. Season chicken breast with garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt.  Marinate chicken chunks in BBQ sauce or sprinkle with BBQ seasoning mix to evenly coat.
  3. Add raw items to metal skewers, alternating between chicken chunks, pepper chunks, mushrooms, and melon.  You should be able to fit two of each item on each skewer.
  4. Grill over a barbeque for roughly 8-10 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through and shish kabobs have visible grill marks.
  5. Plate on a serving dish garnished with parsley and serve at your next summer gathering.

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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