Papaya is a nutrient-dense fruit that you have likely walked past hundreds of times in the supermarket. It does not look that fascinating from the outside. Thick green skin hides its beautiful deep orange flesh and black seeds.
Fruit is an essential part of a balanced diet. Sure, they contain natural sugars, so some diets caution against them. What they overlook is how eating papaya for weight loss can provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Just remember to choose the fresh variety. Dried fruits have higher sugar content, or even added sugars.
Christopher Columbus coined it the “fruit of the angels.” Native to Mexico, papayas or pawpaws provide a bright sweet and slightly sour note to your taste buds. You can eat the seeds too, which add a layer of delightful spicy bitterness to many dishes. Currently, 22 varieties of the fruit exist, each with subtle differences in flavor.
A Single 1-cup Serving contains:
• Calories: 54 g
• Fat: 0.2 g
• Carbohydrates: 13.7 g
• Fiber: 2.5 g
• Protein: 0.9 g
Vitamins and Minerals
• Vitamin A: 31%
• Vitamin C: 144%
• Folate: 13%
• Vitamin E: 5%
• Vitamin K: 5%
• Calcium: 3%
• Iron: 1%
• Magnesium: 3%
• Potassium: 10%
Where and How to Buy a Papaya
Most supermarkets carry the fruit year round, which comes from Mexico and Hawaii. While they might not taste different to most palates, they do have some variances.
First, most Hawaiian papayas are genetically modified (GMO) unless they are certified USDA organic. Some people prefer to avoid these in their diet. Mexican varieties have not been modified, but they are typically grown with conventional methods. The second difference is size and weight. Hawaiian papayas will weigh about one pound. Mexican ones can weigh upward of 10 pounds.
You can eat papayas unripe, slightly ripe, or ripe. Luckily, you can use the papaya’s skin to guide you. If it is mostly green, it is unripe. Does the skin appear to be half-green and half-reddish yellow? You are holding a slightly ripe fruit. Once 80% or more of the skin is no longer green, your fruit is ripe.
Science Explains Why Eating Papaya for Weight Loss Works and Does Not
Remember, everyone’s body can react differently. We also lose weight at different rates since factors other than food choices can work for or against us. Whether you introduce a new food or you overhaul your diet, if you are aiming to lose weight, the best healthy eating plan will be the one you can stick to. (2, 3)
Low Glycemic Index and Load
Despite its sugar content, the fruit has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) score of three. A diet rich in low-GI-scoring foods promotes weight loss because they do not spike blood sugar levels, which can lead to overeating. Low GI foods also tend to be higher in dietary fiber. (4)
A low GI diet focuses and promotes mostly whole foods, which gives the lifestyle merit. It can also be vegetarian and vegan friendly.
You might not lose weight fast beyond the first few weeks, but replacing belly-bloating foods with nutritious choices will certainly help you lose weight and keep it off.
Unfounded health claims make it difficult to extract truth from fiction. This is unfortunately true in regards to papain and rapid weight loss.
Yes, the fruit contains papain, which is a beneficial enzyme in numerous topical ways. It will not melt fat or speed up your metabolism. This hypothesis came from papain’s ability to tenderize meat. It will assist in breaking down animal fat, muscle, and tendons.
Zero scientific evidence supports this claim in human or animal studies, so be wary of supplements marketed toward dieters. Our digestive system destroys the enzyme.
However, as stated, it is a beneficial fruit to consume in moderation for your overall health. Additionally, choosing fresh fruit over dried types or unhealthy foods will assist you in achieving your weight loss goals in the long run.
