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Grapefruit And Weight Loss: Is the Grapefruit Diet For Real?
Beth M. Ley, Ph.D.

I have associated grapefruit with weight loss since the first time I ever tried to lose weight: High school. I brought home a book from the library on The Scarsdale Diet. I don't remember a lot of the details of the diet other than I was basically eating grapefruit, yogurt and dry toast.

So over 30 years later, grapefruit is STILL my weight loss "go-to" food. Back in the early 1980's, I doubt the science was available to show WHY that certain low-calorie fruit was so great for weight loss.

But science has been proving it's merits for some time now. In a study by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic, researchers have confirmed that the simple act of adding grapefruit and grapefruit juice to one's diet can result in weight loss. The grapefruit diet is not a myth!

Grapefruit is high in fiber content and has a low glycemic index. Selecting whole foods that help curb appetite and prevent overeating is one of the primary goals for those wanting to shed some extra pounds. Research shows that we can actually eat larger quantities of food if they are high in fiber and water content. The foods that fit these criteria include fruit, vegetables, legumes and some soups. Carbohydrates should have low glycemic index (low impact on blood sugar). Oranges and grapefruit rank #1 and #2 in fiber out of the top 20 most-consumed fruits and vegetables. Studies provide evidence that these types of fruits and vegetables promote a feeling of fullness, stable blood sugar levels and better appetite control.

"In a 12-week pilot study, led by Dr. Ken Fujioka, doctors monitored weight and metabolic factors, such as insulin secretion, of the 100 men and women who participated in the Scripps Clinic 'Grapefruit Diet' study. On average, participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. However, many patients in the study lost more than 10 pounds." (Gorinstein S. et al. Red grapefruit positively influences serum triglyceride level in patients suffering from coronary atherosclerosis: studies in vitro and in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Mar 8; 54 (5): 1887-92).

Researchers are starting to uncover the science behind this great fruit. First of all, grapefruit contains the antioxidant naringenin, which triggers the liver to break down fat.

Naringenin activates two kinds of PPARs and blocks LXR-alpha -- resulting in fasting-type benefits. This means the liver behaves as if you were fasting, breaking down fatty acids instead of carbohydrates! Sadly, pasteurized grapefruit juice does not offer the same benefits.

Another bioactive component in grapefruit is limonoids, proven helpful to lower cholesterol, triglyerides AND inhibit the development of cancer! Grapefruit also contains lycopene, a carotenoid that has been associated with reduced risk of prostate and other cancers.

Overweight and high cholesterol too often go hand in hand. With heart disease the number one killer of women in the United States, all this information on grapefruit is more great news.

Just in case you think you will get tired of eating your daily grapefruit halves... Here are links to a couple of recipes to liven things up a bit.

Grapefruit Salad

Grapefruit Romaine and Red Onion Salad