Refreshing and delicious, grapefruit has maintained a mythical weight-loss reputation in the diet world. Let’s tune in for the real story with nutrition Expert Lindsey Pine.
The famous “Grapefruit Diet” has been around since the 1930s, and is essentially a low-calorie, monotonous diet. The grapefruit was given its name due to the way the colorful orbs look like clusters of grapes when growing in trees. Thought to have originated in the West Indies, the grapefruit was first planted on U.S. soil in Florida in 1823, and is believed to be a hybrid formed from an orange and pummelo.
While grapefruit is magically delicious and nutritious, it is not magically burning your fat while you sleep. There just isn’t any scientific evidence showing special fat burning enzymes of grapefruit that fueled the rumors of the last several decades. A study funded by the Florida Department of Citrus in 2006 showed that participants who added ½ a grapefruit or ½ cup grapefruit juice with meals lost an average of at least 3 lbs over the course of 12 weeks.
But guess what? They bumped up their exercise too. This study does not prove to anyone 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 contains beta-carotene as well as lycopene, which is an antioxidant linked to lowering the risk of prostate cancer.
Some of the best reasons that you should eat grapefruit:
- They are delicious and juicy! Store them in the fridge, but leave out at room temperature before eating. At room temperature, they’re juicier!
- They’re easily found all year round.
- It is an excellent source of the antioxidant Vitamin C.
- It’s a great source of soluble fiber, which may be helpful in lowering LDLs.
- Rich in phytonutrients such as lycopene, limonoids, and naringin that have ben linked to lower cancer risks.
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.
Here are a few delicious ideas to incorporate them into your meals:
- Add pink or ruby red grapefruit segments to salads. It’s great in a spinach salad with black beans, sweet corn and sliced fennel.
- Add to a citrus salsa served over chicken or fish.
- Use in vinaigrettes and marinades.
- Briefly broil with a teaspoon of brown sugar or honey for a sweet treat.
- Add to a breakfast yogurt parfait.
Fat-burning or not, grapefruit is a delicious way to add more nutritious variety to a healthy lifestyle!
Adapted from the original article.
Lindsey Pine, MS, RDN, CSSD, CLT is a Los Angeles-based dietitian, specializing in food sensitivities and culinary creations. Whether she’s working with students at University of Southern California or in her private practice, Lindsey helps others find the healthy foods that they love so help sustain their long-term success. To find your tastiest balance in life, connect with Lindsey at Tasty Balance Nutrition.