Topically speaking, the enzyme, antioxidant profile, and rich vitamin content of the fruit can do wonders for your skin’s health and possibly delay aging. Because the mashed fruit does not affect moisture, it is a viable face mask for multiple skin types. One study showed an improvement in tone evenness too.(5)
Consume as Part of a High Fiber Diet for the Fastest Results
Diets high in fiber do promote weight loss. How fast your weight comes off will vary. For example, if you are constipated, papaya can work as a natural laxative and clean you out. It can also reduce bloating and give you a flatter looking stomach. (6, 7, 8)
Again, this occurs because of the papain enzyme, and in part, the high water content of the fruit. Thirdly, the soluble fiber assists the process. This type of fiber adds bulk to your stools and makes them easier to pass through your digestive tract. (9)
Most people, even those consuming relatively healthy diets, might not get enough fiber from their food choices. It can take planning and a conscious effort to meet your recommended intake, but adding fruit can certainly make it doable without feeling like you’re eating tree bark.
A serving or two of this fruit can also assist you if your constipation and bloating stem from overindulgence, consuming too much dairy or constipation-causing foods, or you have eaten too much insoluble fiber. The latter fiber type slows down your digestive process, but you should not avoid it as it offers healthful gut benefits too. Instead, seek to balance both types of fiber in your diet for optimal gut health.
A Convenient, Versatile, and Portable Fruit
When we plan meals (and snacks) ahead of time, we are less tempted to splurge or overeat. Packing whole or cut fruit can assist you in your long-term weight loss goals.
You can eat it by itself or put in a smoothie. It adds a layer of flavor to savory dishes too. Chances are you will find a way to enjoy the fruit; just be sure to exercise moderation as you would with any fruit.
Precautions When Adding Papaya for Weight Loss
If you have a latex allergy or sensitivity, consuming the fruit can cause an allergic reaction. Consult with an allergist, doctor, or naturopath to have an in-office allergy test to rule out a severe reaction.
If you are pregnant or nursing, speak with your doctor or midwife. In 2002, an animal-based study showed a possible correlation between the unripe and semi-ripe fruit and birth related issues. More research is needed, but err on the side of caution.
If you are a diabetic or hypoglycemic, the papain in the fruit might lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels. Papain is also a blood thinner, so anyone already taking this type of medication should use caution when eating them.
Other Health Benefits of Papaya
• You might lower blood pressure.
• You might protect against cancer.
• Existing inflammation in your body may diminish, along with related pain.
• You might heal faster.
• You might naturally lower your blood sugar.
• Your immune system may receive a boost.
Consider the above list as additional reasons to include it in your diet or lifestyle. Multiple studies do suggest that consuming the fruit offers a wide array of healthful benefits that support weight loss. For example, if you cannot exercise because of inflammation-related pain, consuming a serving of fruit might reduce your discomfort enough so that you are able to workout.
Make Your Weight Loss Journey More Than a Diet
Diet is a broad word. A word that sees too much abuse and stigma. What a diet should mean is the foods you eat. Diet should not mean only weight loss. We throw it around as if it is a short-term medication that will cure bad habits, but the majority of serial dieters fail.
Choose lifestyle changes over a weight loss diet. People who make changes for life tend to succeed. Make real modifications to how and what you eat, and you will have a greater chance to keep your better habits for life.
We would also like to note that eating for your health rather than a number on the scale might be more beneficial in the end. The diet mentality can set you up for greater failure, including doing a number on your stress and mental health.
Think of your last diet. When you messed up, did you shrug it off and jump back on the saddle? If you did not, you are certainly not alone. Even a planned cheat day can leave us feeling like we are complete failures, which then leads to more bad choices and often quitting.
Choosing to make changes for life removes the negative box a diet can put into your mind. Yes, you can still count calories, fat, carbs, or whichever metrics you want, but a lifestyle change offers more freedom and less guilt.
Final Thoughts on Papaya for Weight Loss
Papaya is a healthy fruit to enjoy in moderation and adds well to nearly any lifestyle except strict keto diets. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. It is also low in fat and calories, and its low GI makes it suitable for those monitoring their blood sugar or A1C.
The fruit’s high fiber content might offer you the most benefit for fast weight loss if you suffer from bloating or constipation. If your bowel habits are fine, you can still enjoy it as part of your healthy eating plan without guilt.