If you keep up-to-date with dieting trends, it’s likely you’ve heard that eating grapefruit helps with weight loss.
While it sounds too good to be true, this claim has been around for so long, you might think there’s at least an element of truth to it.
I am certainly skeptical when I hear claims like that. But, I can think of a number of reasons why eating grapefruit might work for weight loss, so I did a little research to find out for sure.
The Grapefruit Weight Loss Research
The studies I found were very small in size, but it is certainly worth discussing their findings anyway.
One study looked at 91 obese people, dividing them into 4 groups. They were asked to take one of the following for 12 weeks:
- Placebo capsules and 7 ounces of apple juice before three main meals.
- Grapefruit capsules with 7 ounces of apple juice before three main meals.
- 8 ounces of grapefruit juice with placebo capsule before three main meals.
- Half a fresh grapefruit with a placebo capsule before three main meals.
After 12 weeks, the placebo group had lost 0.3 kg, the grapefruit capsule group had lost 1.1 kg, the grapefruit juice group had lost 1.5 kg, and the fresh grapefruit group had lost 1.6 kg.
Interestingly, insulin resistance also improved in the fresh grapefruit group.
Researchers concluded that;
Although the mechanism of this weight loss is unknown it would appear reasonable to include grapefruit in a weight reduction diet.
Another study found that a “pre-meal snack” of grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or water, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, could be an effective weight loss strategy.
This study looked at 85 obese people, and divided them into three groups:
- Half a fresh grapefruit before three main meals.
- Half cup of 100 percent grapefruit juice before three main meals.
- Or, a half cup of water before three main meals.
Overall, participants had an average of 7.1 percent weight loss. Although this study did not show fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice to be more helpful for weight loss than water, the benefits went beyond this.
In comparison to the water-drinking group, additional benefits were noted in the fresh grapefruit and grapefruit juice group:
- HDL cholesterol – significant increase in HDL (good) cholesterol in the fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice group.
- Appetite – grapefruit juice as a pre-meal snack lead to a significant decrease in appetite.
- Nutrient intake – eating fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice led to a significant increase in vitamin C and fiber intake.
So, does grapefruit help with weight loss?
Consistent with previous research, which found eating vegetable soup, or a low calorie salad before main meals can significantly reduce overall calorie intake, it does appear that eating grapefruit may be effective as a weight loss strategy.
The weight loss experienced was, however, quite small in the above studies. So, I certainly wouldn’t suggest grapefruit has ‘magical’ weight loss super powers!
Nonetheless, adding fresh grapefruit into your diet on a regular basis is beneficial, since it is a very nutritious, yet low-calorie fruit, which is also loaded with vitamin C and fiber.
How To Eat Grapefruit
Your best option is to go for fresh grapefruit, if possible.
Canned is also okay, but try to get one canned in natural juices, rather than in syrup or sugar (check the label).
The next best option is grapefruit juice.
Choose one which states 100% grapefruit juice. It should not be a mixed juice, or one that has been artificially sweetened or flavored.
I know I don’t need to remind you of this ;-) but don’t be guilty of jumping on the grapefruit-diet-bandwagon! You can’t just add grapefruit to a poor diet, and expect to see weight loss.
Your diet overall must be well balanced and wholesome.
So, here are some tips for adding grapefruit to your weekly menu plan:
- Eat grapefruit first thing each morning (it’s really good with a dollop of natural yogurt).
- Try a grapefruit smoothie with strawberries, banana and yogurt added.
- Add grapefruit to your salad at lunchtime — this recipe for avocado grapefruit salad sounds delicious.
- Try a glass of 100% grapefruit juice along with dinner.
- Or, how about roasted salmon with shallot-grapefruit sauce?
Grapefruit Drug Interactions
It’s important to note that all forms of grapefruit can cause drug interactions with certain medications.
Some of these include oral contraceptives, statins, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, calcium channel blockers, and immunosupressants.
This is because grapefruit is an enzyme inhibitor (CYP34A).
Basically, that means if you have grapefruit in your system, it could prevent your body from properly breaking down medications. This is dangerous because the level of drug in your bloodstream elevates, therefore increasing your chance of side effects.
If in doubt, check with your doctor.
Have you tried grapefruit for weight loss? Was it effective?