Dr. Robert Cook - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Robert Cook

Is Jackfruit Bad For You?



Short answer

Jackfruit is not bad for you and can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet. It offers various health benefits, such as immune system support, improved digestion, and better blood sugar control, due to its rich vitamin, mineral, and fiber content. However, those with diabetes or certain food sensitivities should consume it cautiously. While beneficial, jackfruit should be complemented with other foods to ensure a well-rounded nutritional intake.



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Long answer

Jackfruit Nutritional Profile and Health Benefits

Jackfruit, a tropical fruit native to South Asia, is not only a culinary delight but also a nutritional powerhouse. Encompassing a dense nutritional profile, jackfruit provides a host of health benefits that cater to a variety of dietary needs and objectives. Understanding its constituents is essential in comprehending how it influences our health.

Macronutrients and Calories:
One cup of sliced jackfruit (approximately 165 grams) typically contains:

  • Calories: 157
  • Protein: 2.8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 38 grams
  • Fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Sugars: 31 grams
  • Fat: 0.5 grams

Vitamins and Minerals:
Jackfruit is particularly rich in vitamin C and also offers a decent amount of the B vitamins, particularly vitamin B6. Here's a snapshot of its vitamin and mineral content:

  • Vitamin C: 22.6 mg (25% of the DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.329 mg (19.4% of the DV)
  • Vitamin A: 110 IU (2.2% of the DV)
  • Riboflavin (B2): 0.055 mg (4.2% of the DV)
  • Niacin (B3): 0.92 mg (5.8% of the DV)
  • Folate (B9): 23.9 µg (6% of the DV)
  • Magnesium: 48 mg (12% of the DV)
  • Potassium: 739 mg (16% of the DV)
  • Calcium: 56 mg (4.3% of the DV)
  • Iron: 0.60 mg (3.3% of the DV)

Additionally, it's a good source of various antioxidants and phytonutrients, which have been linked to various health benefits.

Health Benefits:

The health benefits attributed to the impressive nutritional makeup of jackfruit are varied and significant. Regular inclusion of jackfruit in the diet can contribute to:

  • Immune System Support: The vitamin C content acts as an immune booster, enhancing the body's ability to combat infection.
  • Improved Digestion: A moderate amount of fiber aids digestion and can contribute to regular bowel movements, alleviating constipation.
  • Blood Pressure Control: The potassium in jackfruit helps to balance electrolytes and manage blood pressure levels, which is crucial for heart health.
  • Weight Management: Due to its fiber content and low-fat profile, jackfruit can be quite satiating without adding excessive calories, thus aiding in weight control.
  • Antioxidant Effects: Antioxidants present in jackfruit, such as vitamin C and various phytochemicals, combat oxidative stress and may reduce inflammation.

It is essential to note, studies such as those in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition suggest that the phytonutrients in jackfruit can help prevent various conditions, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Additionally, research indicates the presence of compounds with antimicrobial properties in jackfruit, which could support infection control.

Integrating jackfruit into a balanced diet can contribute to overall health due to its robust nutritional profile. However, individuals should also consider its high sugar content, especially those managing blood sugar levels. Ultimately, as part of a varied and balanced diet, jackfruit is a nutritive addition that can offer multiple health advantages.

Sugars and Carbohydrates in Jackfruit: Diabetes Considerations

When considering the impact of jackfruit on diabetes, it's crucial to explore its sugar and carbohydrate content. Jackfruit is naturally sweet and it contains a moderate level of carbs, which can raise blood glucose levels. However, the way it affects your blood sugar can differ based on several factors, including the fruit's ripeness and the amount consumed.

To provide a clear overview, let's break down the sugar and carbohydrate components:

  • Total carbohydrates: A cup of sliced raw jackfruit contains approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates. This figure includes complex carbohydrates, which are important sources of energy, and simple sugars that have a more immediate effect on blood sugar levels.
  • Dietary fiber: Of the total carbohydrate content, jackfruit boasts a fiber content of about 2-3 grams per cup. Dietary fiber is beneficial for diabetes management as it can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood glucose levels.
  • Sugars: Jackfruit has a sugar content of about 31 grams per cup for ripe fruit. It's important to note that unripe jackfruit has a lower sugar content, which might be a preferable option for those managing their carbohydrate intake.

Now, let's delve into the glycemic index (GI), a critical aspect when considering the suitability of jackfruit for individuals with diabetes.

Jackfruit has a medium glycemic index (GI) of 50-60, which implies that it causes a moderate increase in blood sugar levels. However, the actual blood sugar response may be mitigated by the fiber content and the other foods consumed with the jackfruit.

In addition to GI, we must also consider the glycemic load (GL), which incorporates the serving size into the equation. A typical GL value for jackfruit is around 18, which falls into the medium range. This suggests moderate caution for those with diabetes when consuming moderate portions of the fruit.

