If you’re into fitness and health, you’ve probably heard of the “grapefruit diet” at some point. The idea of this diet, which most people think originated in the 1930s, is basically that a person cuts down on their sugar and carb intake while eating half a grapefruit (or drinking a glass of grapefruit juice) with every meal. The idea usually pitched with the diet is that grapefruit has amazing “fat burning” qualities, and will help the weight slide right off.
Skeptical? You should be. While it tastes delicious, grapefruit does not have magical qualities. No food does.
Even though this tart fruit holds no unicorn-like qualities, there is actual science behind those amazing claims. A few years ago, a study out of UC Berkeley took a group of mice and put them on a high-fat diet. Half the mice were given a solution made up of 50 percent grapefruit juice during the day, and half the mice were given a placebo solution. After 100 days, researchers found that the mice given the grapefruit solution not only gained less weight, but had a “13-17 percent reduction in blood glucose levels and 3x lower insulin levels. ”
While no one could quite figure out how grapefruit kept the weight off, they theorized that a common flavanoid found in fruit — naringin — was probably behind its blood-sugar lowering effects.
As with all tests done on non-humans, it’s hard to glean exactly how helpful grapefruit is to weight loss and insulin reduction in people. Could it help you lose a bit of weight and keep your blood sugar down? Possibly, but how much would you have to eat for this to actually happen?
In conclusion, will grapefruit solve all of your weight loss needs? Probably not. But will it help you on your healthy weight loss journey? Yes! Because of grapefruit’s relatively low sugar content and high amount of fiber (not to mention vitamins C and A), it’s a great fruit to have on hand, especially if you’re looking for foods to help keep you energized and full during the day.
Those on medications take heed: Grapefruit may interact with certain drugs, so it’s always best to consult with your doctor before filling your grocery cart.
Smoothies With Grapefruit
Looking to dive right in? Here are a few of our grapefruit-inspired smoothies.
Apple Maple Grapefruit
It may initially seem jarring to combine tart grapefruit with cool mint, but these opposites actually create a lively flavor profile! Plus, grapefruit is a low calorie, fiber-rich food, which means that it’s great for weight loss, and mint is a known digestive aid. Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is known for its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties, and maple syrup is a natural sweetener (and energy source) that’s full of calcium and iron. Sweet, tart and satiating, this smoothie is sure to be the newest flavor combination you never knew you loved.
Get-Up-And-Go Green Grapefruit
Vitamin C is a great immune-booster, but it’s also an important element to energy synthesis throughout the body -- which basically means that it helps our bodies convert food into energy. Luckily, this smoothie is full of vitamin C (grapefruit, pineapple and kale). It’s also full of protein, thanks to a scoop of easy-to-digest pea protein, which is essential for prolonged vitality. Because unsaturated fat is the most energy dense of all the macronutrients, the healthy fat in half an avocado and walnuts is also essential to feeling both mentally and physically alert. If you have a long day ahead of you, but still want to fall peacefully asleep at night, try this low sugar, low carb option.
Low in calories but full of vitamins A and C, grapefruit keeps things tart and flavorful without adding too much sugar. An ancient food that has been showing up in writings for centuries, pomegranate is full of antioxidants, and may even help with blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. Almonds even out the tartness of this smoothie by adding creaminess, protein and hearty-healthy fats, along with half an avocado, while a cup of coconut water adds a touch of tropical flavor. Stimulate every taste bud with this dynamic and healthy snack!
Another tangy pick-me-up full of fiber and flavor! Baby kale is sweeter and subtler than “adult” kale but still contains all the anti-inflammatory, immune-strengthening benefits of the cruciferous vegetable family. Juicy grapefruit also helps the immune system, boosts the metabolism, and can help fight stress. Superfruit pomegranate’s antioxidant benefits are concentrated in this tart and powerful powder. Blend it all together with hydrating, potassium-packed coconut water.
Tropical Grapefruit Mint
This ain’t your grandma’s grapefruit diet! It’s a fresh and tart citrus delight full of vitamin C. Heart-healthy, fiber-filled grapefruit blends with sweet pineapple, refreshing mint, and superfood acai berry to bring you back to your last tropical vacation. Walnuts tone it back down and make this smoothie creamy and irresistible. Pro tip: Be sure to remove all the bitter pith (the white part around the grapefruit).
Minty Grapefruit with Lime
For all their sweetness, grapefruits are quite low in calories. They’re another high vitamin C food, and also have good doses of vitamin A and beta carotene. Maqui powder, made from a ground up fruit native to Chile and Argentina, has more antioxidant power than almost any other food. Give yourself even more vitamin C with a half a lime, nourishing potassium from banana, and the breezy, stomach-easing power of fresh mint, and you’ve got a breakfast smoothie that will make your skin and energy as bright as the leaves that are just beginning to fall.