Is cantaloupe healthy or a potentially hazardous food? The latter conclusion is supported by many facts. Take a look at them and make your own conclusion.How much antioxidant activity?Does cantaloupe have antioxidants? It does, but so do virtually all other plants which have been tested thus far. The amount can vary greatly as those with the highest have literally over 1,000x more than those with the lowest amount. Is cantaloupe high in antioxidants relative to the average? Nope. With an ORAC value of 319, it hardly provides more than a Papa John's cheese pizza which scores 300. In other words, if you ate 100 grams of both of these foods, you would be getting almost the exact same total amount of antioxidant content.Obviously that doesn't mean you should go chow down on a pizza instead, as that contains a whole host of other things which are quite unhealthy for you, not the least of which is high calories and fat. Contrast that to how many calories are in canteloupe, which is just 168 if you were to eat the entire fruit (a medium sized melon).Is there any nutritional value?Yes, there it. It would be unfair to demonize this fruit without pointing out the many positives it has.Even though it is low in total antioxidant content, it still provides ample amounts of two in particular; vitamin A and C. Just 100 grams (3.5 ounces) contains 67% of your daily value of vitamin A and 61% of vitamin C. All for only 34 calories.Along with that though is a fair amount of sugar. So is cantaloupe good for diabetics? As is the case with fruits in general, there are really two schools of thought as to the answer of that question. The glycemic index (GI) of cantaloupe melon is 65. That places it at "medium" which is not idea. The American Diabetes Association classifies low GI foods as 55 or less (1). For that reason, it may not be a wise idea for diabetics to consume this fruit in excess.The flip side of the argument is that enjoying a dish of fruit in place of another higher GI dessert, such as baked goods like cake and cookies made with refined grains, is by far the lesser of two evils. That is true, but just because something is less bad doesn't necessarily mean it's good or healthy for you.Food poisoning dangersAll melons grow on the ground and for that reason, they are more susceptible to picking up bacteria and infectious pathogens which are in the soil. Hardly a summer goes by without a listeria recall or scare involving cantaloupe. Salmonella outbreaks are also common. Though it is unfair to blame the fruit for this, because the original sources of most of these hazardous infections come not from the plant itself, but rather wastewater runoff from nearby factory farms. In other words, the fecal and waste matter coming from the cows, chickens, and other livestock that are loaded with bacteria. Given that potential risk and the the low amount of antioxidants it has, many choose to skip this fruit and choose something like an apple, which has an ORAC around 10x higher.
USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 - Prepared by Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - May 2010