There is some research to suggest that jackfruit may even have benefits for diabetic patients. A study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition suggests that jackfruit extract may improve glucose tolerance in type 2 diabetes patients. However, this does not mean that jackfruit can be consumed in unlimited quantities. Portion control is still central to managing overall carbohydrate intake for diabetes.

Expert opinions also note that jackfruit can commonly be part of a diabetes-friendly diet when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced meal, perhaps paired with proteins and healthy fats to minimize the blood sugar rise.

In summary, those with diabetes should consider:

  • The ripeness of the jackfruit (less ripe, less sugar)
  • Portion sizes (keep it moderate)
  • Meal context (combine with other macronutrients)
  • Fiber intake to help slow glucose absorption

Understanding the balance and interplay between the sugars and carbohydrates in jackfruit and their effect on blood sugar levels is vital for making informed decisions for those with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes.

Allergies and Sensitivities Related to Jackfruit Consumption

When exploring the potential concerns associated with consuming jackfruit, it's important to consider allergies and sensitivities that some individuals may experience. Although jackfruit is not among the most common food allergens, there are instances where it could cause adverse reactions, particularly in those with a sensitivity to birch pollen or latex. Here's what you need to know about this tropical fruit's allergenic potential:

  • Birch Pollen Allergy: Also known as “Pollen-Food Syndrome,” a birch pollen allergy can cross-react with jackfruit due to similarities in protein structures. This is a form of oral allergy syndrome, and symptoms often include itchiness or swelling of the mouth, lips, throat, and ears soon after consuming jackfruit.
  • Latex-Fruit Syndrome: Individuals with a latex allergy may react to jackfruit because of certain shared proteins. Symptoms can range from skin rashes to more severe reactions like anaphylaxis. Those with a known latex allergy should consult a healthcare professional before trying jackfruit.
  • Gastrointestinal Sensitivities: Jackfruit contains certain non-digestible carbohydrates that can cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people. Individuals with sensitivities such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience bloating, gas, or diarrhea.

In specific research, it has been noted that individuals who experience allergic reactions from jackfruit generally have a pre-existing predisposition to allergies. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology examined the cross-reactivity between latex and various fruits, including jackfruit, which could lead to allergic responses in susceptible individuals (Wagner & Breiteneder, 2002).

Furthermore, those with compromised immune systems or histories of multiple food allergies should exercise caution when trying new foods, including jackfruit. It is advisable for these individuals to undergo allergy testing or a supervised oral food challenge in a medical setting if they wish to incorporate jackfruit into their diet.

Despite its healthful properties, jackfruit is not exempt from causing allergies and should be consumed with caution by those with relevant sensitivities. Should you experience any allergic symptoms after consuming jackfruit, seek immediate medical attention. Keeping an allergen diary and discussing your symptoms with an allergist or dietitian can also help manage and diagnose food-related allergies and sensitivities.

Interactions of Jackfruit with Medications

The consumption of jackfruit could potentially interact with certain medications, which is an important consideration for individuals on medication therapy. While the benefits of jackfruit — a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber — are manifold, the interplay between its components and medication can sometimes lead to less than desirable effects.

One of the primary concerns when evaluating the interaction between jackfruit and medications is its influence on blood sugar levels. Jackfruit is known to have a moderate glycemic index, which means it can affect glucose levels in the bloodstream.

  • Diabetes medications: For those taking insulin or other diabetes medications, the consumption of jackfruit could lead to either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia if not properly balanced with medication. Always consult your healthcare provider to adjust doses as necessary when including jackfruit in your diet.
  • Warfarin (Coumadin): Jackfruit contains vitamin K, which is known for its role in blood clotting. Since Warfarin is a blood thinner used to prevent clot formation, high intakes of vitamin K can reduce its efficacy. This could increase the risk of clotting events, so patients on Warfarin should monitor their jackfruit intake, and consistent consumption is key for maintaining stable medication effects.

Additionally, it's crucial to understand that jackfruit seeds contain compounds that could interact with certain medications:

  • Antibiotics: There have been some reports that suggest that certain compounds in jackfruit seeds might interfere with the action of antibiotics. This could potentially reduce the effectiveness of the medication, although more research is needed to confirm such interactions.
  • Thyroid medications: Jackfruit seeds are high in certain phytochemicals, which could potentially interact with thyroid medications. Patients with thyroid conditions should discuss their intake with a healthcare provider to ensure no adverse interactions occur.

There's also a theoretical risk for individuals with allergies to birch pollen, as they might have cross-reactivity to certain fruits, including jackfruit, potentially causing an allergic reaction. Although this isn't a medication interaction per se, it's an important consideration for those who may take antihistamines or other allergy medications.

