Afraid of Watermelon? Don’t Be. Here’s How to Eat It.


It’s picnic season and several people have told me they can’t eat watermelon – that it gives them gas, a bellyache, or doesn’t agree with them. A sweet, juicy slice of ripe watermelon is one of the most delicious things I can think of on a hot summer day, so it makes me sad to hear people say they had to give it up. Are you one of those avoiding this delicious fruit?


Well, you may not have to – not if you follow the rules of food combining.

I won’t go into all the rules of food combining (that will be a subject for a future post), but the gist is that fruit, especially melon, digests very quickly. That means if you eat it at the end of a heavy meal, it will sit on top of a stomach full of hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, dip, etc. and begin to ferment because those slower-digesting foods are blocking the exit! This fermentation or rotting watermelon causes gas and bloating.

So how to get around this? The food combiner’s mantra is “eat melon alone or leave it alone.” Try eating your watermelon for breakfast, on an empty stomach. Wait 45 minutes to an hour before eating anything else. See if you can tolerate it better that way.

But what if you’re at a picnic and really want to have some watermelon? Eat lightly and early, then go play. Wait 3 hours or more after your meal, and then try a slice of watermelon. That should give your stomach time to empty. (Disclaimer: every body is different so actual results may vary.)

Go ahead and give watermelon a second chance. It’s loaded with good stuff and is a great thirst quencher on a hot day because of its high water content. Just be careful not to drip the juice on your shirt.  ;o)


About Abby

I am a fictional literary character. I work as a massage therapist in Ellicott City, MD, and in my spare time I help the local police solve crimes. In my former life I was a corporate lawyer. I graduated from Cornell University, Harvard Law, and the Baltimore School of Massage. To keep fit I run and practice yoga.
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2 Responses to Afraid of Watermelon? Don’t Be. Here’s How to Eat It.

  1. Sabrina says:

    Watermelon causes even worse bloating if I eat it on an empty stomach..! I wish it didn’t, I love it but I think my body can’t handle the fructose/sugar content. Anything I can do to get around that?

    • Abby says:

      It’s possible your gut bacteria may be out of balance. If you aren’t already, you might want to try adding a high-quality probiotic to your diet.

      The only other thing I can suggest, if you’re game for it, is to use your body as a test lab.
      – Try eating just a small piece of watermelon. If you can tolerate that, gradually increase the amount to see where your threshold is.
      – Try different varieties of watermelon. The fructose/glucose/sucrose ratio may be different and more accepted by your body.
      – Try eating it along with some fats (like nuts) to slow the release from your stomach. I assume you’ve already tried it with food and apart from food (at least an hour before or 3 hours after a meal).

      As a last resort, do some soul searching to see if there is a mental reason why you can’t tolerate it. A former co-worker told me he couldn’t eat watermelon, and when I asked him when this started he said while he was deployed (he was in the Army). Upon further questioning, I learned that he was eating watermelon when his unit suddenly came under attack. Now his body associates a negative event with watermelon and reacts accordingly. Try to pin-point when your problem started and see if there is any negative association.

      Good luck!

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