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August 30, 2023
February 29, 2024
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Papayas, also known as papaws or pawpaws, are soft fruit that is high in nutrients and could reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Papaya is native to Mexico and also grows naturally in the Caribbean and Florida. A sliced papaya has bright orange flesh with black seeds in the center. Some individuals describe its taste as a mix between a melon and mango. 

This article will explore how papaya may impact blood sugar levels and the health benefits of including this fruit alternative in your diet. 

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Glycemic Index Table

The glycemic index for papaya is 61, which is considered to be in the medium glycemic index range. This rating means that eating papayas will not immediately raise blood sugar levels, but other fruits (such as peaches and oranges) may be a better fit depending on your own goals and medical conditions.¹ ²

Glycemic Index

61

Serving Size

100g

Carbohydrate* per Serving (g)

10.8 g

GL per Serving

9.00

Nutritional Facts

Papayas are an excellent source of vitamin C, with one medium fruit providing 224% of the recommended daily intake. Papayas are also a good source of folate, vitamin A, magnesium, copper, pantothenic acid, and fiber. This nutrition profile is packed with antioxidants that help safeguard the human body against free radicals and provide various other health benefits.

The nutritional information below is for 100 g of raw papaya.²

Calories

43 kcal

Carbs

10.8 g

Protein

0.47 g

Fiber

1.7 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Vitamins

A (47 µg), B6 (0.04 mg), C (60.9 mg), Folate (37 µg), Lycopene ( 1830 µg).

Sodium

8 mg

Total Fat

0.26 g

Is Papaya Good for Weight Loss?

Eating papaya may be beneficial for weight loss efforts and weight management as it is low in calories and high in fiber, making papaya a nutrient-rich food. High-fiber foods can help control appetite and reduce cravings, supporting weight loss goals.

In one study, fiber intake was said to predict weight loss success regardless of dietary pattern. This means that individuals who eat a high-fiber diet are more likely to achieve weight loss than those who eat less fiber.¹⁷ Adding papaya to your diet may be one way to achieve your daily fiber goals.

Is Papaya Safe for People Living with Diabetes?

Papaya is a medium-glycemic index fruit which means it has a relatively lower impact on blood sugar levels than high-glycemic fruits like pineapple and mango. Papaya has a low amount of natural sugar and a higher fiber content, which helps slow down sugar absorption in the bloodstream, improve digestion, and normalize blood sugar levels. 

When eating papaya, various factors can affect its impact on blood sugar levels, including the ripeness of the fruit, individual diet, health status, and medication usage. Ripe papayas are sweeter and may contain a higher natural sugar content. The fruit may also interact with certain diabetes medications, so it is essential to speak to a healthcare provider if you are concerned about adding papaya to your diet. 

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Allergies

Symptoms of a papaya allergy include itchiness of the mouth, lips, or throat, swelling, and redness. In severe cases, allergic reactions can cause hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis. Please consult a healthcare professional if you suspect an allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance to papaya.

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FAQs

What is Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar levels compared to a reference food, usually glucose. It ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher values indicating a faster rise in blood sugar. The glycemic index (GI) scale is typically categorized as follows: Low GI [55 or less], Medium GI [56-69], High GI [70 or higher]. Foods with a high glycemic index digest rapidly and can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood glucose or glucose spikes.

What is Glycemic Load?

Glycemic load (GL) takes into account both the quality (glycemic index) and quantity (carbohydrate content) of carbohydrates in a specific serving of food. It is a measure of how much a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. GL is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by its carbohydrate content and dividing it by 100. It provides a more accurate representation of the overall impact of a food on blood sugar compared to the glycemic index alone.

Does Papaya Spike Insulin?

There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that papaya spikes insulin levels. In fact, papaya is a low glycemic index fruit, meaning it has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. However, it is important to note that individual responses to food can vary, and people with diabetes or other medical conditions should consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to their diet.

Is Papaya Low Glycemic?

Yes, papaya is considered a low glycemic fruit with a glycemic index (GI) of 60 or less.

Can People Living with Diabetes Eat Papaya?

Yes, people living with diabetes can eat papaya in moderation as it is a low glycemic index fruit and contains fiber and antioxidants that can help regulate blood sugar levels. However, it is important to monitor portion sizes and consume it as part of a balanced diet.

