A former coworker of mine enjoyed throwing out the most outrageous nutrition claims he could think of to see what my reaction would be. I was pretty much always on the defense. At one point, he tried to convince me of the magical fat burning qualities of grapefruit by claiming that his friend lost 20 lbs by drinking grapefruit juice every night.

**Insert eye roll here*** 

Grapefruit is magically delicious and nutritious, but it is not magically burning your fat while you sleep. There just isn’t any scientific evidence showing special fat burning qualities of grapefruit. The famous “Grapefruit Diet” that’s been around since the 1930s is essentially a low calorie, monotonous diet.

A study funded by the Florida Department of Citrus in 2006 showed that participants who added ½ a graperuit or ½ cup grapefruit juice with meals lost an average of at least 3lbs over the course of 12 weeks.  But guess what?  They bumped up their exercise too. This study does not prove to me that grapefruit was the catalyst for weight loss.

Magical fat burning qualities. No.  Powerful antioxidants that help with immunity and may prevent cancer. Yes! Grapefruit contains an abundance of vitamin C and phytochemicals such as flavonoids, and terpene limonoids. Pink and red grapefruit also contain beta carotene, in addtion to lycopene, which is an antioxidant well known for prevention of prostate cancer.

Why You Should Eat Grapefruit:

  1. Delicious tasting!
  2. They’re easily found all year round
  3. Excellent source of immune boosting Vitamin C
  4. Contain soluble fiber which may be helpful in lowering “bad” (LDL) cholesterol
  5. Rich in phytonutrients such as lycopene,  limonoids, and naringin that may assist in preventing cancer

***CAUTION, if you are taking any medications, it is very important to consult with your physician before adding grapefruit or grapefruit juice to your diet. While delicious and healthy, there are many potentially harmful interactions with pharmaceutical drugs.

Preparation ideas:

  1. Add pink or ruby red grapefruit segments to salads. Great in a spinach salad with black beans, sweet corn and sliced fennel
  2. Add to a citrus salsa served over chicken or fish
  3. Use in vinaigrettes and marinades
  4. Briefly broil with a teaspoon of brown sugar or honey for a sweet treat
  5. Add to a breakfast yogurt parfait

Grapefruit fun facts:

  1. This fruit was given its name due to the way the colorful orbs look like clusters of grapes when growing in trees
  2. Thought to have originated in the West Indies, the grapefruit was first planted on US soil in Florida in 1823
  3. The grapefruit is believed to be a hybrid formed from an orange and pummelo
  4. Store them in the fridge, but leave out at room temperature before eating. At room temperature, they’re juicier!

The Stats:

According to the USDA nutrient database, 1 cup of grapefruit sections with juice gives you approx:  

  • 74 calories
  • 1.5g protein
  • .23g total fat
  • 18.5g total carbohydrate
  • 2.5g fiber
  • 320mg K
  • 79mg vitamin C
  • 23mg folate
  • 106mcg vitamin A
  • 2610 mcg lycopene
  • 14 mcg lutein + zeaxanthin

Enjoy!

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