Ultimately, while jackfruit is generally considered safe for most people, interactions with medications can present unique challenges. It's highly recommended that you consult your healthcare provider or a pharmacist for personalized advice, especially if you're on long-term medications. Moreover, it's prudent to monitor any new symptoms or changes in health status when introducing jackfruit into your diet if you are taking any medicinal substances. Further studies are certainly warranted to explore the extent of these interactions and provide clearer guidance for patients and healthcare providers alike.

Professional societies like the American Dietetic Association and medications management resources such as the Drug-Nutrient Interaction Checker provided by Penn State Hershey are tools that can offer additional insights and guidance on potential food and medication interactions.

Remember, maintaining open communication with your healthcare team about all aspects of your diet and medication regimen is essential for optimal health and the prevention of adverse effects or interactions.

Incorporating Jackfruit into a Balanced Diet

Introducing jackfruit into your diet can be both a nutritious and interesting culinary experience. This large tropical fruit has a meaty texture that makes it a popular plant-based substitute for meat, particularly among vegetarians and vegans. It's important to recognize that while jackfruit can be a healthy part of your diet, it should be consumed as part of a broader approach to balanced eating.

Here are some factors to consider when incorporating jackfruit into your diet:

  • Caloric and Nutritional Content: Even though jackfruit is a fruit, its caloric density is higher than that of typical fruits like apples or berries. A one-cup serving of sliced jackfruit provides about 155 calories, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. However, it is low in fat and rich in dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium, making it a beneficial addition to your meals.
  • Portion Size: Because of its caloric density and rich fiber content, it's essential to be mindful of portion sizes. Large servings may lead to digestive discomfort for some, especially for those not accustomed to high-fiber diets.
  • Variety in Diet: While jackfruit can be a wonderful addition, relying on it solely as a main source of nutrition might cause you to miss out on other essential nutrients. Jackfruit lacks significant protein, for example, which is crucial for muscle repair and immune function. It should ideally be complemented with legumes, nuts, or whole grains to ensure a balanced intake of macronutrients.
  • Role in Meals: Consider jackfruit as a versatile ingredient rather than a centerpiece. It works well in savory dishes like tacos, stir-fries, or curries. When using it as a meat substitute, accentuate the dish with other protein sources such as chickpeas or lentils to round out the meal.
  • Sweet vs. Savory Preparations: Unripe jackfruit is typically used for savory dishes, while the sweet, ripe fruit is eaten on its own or used in desserts. Balancing its use in savory and sweet contexts can help maintain a varied and enjoyable diet without overdoing sugar intake.
  • Canned vs. Fresh: Fresh jackfruit is less common outside of its native regions, but canned versions are more accessible. When choosing canned jackfruit, look for brands that do not add extra sugars or preservatives. This will help you keep your consumption of added sugars low, aligning with guidelines set by health organizations like the American Heart Association.

Overall, jackfruit can play a part in a healthful diet when consumed with a consideration for overall dietary balance. As with any whole food, it is most beneficial when included in a diet that is varied and rich in nutrients.

Studies on jackfruit's nutritional properties, such as one published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, have highlighted its potential health benefits, including its possible role in improving blood sugar control when combined with a balanced diet. As research continues to unfold, incorporating jackfruit as part of a diverse and thoughtful eating plan remains a sound approach to enjoying this unique fruit.

Frequently asked questions

Jackfruit contains a moderate level of carbohydrates, with around 38 grams per cup, including 31 grams of sugar. This profile makes it less suitable for strict low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diets, which typically restrict daily carb intake to under 50 grams. Those on such diets might opt for smaller portions or look for lower-carb fruit alternatives.

Jackfruit's rich vitamin C content supports skin health by promoting the production of collagen, which helps maintain skin elasticity and strength. Vitamin A, present in jackfruit, also plays a role in skin repair and maintenance. Additionally, the antioxidants in jackfruit can help protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

While jackfruit is a popular meat substitute in vegan and vegetarian cuisine due to its texture, it is not a significant source of protein. One cup of jackfruit provides only about 2.8 grams of protein. Vegans and vegetarians should pair it with legumes, nuts, or tofu to ensure they meet their protein requirements.

Jackfruit contains a modest amount of iron (0.60 mg per cup), which contributes to the production of hemoglobin in the blood. While it can be part of an iron-rich diet to help manage anemia, it should be consumed with foods high in vitamin C to enhance iron absorption, and potentially alongside other iron-rich foods, especially for individuals with a higher risk or diagnosis of anemia.

Ask a question about Jackfruit and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Ingredients to be aware of

  • high sugar content


  • immune system support
  • improved digestion
  • blood pressure control
  • weight management
  • antioxidant effects

Healthier alternatives

  • unripe jackfruit (lower sugar content)
  • foods high in protein

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Organic Jackfruit Alternative

  • Vegan meat substitute
  • Unseasoned versatility
  • Organic ingredient
  • Low in calories
  • High in fiber
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-28-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 02-28-2024

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