Weight loss claims have been associated with grapefruit for a long time. The grapefruit diet was first popularized in the 1930s and then had a resurgence in the 1980s.
Does the Grapefruit Diet Promote Weight Loss?
That near starvation regimen was based on the claim that grapefruit possessed special fat-incinerating abilities. While that was a myth, this citrus fruit is a standout in terms of health rewards.
Grapefruit gets its name from the fact that it grows on tree branches in grape-like clusters. This low calorie citrus fruit is actually a hybrid of an orange and a pomelo, a green thick-skinned fruit slightly larger than a grapefruit. While both the white and the pink/red varieties are available year round, the peak of the harvest in Florida and Texas is from fall into summer. Many people prefer the red hued variety due to its sweeter taste. Surprisingly, the sugar, fiber and calorie counts are roughly the same whether you pucker up to the pale version or favor the less sour variation.
But, in terms of nutrition, go for the red. They provide 28% of your daily need for immune system boosting vitamin A, while its paler cousin contains a meager 1%. Also, the red color indicates the presence of the antioxidant lycopene, which helps fight cell damage.
Grapefruit Can Help Weight Loss and Promote Health
While grapefruit has no magic fat burning qualities, it can help with weight loss because it is low in calories and high in fiber. This tropical citrus fruit is not only rich in vitamins and minerals, but is also a good source of satiating fiber and many antioxidants. Half of a medium-sized grapefruit has only about 50 calories and 13 grams of carbs. Grapefruit has a low glycemic index, making it compatible with diabetic diets. Enduring the somewhat tedious process of sectioning this fruit yields 65% of your vitamin C needs, and a good dose of potassium and thiamin. The juice has less than 100 calories per cup, but you’ll miss out on the fiber.
The Many Health Benefits of Grapefruits
• One study showed that eating grapefruit is associated with increased levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, reported significant decreases in appetite, and increased their fiber intake and vitamin C levels.
• Grapefruit is one of the best sources of Vitamin C. Consuming ½ a grapefruit or ¾ of a cup of juice more than satisfies your daily RDA. A 2015 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition analyzed the fruit and vegetable intake of 100,000 people and found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in Vitamin C, had a 15 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Red grapefruit is preferable because it has higher quantities of bioactive compounds and antioxidants, which help lower serum triglyceride levels in atherosclerosis sufferers.
• Men aged 40 through 70 and postmenopausal women are at an increased risk of developing painful kidney stones. The citric acid in grapefruit decreases the incidence of kidney stones and also helps break up existing stones.
• Red/pink grapefruit is one of the best sources of the antioxidant lycopene, which is associated with a decreased risk of prostate cancer. In a study of over 50,000 men, those with the highest lycopene levels were 21% less likely to develop the disease. Another study found an association between high lycopene levels and a decreased incidence of stomach cancers.
• The biggest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease is age. In fact, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles every five years after age 65. There is growing evidence that fruit and vegetable juices “play an important role in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.” Juices like grapefruit, which contain a variety of phenolic compounds, antioxidants that prevent oxidative stress in cells, offer protection against this deadly disease.
• The incidence of metabolic syndrome, the name for a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke, increases with age. This condition is burgeoning due to increasing obesity rates and it is expected to soon overtake smoking as the leading cause of heart disease. Grapefruit consumption improves insulin resistance which decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome.