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Why Watermelon?. A Slice of Nutrition Research Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D. What Did You Eat Yesterday?. Diet Guidelines in a Nutshell. 6 + whole grains 8 to 10 fruits & vegetables 3 calcium-rich choices 2 iron- & protein-rich foods. The Reality.

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Why watermelon

Why Watermelon?

A Slice of Nutrition Research

Elizabeth Somer, M.A.,R.D.



Diet guidelines in a nutshell
Diet Guidelines in a Nutshell

  • 6 + whole grains

  • 8 to 10 fruits & vegetables

  • 3 calcium-rich choices

  • 2 iron- & protein-rich foods


The reality
The Reality

  • 90% of your customers think they are doing well

  • National Nutrition Surveys

  • USDA’s Economic Research Ctr:

    • ½ of all Americans aged 2+ consume < 1 fruit/day

  • USDA’s Healthy Eating Index

    • Children & adults each scored 56 points. Seniors scored 65 points. (J Acad Nutri Diet 2012;November 15th)

  • FDA/NCI Study

  • USDA/ Penn State study (J Acad Nutr Diet 2013;113:297-306)

    • Calorie, total fat, saturated fat & salt exceeded limits in all diets. Calories were up to 30% too high.


How do these eating habits affect our health

How do these eating habits affect our health?


Obesity Trends Among U.S. Adults Between 1985 and 2010

  • Definitions:

  • Obesity: Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher.

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): A measure of an adult’s weight in relation to his or her height, specifically the adult’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of his or her height in meters.


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1985
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1985

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1986
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1986

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1987
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1987

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1988
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1988

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1989
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1989

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1990
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1990

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1991
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1991

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1992
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1992

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1993
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1993

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1994
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1994

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1995
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1995

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1996
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1996

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1997
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1997

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1998
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1998

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 1999
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 1999

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2000
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2000

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% ≥20%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2001
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2001

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%


Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2002

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2003
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2003

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2004
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2004

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% ≥25%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2005
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2005

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2006
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2006

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2007
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2007

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2008
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2008

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2009
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2009

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


Obesity trends among u s adults brfss 2010
Obesity Trends* Among U.S. AdultsBRFSS, 2010

(*BMI ≥30, or ~ 30 lbs. overweight for 5’ 4” person)

No Data <10% 10%–14% 15%–19% 20%–24% 25%–29% ≥30%


A child adult who is overweight is at increased risk for
A child/adult who is overweight is at increased risk for :

  • Breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and just about every other cancer. Heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke, asthma, sleep apnea, arthritis, gallbladder diseases, menstrual problems, & gout. Depression, hostility, dementia, Alzheimer’s, fatigue, sleep disorders & social, self-esteem & academic problems…… (http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/health_risks.htm)

  • According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, only ½ of US teens get any physical activity on 5+ days a week & < 1 in 3 eat fruits & vegetables. (J Adoles H 2013;53:280-286)

  • The #1 dietary advice


Fruits veggies lower risk for
Fruits & Veggies lower risk for…

  • Depression & dementia (Am J Clin N 2014;99:181-197)

  • Cancer (Dis Esoph 2013;October 23rd)

  • Diabetes (Am J Clin N 2014;99:328-333)

  • Cataracts & ARMD (BMC Ophthal 2013;13:52)

  • Heart disease (Am J Clin N 2013;October 2nd)

  • Preterm delivery (Br Med J 2014;348:g1446)

  • Dying prematurely from any cause (Am J Clin N 2013;98:454)

  • Age-related disability (Br Med J 2013;347:f4240)


Watermelon in a nutshell
Watermelon: In a Nutshell

  • Fat- & cholesterol-free

  • Very low sodium

  • Rich in potassium, vitamins A, C, & B6

  • Rich in phytonutrients, incl: lycopene, arginine, & citrulline

  • Helps hydrate

  • It’s a REAL FOOD!

  • Potent antioxidant

  • Aids in weight management

  • Helps lower risk for most age-related diseases

  • Helps w/ calorie restriction & prevention of premature aging

  • Protects skin from aging


Watermelon nutrition facts
Watermelon Nutrition Facts

  • Mother Nature’s natural hydrator.

  • 92% water!

  • One slice = equivalent of a glass of water

  • As effective as sports drinks for hydration & electrolyte replacement.


Watermelon fun facts
Watermelon Fun Facts

  • Ancient Egypt, > 5,000 years ago

  • Early explorers used watermelons as canteens

  • 1st cookbook published in U.S. in 1796 contained a recipe for watermelon rind pickles

  • Today, > 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide.

  • Myth: Seedless watermelons are grown from those tiny white seeds.


Watermelon heart disease
Watermelon & Heart Disease

  • CVD takes the lives of more than 2,150 Americans each day, an average of 1 death every 40 seconds (AHA)

  • Children as young as 6-years-old now show risk factors for diabetes & heart disease. (Br MedJ 2012;345:e4759.)


