‘Tis the season for grapefruit and the season for weight loss, and happily there is an intersection here because research suggests grapefruit for weight loss is just the thing. I love it when research comes up with so many health benefits for one of my favorite foods! The humble grapefruit, aptly named Citrus paradisi helps people to control their blood sugars and to lose weight more quickly. Sounds like paradisi, right?
Grapefruit for Weight Loss:
A terrific study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2006 examined the effects of grapefruit on insulin resistance, or pre-diabetes, and weight. The study compared people that ate half a grapefruit before each meal, people who drank grapefruit juice before each meal, people who took grapefruit capsules before each meal and people who took a placebo before each meal. All of these people kept everything else about their diets the same so the grapefruit (or lack of it) was the only change.
Of these four groups the people who ate half a grapefruit lost the most weight in 12 weeks, averaging a loss of 1.6 kilos or just over 3.5 pounds closely followed by the people who drank grapefruit juice, who lost 1.5 kilos or just under 3.5 pounds. The people who received a placebo (no grapefruit) lost very little weight; o.3 kilos or just over half a pound. This means the group that ate grapefruit for weight loss had better results with an otherwise equivalent diet as those who didn’t eat grapefruit.
This means eating grapefruit with no other dietary changes actually produced weight loss. Woohoo!
Grapefruit for Insulin Resistance and Blood Sugar:
All of the groups that had grapefruit also had significant changes in their insulin resistance. This means that their blood sugars 2 hours after eating were better when they also ate the grapefruit (with an otherwise normal diet) than when they didn’t. So whether they enjoyed the fruit itself, the juice or even the capsules their blood sugar stayed within a more moderate level compared to those study participants in the placebo (no grapefruit) group. This means their bodies were moderating their blood sugar more effectively throughout the day, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes.
Nutritional Benefits of Grapefruit:
In 1 cup of grapefruit (about 1/2 large or one small grapefruit) you are also getting 2 of your daily servings of fruits and vegetables and 4 grams of fiber. And if you haven’t heard me go on about fiber then click this link to read more because fiber is one of your best allies in the weight loss world. 1 cup of grapefruit is also providing 120% of your vitamin C and about 50% of your vitamin A. In every way this is a win of a fruit! In North America our citrus fruits are at their peak from just before Christmas until early spring so now is the time to enjoy. Conveniently it is also the time when we are most vulnerable for sitting around in winter hibernation packing on the pounds, so once again there is a happy symmetry to the universe. The ripest grapefruit for weight loss just when weight gain is at it’s highest. Thanks Universe! Just remember that whether you are eating the fruit or drinking the juice it does add calories overall so adjust the rest of your intake accordingly. Also, grapefruit does interact with some medications so be sure to check your medicine cabinet and talk to your doctor if you’re unsure. Now I’m off to picture beaches and palm trees, thanks to Citrus paradisi.
If you would like to read the research abstract, it can be found here and the nutritional data for grapefruit can be found here.