Can You Eat Watermelon on a Ketogenic Diet?

updated May 22, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

With the arrival of summer comes an abundance of fresh fruit — berries, stone fruits, and melons of all shapes and sizes. The most crowd-pleasing is arguably watermelon, with its vibrant pink hue and incredibly juicy sweetness. Whether its eaten in salads, blended into cocktails, or simply cut into thick wedges for snacking, nothing beats this taste of the season.

If you’re following a ketogenic diet for whatever reason, you may be wondering if you can dig into this summer fruit as it comes into season. Fruit, in general, does contain carbohydrates, which are limited on the diet, so is watermelon a no-go? Here’s what you need to know.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Watermelon Can Be Keto, If You’re Careful

The ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates to only 5 to 10 percent of daily calories, breaking down to between 20 and 50 grams a day for most people. Specifically, it’s 20 to 50 grams of net carbs, which is the total amount of carbohydrates minus the total amount of fiber in a food. A cup serving of diced watermelon contains 11.5 grams of total carbohydrates and .5 grams of total fiber. That means 1 cup of diced watermelon contains 11 grams of net carbs.

So, depending on how you personally space out your daily carbs, watermelon can fit into the ketogenic diet. It will account for potentially over half of your allotted carbohydrates in a day, but it doesn’t have to be off-limits if you’re mindful of this fact. In general, watermelon still contains less carbohydrates than some other fruits like bananas and apples. If you’re looking for even lower-carbohydrate fruit, look to berries, all of which contain 9 grams or less of net carbs in a 1-cup serving.

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