Women s 1 health threat

43% of all deaths - more than the next 16 causes of death combined.

1 in 3 have heart disease.

Only 8% of women realize CVD is a greater threat than breast cancer.

1 in 8 will get breast cancer; 1 in 26 will die from it.

1 in 5 will get heart disease, almost 1 in 2 will die from it.

40,000 die from breast cancer vs 500,000 from heart disease/year.

More women than men die from CVD.

63% of women who die from CVD have no symptoms.

1 in 4 have blood cholesterol levels high enough to pose a serious threat.

Women’s #1 Health Threat


Watermelon can help
Watermelon Can Help combined.

The 5 factors in heart disease

  • Body weight

  • Inflammation

  • Blood pressure

  • Blood lipids

  • Blood flow

    • Citrulline

    • Arginine

      Plus lycopene


All about lycopene
All About Lycopene combined.

  • Lycopene: A carotenoid

  • The pigment in red fruits & vegetables.

  • Myth: Tomatoes are the best source.

    • The redder the watermelon, the more lycopene. (Br J Nutr 2013; Jan 15th: 1-7)


Watermelon s lycopene
Watermelon’s Lycopene combined.

  • As lycopene goes up, CVD goes down ( Br J Nutr 2013; January 15th: 1-7)

  • More potent antioxidant than beta carotene.

  • Diets rich in lycopene = associated w/ lower risks for cancers of prostate, cervix, skin, bladder, breast, lung & digestive tract.

  • Lycopene-rich foods might help protect skin from sun damage, by acting as Nature’s sunscreen. (Am J Clin N 2012;96:1179)


Beyond heart disease
Beyond Heart Disease… combined.

  • People who eat lots of colorful fruits & vegetables live longer than people who don’t.(Am J Clin N 2013;98:454-459)

  • Including even 5 servings/day of fruits & vegetables raises antioxidant defenses & lowers oxidative stress. (J Acad Nutr Diet 2013;113:776-785)

  • Nutrients in watermelon (beta carotene, vitamin C) reduce risk for vision loss. (Clin Inter Aging 2013;8:741-748)

  • Supplements of citrulline improve cognitive function. (Brain Res 2013;May 15th)

  • Lycopene-rich diets lower prostate cancer risk. (J Nutr Sci Vit 2013;59:213-223)


Watermelon look younger too
Watermelon: combined.Look Younger, too!

  • The #1 enemy of skin is the sun. UV rays generate oxygen fragments, called free radicals.

  • Lycopene is an antioxidant that protects delicate underlying tissues from oxidative damage, lowering risk for photodamage & premature aging of skin. (U of Manchester)

  • Lycopene levels in skin reflect dietary intake.


Watermelon weight loss
Watermelon & Weight Loss combined.

  • Fiber

    • 1.1 grams/cup

  • Water

    • 92%

  • Calories

    • 40/cup

    • 85 in 8 oz vs 1,217 in Potato chips

  • It beats the bloat


Beyond slices smoothies
Beyond Slices & Smoothies combined.

  • Use instead of mayo in sandwiches

  • Include in salsas

  • Blend & freeze for sorbet

  • Watermelon cupcakes

  • Side dishes

  • Sauces & glazes

  • Salad dressings

  • In cocktails

    Myth: Watermelon is a seasonal fruit



More watermelon please
More Watermelon, Please combined.

Two-fer it at meals:

  • Smoothie w/ banana & watermelon @ breakfast

  • Salad w/ watermelon chunks for lunch

  • Watermelon sorbet after dinner

    Hide it:

  • Blend & use liquids in sauces, glazes & dips

  • Blend & use as liquid in baked items

  • Puree, freeze in ice cube trays, & add to beverages


Sneak it in

Add watermelon to favorite dishes combined.

Fruit parfaits, smoothies, as topping for ice cream

Drink your watermelon

Juice, smoothies

Mix watermelon into tossed salads

As fruit chunks or as dressing

Make watermelon your dessert

Pile on sorbet or cake, dip in chocolate, add puree to baked items

Sneak It in!


Putting it all together

Breakfast combined.: Whole grain cereal, milk w/DHA, bowl of watermelon & glass of OJ

Lunch: Turkey breast & watermelon sandwich on whole wheat, spinach salad w/ olive oil/vinegar dressing, glass of milk

Dinner: Grilled wild salmon w/ watermelon salsa, baked sweet potato, steamed green peas, instant brown rice

Snacks: Yogurt, watermelon pops, nuts, dried fruit, string cheese, 100% vegetable juice, etc.

Putting It all Together


For more tips recipes ideas go to
For more tips, recipes & ideas go to.. combined.

  • Watermelon.org

  • R.D. Tool Kit:

    • http://www.watermelon.org/HealthProfessionals/Retail-Dietitians.aspx). 

  • Elizabethsomer.com

    • Sign up for my free, online newsletter

    • Follow me on Twitter and Facebook (Elizabeth Somer, Nutritionist )


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