What are the benefits of Grapefruit Juice for weight loss?
The infamous grapefruit diet promises weight loss if you incorporate the fruit into every meal, which is why grapefruit and its juice are often touted for their ability to help you shed pounds. But is there really a connection between grapefruit juice and weight loss? Still, there are certain grapefruit juice benefits that make it a good addition to a balanced diet.
Is Grapefruit Juice Good for Weight Loss?
Some fad diets claim that the enzymes in grapefruit (and grapefruit juice) burn fat. Still, it’s possible that grapefruit juice may help with weight loss indirectly. For instance, a February 2011 study in Nutrition & Metabolism had 86 adults with obesity eat either fresh grapefruit, grapefruit juice or water before each meal for three months after completing a two-week caloric restriction phase. All three groups lost weight, indicating that eating fruit, hydrating or drinking grapefruit juice before meals may be linked to reduced caloric intake.
Another October 2014 study in PLOS One found that mice on a high-fat diet gained less weight when they drank grapefruit juice compared to water. However, this research only studied what grapefruit juice does for weight loss in mice, so more studies are needed to show this same link in humans.
An older March 2006 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food gave 96 people with obesity either a placebo, a grapefruit capsule, apple juice, grapefruit juice or half a grapefruit before each meal for three months. The study found that the group who ate fresh grapefruit lost more weight than the other groups.
Benefits of Drinking Grapefruit Juice
While there’s no clear link between grapefruit juice and weight loss, the beverage can still be a part of a balanced diet. Here are some of the benefits of 100-percent grapefruit juice:
1. Grapefruit juice Contains Vitamins and Minerals
Grapefruit juice contains vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin C, per My Food Data. While these nutrients alone aren’t responsible for inducing weight loss, eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats can contribute to finding your ideal weight.
And per a May 2014 review in Food & Nutrition Research, people assigned female at birth (AFAB) who regularly ate grapefruit or drink its juice had higher intakes of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, fiber and beta-carotene compared to those who didn’t.
2. Grapefruit may help prevent insulin resistance and diabetes
Eating grapefruit regularly may have the potential to prevent insulin resistance, which can lead to diabetes. Insulin resistance occurs when your cells stop responding to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates many processes in your body. It’s involved in many aspects of your metabolism, but it’s most commonly known for its role in blood sugar control. Insulin resistance ultimately leads to higher insulin and blood sugar levels, two primary risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Eating grapefruit may help control insulin levels, meaning it may have the ability to reduce your likelihood of becoming insulin resistant. In one study, subjects who ate half of a fresh grapefruit before meals experienced a significant reduction in both insulin levels and insulin resistance, compared with the group of people who didn’t eat grapefruit. Plus, eating fruit as a whole is generally associated with better blood sugar control and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
3. Grapefruits is high in powerful antioxidants
Grapefruit contains a few different antioxidants that provide various health benefits, including a reduced risk of several diseases. Antioxidants protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body. Here’s an overview of the most important antioxidants in grapefruit:
- Vitamin C. This is a powerful, water-soluble antioxidant that is present in high amounts in grapefruit. It may protect cells from damage that often leads to heart disease and cancer
- Beta-carotene. It’s converted into vitamin A in the body and is thought to help reduce the risk of some chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and eye-related disorders like macular degeneration.
- Lycopene. This is known for its potential ability to prevent the development of certain types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. It may also help slow the growth of tumors and decrease the side effects of common cancer treatments.
- Flavanones. Their anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease.
4. Grapefruits May Support Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Per the Food & Nutrition Research review, grapefruit juice may be good for cholesterol, too. The research found that those who regularly ate the fruit or drank its juice had higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean grapefruit juice causes good cholesterol levels — the study just establishes a link between the two. And remember, grapefruit can interact with medications for high cholesterol. So if you’re taking this type of medicine, steer clear of the fruit despite this potential benefit.
5. Grapefruits May Help Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
It’s possible that drinking grapefruit juice before a meal may help keep your blood sugar levels from spiking. For example, the 2014 PLOS One study found the mice that drank grapefruit juice had lower blood sugar and improved insulin tolerance compared to the mice that drank water.
Similarly, the older Journal of Medicinal Food research found that grapefruit helped reduce insulin levels and improved insulin resistance — however, these results were observed with those who ate fresh grapefruit, not juice. And this study is older, so new research is needed to better establish the relationship between grapefruit juice and blood sugar levels specifically.
9. It’s easy to add to your diet
Grapefruit requires little-to-no preparation, so it’s fairly easy to add to your diet. Even if you live a busy, on-the-go lifestyle, you can still enjoy grapefruit on a regular basis without worrying about it taking up too much of your time. Here are some ways you can enjoy grapefruit:
- Snack on grapefruit slices alone.
- Eat it as an alternative to dessert foods that are less nutritious.
- Try this salad, which combines grapefruit with arugula and pecans.
- Blend it into a smoothie with other fruits and veggies.
- Include it in a breakfast parfait with yogurt and honey.
Tips for Weight Loss
Indeed, this citrusy beverage can be a nutritious addition to a well-rounded diet. But grapefruit juice alone is not the recipe for weight loss.
- Eat enough calories from plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats
- Create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you take in
- Exercise regularly