No, grapefruit is not bad for you. It’s low in calories, high in nutrients and provides many worthwhile health benefits, including increasing weight loss, lowering blood pressure and potentially reducing your risk of colon cancer.
Since the 1930s, grapefruits have been a long-running diet staple. If you’re trying to lose weight, odds are probably pretty good that a friend or family member has recommended incorporating grapefruit into your diet. But even though these fruits have a lengthy association with health and weight loss, they’re really not that old.
A tropical treat, grapefruits were first discovered in Barbados in the 18th century. Botanists believe they were likely the result of a natural cross breeding between oranges and pomelos, an Indonesian citrus fruit. They were given the name “grapefruit” because of the way they grow in clusters... like grapes.
So do these fairly new fruits have any real impact on your weight? Are they bad for you in any way?
Grapefruits offer substantial health benefits—and support for weight loss is merely one of many. It’s low in calories (52 per half fruit) and has a glycemic index of 25, so it won’t spike blood sugar. And while it’s no miracle fat burner, studies have shown that eating more grapefruit can help you lose more weight. In fact, a study from the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic discovered that people who ate grapefruit halves prior to a meal lost around three and a half pounds within twelve weeks—without making any other dietary modifications.
Eating more grapefruit can also help reduce your blood pressure. The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports that consuming just one grapefruit a day can help decrease LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels by 15.5 percent and triglycerides by up to 27 percent. This is likely due to grapefruit’s rich nutrient content, which includes sizable amounts heart healthy fiber, potassium, lycopene, vitamin C and choline.
In the long-term, grapefruit may even help reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. It’s rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, which help your body fend off cell-damaging free radicals. Because of these properties, grapefruit has been shown to help reduce risks for certain types of cancer—prostate and esophageal, in particular.
However, eating more grapefruit might not be beneficial for everyone. It has enzyme-binding properties, which increases the speed and ease of certain medications being absorbed into the bloodstream. This could be dangerous and potentially even fatal in some cases. So if you are taking calcium blockers, statin or psychiatric drugs, consult your doctor before increasing the amount of grapefruit in your diet.
And remember: even though grapefruit has a lot of advantages... it’s not a be-all-end-all. The key to good health and disease prevention is eating a balanced diet, as opposed to relying on one single food or nutrient.
Possible short-term side effects
- suppresses appetite
- interacts with certain medications
- aids in weight loss
- lowers blood pressure
- helps reduce risk of certain cancers
- boosts immune system
- promotes digestion