Can you eat watermelon with gastroparesis?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “Can you eat watermelon with gastroparesis?” and discuss the risks and benefits of eating watermelon with gastroparesis.

Can you eat watermelon with gastroparesis?

Yes, you can eat watermelon with gastroparesis. However, fruits rich in fructans such as watermelon are not recommended for patients with gastroparesis, as they can reduce the gastric emptying rate and therefore worsen the symptoms (1).

Although watermelon contains a high amount of water and low amounts of fibers, it is rich in fructans, which belong to the so called FODMAPs, fermentable oligo- di- and monosaccharides and polyols. FODMAPs are recommended to be avoided by patients suffering from gastroparesis.

Patients following a low-FODMAP diet are reported to have improved relief of the symptoms of gastroparesis (1,2). 

What are the risks of eating watermelon with gastroparesis?

The risks of eating watermelon with gastroparesis are of having the symptoms worsen. Because watermelon is a fruit rich in fructose, it can lead to the fermentation of this sugar in the intestines, resulting in the slower gastric emptying.

Stomach pain, distention, dyspepsia, nausea, and early satiation leading to reduction of nutrients and malnutrition are some symptoms of gastroparesis which could be aggravated by eating habits.

Watermelon, although being easily pureed (2), is included in the fruits that are rich in fructose, together with white peach and persimmon (3).

What are the benefits of eating watermelon with gastroparesis?

The benefits of eating watermelon with gastroparesis are the nutrients of watermelon as well as the fact that watermelon can be easily pureed. 

Watermelon is reported to have many health benefits due to its components, which include lycopene, vitamin C and citrulline, and are antioxidants. 

Lycopene, which is found also in tomatoes, is a carotene molecule with high radical scavenging properties. The ingestion of lycopene can reduce the risks of developing diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart diseases (5).

Citrulline is an amino acid reported to be effective in preventing anemia and improving sexual disorders and vitamin C is an antioxidant which is essential in the production of collagen. The ingestion of vitamin C can benefit the immune system and prevent scurvy.

In addition, patients that have gastroparesis are encouraged to eat small particle sized foods and foods that are processed to the consistency of mashed potatoes (2). Watermelon can be pureed due to its soft flesh. 

This can facilitate the ingestion and improve tolerance. Liquid, cooked to soft and semi-solids are recommended, as they are easier digested (1,2).

What should you eat and what should you not eat if you have gastroparesis?

If you have gastroparesis, you should eat low fiber foods and low FODMAP, such as (1,2,4):

  • Ripe bananas, low fiber fruits or cooked fruits
  • Cooked vegetables, asparagus tips, tomato paste, processed vegetables, mashed potatoes
  • Cooked grains, pancakes, rice
  • Yogurt, low lactose dairy, matured cheese, mashed eggs, baked fish and well cooked meat

You should not eat fiber rich foods or FODMAP rich foods, such as:

  • Berries, dried fruits, apples, apricot, avocados, plums, prunes, citrus fruit
  • Chicory, onions, garlic, chickpeas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, corn, winter squash
  • Dairy containing lactose, such as fresh cheeses and non-fermented milk
  • Peanut butter, tough meats, smoked fish
  • Food containing high amounts of fats


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “Can you eat watermelon with gastroparesis?” and discuss the risks and benefits of eating watermelon with gastroparesis.


  1. Tack, Jan, et al. Evidence-Based and Emerging Dietary Approaches to Upper Disorders of Gut–Brain Interaction. Am J Gastroenterol, 2022, 117, 965.
  2. Ahuja, Nitin K. Nutritional approaches to chronic nausea and vomiting. Practical Gastroenterol, 2017, 41, 34-40.
  3. Muir, Jane G., et al. Fructan and free fructose content of common Australian vegetables and fruit. J agric food chem, 2007, 55, 6619-6627. 
  4. Low fiber and low residue diet. University of Michigan Health System.
  5. Maoto, Makaepea M., Daniso Beswa, and Afam IO Jideani. Watermelon as a potential fruit snack. Int J food prop, 2019, 22, 355-370.

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