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Is Papaya Good for Diabetics?

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that affects the body’s ability to use food efficiently due to insufficient insulin production or insulin resistance. For individuals with diabetes, maintaining stable blood sugar levels is essential for overall health.

In recent times, the role of diet in managing diabetes has gained significant attention. One food that piqued scientific and public interest is papaya (lat. Carica papaya), a tropical fruit with a wealth of nutrients and potential health benefits.

This article explores papaya’s nutritional value, its impact on diabetics, and how it can be incorporated into a diabetes-friendly diet.

Nutrition Value of Papaya

Papaya is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibre, making it a valuable addition to any diet. [1] It is abundant in essential vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and K and minerals like magnesium and copper. Moreover, papaya is known for its carotenoids, including beta-carotene and lycopene, which contribute to its vibrant colour and antioxidant properties. [1]

However, it is important to note that research has shown differences in nutritional values in different papaya colours. Both green and yellow papaya contain polyphenols, natural compounds in plant-based foods. These compounds have antioxidant properties that can protect our cells from damage caused by harmful molecules. However, yellow papaya has substantially higher concentrations of polyphenols compared to green papaya. [2]

Calories and GI in Papaya

A papaya serving size is approximately 145 g, providing 62 kcal of energy. This energy can be expended through a 17-minute walk or a 6-minute run. [4]

Besides calories, for individuals with diabetes, food’s glycemic index (GI) is a crucial consideration. The GI measures how quickly carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels. Papaya has a moderate GI score of 60, which means it does not cause significant spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed in appropriate portions. [3]

Benefits & Risks of Eating Papaya with Diabetes

Research suggests that papaya may offer several benefits for individuals with diabetes. Studies conducted on diabetic rats revealed that the ethanolic extract of papaya leaves exhibited antidiabetic properties, aiding in controlling blood glucose levels and improving insulin signalling pathways. [5] The presence of bioactive compounds in papaya, such as flavonoids and saponins, contributes to its potential antihyperglycemic effects. [6] Furthermore, the fibre content in papaya can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestive health. [7]

A recent study has shown that the nutritional value of papaya varies depending on the fruit’s colour – yellow or green. The study discovered yellow papaya extracts contain more polyphenols and have stronger anti-oxidation properties than green papaya. Liver cells responded positively to glucose stimulation from both varieties of papaya pulp, with green papaya being more effective. [2]

Additionally, papaya seeds displayed significant wound-healing properties by encouraging fibroblast migration and collagen synthesis. These findings suggest that including different parts of papaya in a diet may provide potential benefits in preventing diabetes and promoting wound healing. [2]

How Much Papaya Can I Eat with Diabetes?

Firstly, determining the appropriate amount of papaya depends on individual factors, including overall diet, blood sugar levels, and personal preferences. It is best to consult a registered dietitian or healthcare provider to create a personalized meal plan incorporating papaya and other diabetes-friendly foods.

Although papaya has many benefits, especially for diabetics, it’s important to keep in mind that it contains natural sugars such as fructose and glucose. A serving of papaya typically contains approximately 16 grams of sugar. [4] While the natural sugars in papaya are not as concerning as added sugars in processed foods, diabetics should still be cautious about the amount of papaya they consume to manage their blood glucose levels effectively.

The recommended daily intake of papaya for diabetics will vary based on individual factors such as age, sex, activity level, and overall health status. Diabetics need to work with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional to determine a personalized dietary plan that includes the appropriate portion of papaya.

Generally, a serving of papaya (about 150 grams) can be incorporated into a diabetic meal plan as a healthy snack or a balanced meal. However, portion control is crucial to avoid consuming excessive calories and sugars. Diabetics should consider spreading their fruit intake throughout the day rather than consuming large quantities of papaya in one sitting.

Furthermore, individuals with diabetes should monitor their blood glucose levels after consuming papaya and other foods to observe how their bodies respond. Keeping a food diary and tracking blood sugar levels can help identify any adverse effects and enable adjustments to the dietary plan accordingly.

Fruit Alternatives for Diabetes

While papaya has its merits as a nutritious addition to a diabetes-friendly diet, expanding our fruit horizons and discovering a diverse array of options that can be safely enjoyed is essential.

To aid you in making informed choices, let’s explore some delightful alternatives, each with unique benefits, supporting stable blood sugar levels and enhancing overall well-being:

  • Berries: Low GI and a great source of Antioxidants
  • Apples and Pears: Moderate GI and balanced nutritional values.
  • Citrus Fruits: Moderate GI and bursting with vitamin C.
  • Avocado: Low GI and Heart-Healthy Fats.
  • Kiwi: High with vitamins C, K, E and dietary fibre.