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References

  1. The University of Sydney. (2023, May 1). Glycemic Index – Glycemic Index Research and GI Newshttps://glycemicindex.com/
  2. USDA FoodData Central. (2019, Apr 1). Food Details - Papayas, raw. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169926/nutrients
  3. Gajowik, A., & Dobrzyńska, M. M. (2014). Lycopene - antioxidant with radioprotective and anticancer properties. A review. Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny, 65(4), 263–271.
  4. Aruoma, O. I., Somanah, J., Bourdon, E., Rondeau, P., & Bahorun, T. (2014). Diabetes as a risk factor to cancer: functional role of fermented papaya preparation as phytonutraceutical adjunct in the treatment of diabetes and cancer. Mutation research, 768, 60–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2014.04.007
  5. García-Solís, P., Yahia, E. M., Morales-Tlalpan, V., & Díaz-Muñoz, M. (2009). Screening of antiproliferative effect of aqueous extracts of plant foods consumed in México on the breast cancer cell line MCF-7. International journal of food sciences and nutrition, 60 Suppl 6, 32–46. https://doi.org/10.1080/09637480802312922
  6. Marotta, F., Barreto, R., Tajiri, H., Bertuccelli, J., Safran, P., Yoshida, C., & Fesce, E. (2004). The aging/precancerous gastric mucosa: a pilot nutraceutical trial. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1019, 195–199. https://doi.org/10.1196/annals.1297.031
  7. Schagen, S. K., Zampeli, V. A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 298–307. https://doi.org/10.4161/derm.22876
  8. Stahl, W., Heinrich, U., Aust, O., Tronnier, H., & Sies, H. (2006). Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection. Photochemical & photobiological sciences : Official journal of the European Photochemistry Association and the European Society for Photobiology, 5(2), 238–242. https://doi.org/10.1039/b505312a
  9. Jenkins, G., Wainwright, L. J., Holland, R., Barrett, K. E., & Casey, J. (2014). Wrinkle reduction in post-menopausal women consuming a novel oral supplement: a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study. International journal of cosmetic science, 36(1), 22–31. https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12087
  10. Rahman K. (2007). Studies on free radicals, antioxidants, and co-factors. Clinical interventions in aging, 2(2), 219–236.
  11. Somanah, J., Bourdon, E., Rondeau, P., Bahorun, T., & Aruoma, O. I. (2014). Relationship between fermented papaya preparation supplementation, erythrocyte integrity and antioxidant status in pre-diabetics. Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 65, 12–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2013.11.050
  12. Tomella, C., Catanzaro, R., Illuzzi, N., Cabeca, A., Zerbinati, N., Celep, G., Milazzo, M., Sapienza, C., Italia, A., Lorenzetti, A., & Marotta, F. (2014). The hidden phenomenon of oxidative stress during treatment of subclinical-mild hypothyroidism: a protective nutraceutical intervention. Rejuvenation research, 17(2), 180–183. https://doi.org/10.1089/rej.2013.1495
  13. Marotta, F., Yoshida, C., Barreto, R., Naito, Y., & Packer, L. (2007). Oxidative-inflammatory damage in cirrhosis: effect of vitamin E and a fermented papaya preparation. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, 22(5), 697–703. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2007.04937.x
  14. Zhao, Y., & Zhao, B. (2013). Oxidative stress and the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2013, 316523. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/316523
  15. Barbagallo, M., Marotta, F., & Dominguez, L. J. (2015). Oxidative stress in patients with Alzheimer's disease: effect of extracts of fermented papaya powder. Mediators of inflammation, 2015, 624801. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/624801
  16. Valavanidis, A., Vlachogianni, T., & Fiotakis, C. (2009). 8-hydroxy-2' -deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG): A critical biomarker of oxidative stress and carcinogenesis. Journal of environmental science and health. Part C, Environmental carcinogenesis & ecotoxicology reviews, 27(2), 120–139. https://doi.org/10.1080/10590500902885684
  17. Miketinas, D. C., Bray, G. A., Beyl, R. A., Ryan, D. H., Sacks, F. M., & Champagne, C. M. (2019). Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study. The Journal of nutrition, 149(10), 1742–1748. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz117

About the author

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout.

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About the author

Brittany Barry is a national board-certified health coach and NASM-certified personal trainer based in South Carolina.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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