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Is Papaya Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

On the ketogenic diet the goal is to keep your carbohydrate intake low enough. What about papaya, is it keto-friendly?

Papaya is a kind of orange fruit. This fruit is mostly consumed on its own, as a snack or dessert but it can play a role in salads and dessert recipes too.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in raw papaya is around 8 grams per 100 grams.

While it depends on the rest of your diet, for most people papaya is not very keto-friendly. This fruit is not completely off-limits but you will have to exercise some portion control.

In any case, there are substitutes for papaya that are better for staying in ketosis.

When is a food keto-friendly

The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis, a state where it starts mainly burning fat as a fuel (1). This comes down to more or less getting 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

For most people this comes down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates a day.

In reality, this number is different depending on a lot of factors. For example, people who exercise a lot may be able to consume more carbohydrates before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said that daily amount can be a good general guideline.

It is also common to exclude fiber from this amount since it doesn’t get absorbed into your body the same way as regular carbohydrates.

Carbs in papaya

100 grams of papaya contains the following amounts of carbs (2):

  • Total carbs: 9.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Net carbs: 8 grams

Combined with the other foods in your diet the 8 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of papaya can be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One ounce of papaya is about 28 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 2.7 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.2 grams

The number of net carbs in 1 ounce of papaya, 2.2 grams, is a bit easier to fit into a keto diet. Whether or not papaya is keto for you ultimately depends on your individual situation, how much papaya you want to eat, and the rest of your diet.

Other nutrients in papaya

Other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals also still matter on the ketogenic diet.

100 grams of raw papaya contains the following nutrients (2):

  • Calories: 39
  • Protein: 0.6 grams
  • Carbs: 9.8 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Vitamin C: 103% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin A: 22% of the DV
  • Folate: 10% of the DV
  • Potassium: 7% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 4% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Papaya does contain a few valuable nutrients per 100 grams. That being said, you can definitely also find foods with more nutrients that are lower in net carbs.

How to avoid eating too much papaya

By now it is clear that to be able to fit papaya in your keto diet, you will have to exercise some portion control. Having a big bowl of eat-ready papaya near you and hoping that you don’t eat too much is not the ideal way to do this.

You can avoid eating too much papaya with some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead, how much papaya will you eat?
  • Put the planned amount in a bowl and leave the rest of the papaya out of sight
  • Don’t eat during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not buying papaya if you can’t control yourself

If you notice you get out of ketosis you may need to reduce the quantity of papaya you eat.

Substitutes for papaya on keto

Papaya is not the only option when you want to eat fruit on the ketogenic diet. Papaya is actually one of the lower net carb options but there are still a few fruits that are more keto-friendly.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet. These are the net carb values per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8):

  • Blackberries: 4.9 grams of net carbs
  • Raspberries: 5.4 grams of net carbs
  • Strawberries: 5.7 grams of net carbs
  • Watermelon: 7.1 grams of net carbs
  • Cranberries: 7.6 grams of net carbs
  • Cantaloupe: 7.9 grams of net carbs

If you have trouble staying in ketosis but still have cravings for fruit it may be smart to choose some of these substitutes over papaya. However, even with these examples you will have to exercise portion control to stay in ketosis.

What is your goal with keto?

Even a small portion of papaya added to certain daily diets can potentially put you just over the net carbs border, out of ketosis. Depending on the goal you have with keto this may or may not be a problem.

If your goal is to stay strictly in ketosis 24/7 you want to be careful about your carbohydrate intake.

If your goal is to lose weight and become healthier, papaya can be a good food option even if it potentially puts you at a carbohydrate level slightly above your ketosis level.