Incorporating these delightful fruit alternatives into your diabetes-friendly diet can add a rainbow of flavours and essential nutrients to your daily meals.


How to eat papaya with diabetes?

While papaya can be a nutritious addition to a diabetes-friendly diet, it’s crucial to approach its consumption with mindfulness and moderation.

Here are some tips on how to enjoy papaya while keeping blood sugar in check:

  • Portion Control: To manage blood sugar, limit your papaya intake to a small serving, like half a cup or a small slice.
  • Combine with Protein or Healthy Fats: Add nuts, seeds, or Greek yoghurt to papaya to slow sugar absorption and stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • Opt for Fresh, Ripe Papaya: Pick fresh and ripe papayas for the best taste and nutrition. Avoid underripe or overripe ones, as their sugar content and nutrients may differ. Ripe papayas are naturally sweet and don’t need additional sugars or sweeteners.
  • Avoid Processed Papaya Products: Be cautious of processed papaya products as they usually have added sugars that can affect blood sugar levels.
  • Monitor Blood Glucose Levels: Monitor your blood glucose levels after eating papaya. Keep a food journal to track how it affects your levels over time.
  • Consult with a Healthcare Professional: For personalized meal plans, including papaya and other fruits, consult a dietitian or healthcare professional based on your health needs and diabetes management goals.

Papaya can be a delicious and nutritious addition to a diabetes-friendly diet when consumed mindfully and in appropriate portions. By practising portion control, combining papaya with protein or healthy fats, and choosing fresh and ripe papayas, individuals with diabetes can savour the sweetness of this tropical fruit while maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

Can I eat papaya leaves or raw papayas?

Papaya leaves and raw papayas are not commonly consumed as standalone foods. While papaya leaves have been studied for their potential health benefits, including antioxidant properties, their impact on blood sugar levels requires further research. [2] When it comes to eating raw papayas, it’s important to watch your portion size.

What to do if I am not feeling well after eating it?

If you experience any discomfort or changes in how you feel after consuming papaya, it is essential to test your blood sugar with a glucometer. Regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels can help identify any adverse reactions or fluctuations and inform your dietary decisions accordingly.

Final Thoughts

Papaya can be a nutritious addition to the diet of individuals with diabetes when consumed in moderation and as part of a well-balanced meal plan. Its moderate GI score and rich nutritional content make it a favourable choice for those seeking to manage blood sugar levels effectively.

However, individual responses to foods can vary, so it is essential to monitor blood sugar levels and work with healthcare professionals to tailor dietary choices to individual needs.


  1. Papaya: Health Benefits. Published March 12, 2018. Accessed July 31, 2023.
  2. Li H, Beg OU, Rafie AR, et al. Characterization of Green and Yellow Papaya (Carica papaya) for Antidiabetic Activity in Liver and Myoblast Cells and Wound-Healing Activity in Fibroblast Cells. Nutrients. 2023;15(8):1929. doi:10.3390/nu15081929
  3. Fatema K, Ali L, Rahman M, Parvin S, Hassan MZ. Serum glucose and insulin response to mango and papaya in type 2 diabetic subjects. Nutrition Research – NUTR RES. 2003;23:9-14. doi:10.1016/S0271-5317(02)00492-X
  4. Calories in Papaya. Nutritionix. Accessed July 31, 2023.
  5. Carica papaya Reduces Muscle Insulin Resistance via IR/GLUT4 Mediated Signaling Mechanisms in High Fat Diet and Streptozotocin-Induced Type-2 Diabetic Rats – PubMed. Accessed July 31, 2023.
  6. Ebifa JO, Elechi-Amadi HMDK, Abiakam HMDC, Briggs ON. Comparative effects of Carica Papaya, Avocado Pear and Ginger Extracts on the Histological Structure of the Pancreas of Streptozotocin-induced Diabetic Rats. Asian Journal of Medical Principles and Clinical Practice. Published online June 23, 2021:148-158. Accessed July 31, 2023.
  7. Ismawanti Z, Suparyatmo JB, Wiboworini B. The Effects of Papaya Fruit as Anti Diabetes: A Review. International Journal of Nutrition Sciences. 2019;4(2):65-70. doi:10.30476/ijns.2019.81751.1013

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