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Papaya & Weight Loss

By Jessica Bruso

Papaya is a nutritious fruit choice, providing significant amounts of fiber, folate and vitamins A and C. People who eat more vegetables and fruits, such as papaya, tend to lose more weight, according to a study published in "Nutrition Research" in April 2008. In this study, each 3 1/2-ounce-per-day increase in fruit intake led to an extra 10.6 ounces, or about 2/3 pound, of weight loss during the six-month course of the study.

Fresh vs. Canned

When eating papaya, choose fresh papaya over canned if you're trying to lose weight. You can eat a cup of chopped fresh papaya for just 62 calories, but a 2/3-cup serving of papaya canned in heavy syrup has 206 calories, most of which come from the 52.2 grams of sugar this serving contains. Toss fresh papaya into a fruit salad, add it to smoothies or make a salsa including papaya and mango instead of tomatoes.

Fiber Advantage

Papaya provides about 2.5 grams of fiber per cup, or 10 percent of the daily value. Adding more fiber to your diet can make it easier for you to lose weight because fiber increases feelings of fullness and may also slightly decrease the number of calories you absorb from your food, according to an article published in March 2005 in "Nutrition."

Energy Density

Foods that are low in energy density, or calories per gram, make it easier for you to feel full without going over your recommended calories per day because you can eat a greater volume of food. Papaya has a very low energy density, with 0.4 calorie per gram. Eat it for a snack or dessert instead of more energy-dense sweets like cake or cookies. If you don't want to totally give up a sweet treat, have half of your usual serving of cake or ice cream and top it with papaya.

Other Considerations

Adding papaya to what you already eat won't help you lose weight. To lose weight, you need to use papaya to replace a less healthy food that is higher in calories. This will create a calorie deficit. You need to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories for each pound of weight you want lose, which you can do by eating fewer calories, exercising more or a combination of the two.

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