If You're Eating Cucumber and Stevia Instead of Watermelon, You Need to Read This
PSA: Fruit is a healthy snack.
We've tried the viral Tik Tok trend of dipping cucumber in sugar and claiming it tastes just like watermelon. Other Tik Tokkers have been following suit by dipping cucumbers in granulated sugar or Stevia as a "healthier" substitute for eating watermelon. While we love a fun food trick, the idea that watermelon isn't as healthy a snack as cucumber and sugar is upsetting dietitians. Here's what a nutritionist says you need to know.
Cucumber + Sugar = Watermelon?
If you’re dipping cucumbers into granulated sugar, you’re also dipping into your daily recommended amount of added sugar. According to the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines for Americans, no more than 10% of total daily calories should come from added sugar. If you’re on the average 2,000 calorie diet, that means no more than 200 calories (or 12.5 teaspoons, max) of added sugar should be consumed daily. Most folks eat more than the recommended amount of added sugar — so really there’s no need to add it a veggie.
Added sugar should be used wisely to help flavor nutrient-rich foods. For example, oatmeal doesn’t taste great without adding some flavor. Add a spoonful of sugar or honey, and it adds palatability to a wholesome dish. Carefully choosing where to spend your added sugar calories can help you keep it better in check.
If you’re opting to dip cucumber in Stevia because it tastes like watermelon, why not just eat watermelon instead? This silly habit perpetuates the myth that fruit is “bad,” when it actually has a plethora or health and nutritional benefits.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
Watermelon is dripping with nutritional goodness. Two cups of watermelon provides 80 calories, 25% the daily recommended amount of vitamin C, and smaller amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, thiamine, and phosphorus. The fruit is made up of mostly water (92%), which helps contribute to your daily recommended fluid needs. It also contains a powerful antioxidant called lycopene, which is also found in processed tomato products (like ketchup and canned tomatoes). Lycopene has been linked to a potential role of reducing blood pressure in folks who have prehypertension or hypertension.
You can enjoy fresh watermelon, but it can also be frozen and grilled. You can also minimize food waste by eating the rinds of the watermelon. Rinds can be stir-fried, stewed, and pickled.
Bottom Line: Just Eat Watermelon
If you want watermelon, then eat the real deal and leave the added sugar for a food that really needs it!
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.