The sweet, juicy orange flesh of the papaya is packed with nutrients, making the tropical fruit an ideal snack anytime. A medium-sized papaya contains approximately 120 calories, 20 percent of the daily value for fiber and more than three times the vitamin C you need each day. However, eating too much of a good thing can sometimes cause some unpleasant side effects.
The papaya gets its orange hue from beta carotene, a nutrient in the carotenoid family that also provides you with vitamin A. A medium papaya offers about 15 percent of the DV for vitamin A. Eating too much of a yellow, green or orange-colored food that contains beta carotene can cause a benign form of skin discoloration called carotenemia. The palms of the hands and soles of the feet are the most visible areas of the body affected by carotenemia, but other areas of the body can also become tinged with yellow or orange. Carotenemia is not to be confused with jaundice, a yellowing of the skin that also affects the whites of the eyes. Jaundice is a sign of higher-than-normal bilirubin levels; carotenemia is harmless. Cutting back on your papaya consumption will resolve the discoloration of the skin.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which is used to soothe digestive complaints and to counter inflammation in the throat. Papain is also a potential allergen, according to Purdue University. People who eat too much papaya and ingest high levels of papain may develop symptoms consistent with hay fever or asthma, including wheezing, breathing difficulties and nasal congestion.
Possible Kidney Stones
A single papaya measuring 5 inches long with a 3-inch diameter contains up to 310 percent of the DV of 60 milligrams per day for vitamin C. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that may help protect against blood vessel disorders, cancer and high blood pressure. Consuming more than 1,200 milligrams of vitamin C per day for children or more than 2,000 milligrams per day for adults can induce toxicity symptoms, including oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a byproduct of vitamin C once the nutrient has been metabolized.
Gastrointestinal symptoms may be a side effect of eating too much papaya. Ironically, the same papain that calms your stomach can cause an upset stomach when taken in large amounts. The high fiber content of papaya can also contribute to unrest of the digestive system when you indulge in too much of the tropical fruit, and the latex in the fruit's skin may cause stomach irritation.