The Benefits of Grapefruit

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pink grapefruitI go through periods of eating grapefruits consistently and other times not touching one in months. Recently though I decided to start eating them consistently again after remembering how good I had felt when last eating them on a regular basis. Previously I had experienced a few noticeable benefits in terms of blood sugar regulation and fat loss when eating 3-5 grapefruits a week, especially at breakfast and even before bed. With no other changes to my diet or exercise….

Having written about 5 reasons to eat grapefruits in the past I wanted to delve a bit further into this topic and see exactly why grapefruits are so effective as a blood sugar stabilizer. From what I have read it seems to be down to a Flavonoid called Naringin which grapefruits are full of, and gives them their bitter taste. Although it can also be found in other citrus fruits none contain such high levels.

It seems that Naringin works in a couple of ways to help:

  1. Stimulates the Liver
  2. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
  3. Helps to Metabolise Fat

The bitter taste that Naringin provides stimulates the liver to produce fat burning enzymes that would normally only be produced via prolonged fasting (See leangains). Now while fasting is a good approach for some others may not be too keen on the idea, what is for sure though is that the effects of fasting do trigger some kind of express fat loss and improved glucose tolerance.

The liver is the main organ responsible for the regulation of carbohydrate and lipid levels in the blood. Following a meal, the blood is flushed with sugars, which activate LXRα, causing the liver to create fatty acids for long-term storage. During fasting, the process is reversed; fatty acids are released by fat cells, activate PPARα in the liver, and are broken down to ketones. A similar process, involving PPARγ, increases sensitivity to insulin.

I took the above from this study/article….. which to cut down indicates that grapefruits are unique in the way they can activate certain enzymes which help the liver the breakdown fat and control blood sugar via improved insulin sensitivity and even have cholesterol lowering effects. This got me thinking about how effective Grapefruit could be as a potential “diet hack” and while I am not a fan of quick fixes and “cheats” when it comes to health, eating grapefruit along with adding resistant starch to your diet could be two things to implement on a regular basis.

How Much? well I had my best results in terms of actually feeling that blood sugar was more stable when eating 4-5 grapefruits a week and would cut them in half, having one with half with breakfast and another mid afternoon or late evening. This is something I propose readers try for the next few weeks and see if any difference is noticed in terms of:

  • Hunger Regulation
  • Being able to last longer between meals without food
  • Fewer Mood ups and downs throughout the day
  • A Leaner body

While this is by no means a guaranteed way to a better body, I feel that experimenting with grapefruit could lead to some positive effects and it also helps that grapefruits are in season and delicious. Be warned, those taking pharmaceutical medications please beware of eating grapefruit as it has many drug interactions, so this experiment is best partaken by those free of medication or check with your doctor.


Thanks for reading.  Please checkout the e-book ‘A Simple Guide to Eating Well‘.


  1. Robin says

    Mmmmm… a grapefruit sounds so good right now, and after reading this I should definitely go out and get some!

  2. Sarah says

    I always knew they were good for you but I didn’t know the extent of it! Thanks! Grapefruit for breakfast tomorrow!

  3. Stephen says

    Great article, thanks for sharing that.

    btw, you might want to edit – I did a search to find out more about “Narigin”, and apparently, it’s “Naringin”.

    @ Stephan: Thanks for the pointer have now edited the article….

  4. David - Get Fit Get Lean says

    Too bad so many people eat grapefruits only by putting a couple teaspoons on sugar on top of them! I’m gonna try to add a little grapefruit juice along with some coffee to see if it helps burning fat.


  5. Deb says

    Just wanted to emphasize the drug interaction potential of grapefruit. For example, if you take cholesterol lowering meds, they will not work if you eat grapefruit.

  6. Leah says

    Was this the only thing that you ate for breakfast or did you include it with your breakfast as a fruit serving?

    @ Leah: The grapefruit was in addition to my daily food. So it would be something I would have alongside my breakfast….

  7. Diem says

    My blood pressure medication tells me NOT to eat or drink grapefruit/juices. :(

    @ Diem: There is a note at the end of the article as a word of caution to those taking medication. It should be noted that grapefruits can block a number of meds, so those taking any pharmaceuticals should check with your doctor before consuming any significant amount of grapefruit….

  8. Rebecca Congdon says

    Great article! I recently started using a juicer on a regular basis as one step in adding more fresh fruits and veggies to my diet. I’ve been using a grapefruit along with spinach, romaine, lemons and apples to make a “green lemonade” and am excited to hear that grapefruit has so many benefits aside from being a vit C boost.

    Have you read anything about whether there is a limit to how much grapefruit one should have?

  9. Liz says

    I think Grapefruit has such a bad rep because it was “our Moms diet food”! I love grapefruit and even before reading your article had readded it back into my daily routine! Thanks for reinforcing my choice!!

  10. Foskey says

    Does juice have the same effect?

    @ Foskey: I don’t see why not, saying this I would always recommend the real fruit over juice. You will be getting all the fiber and freshness that a juice cannot compete with.

  11. Melissa says

    I love grapefruit. Instead of putting sugar on it I put Truvia sweetner on it. It tastes just like sugar.

  12. stephanie says

    Do you get the same benefits from grapefruit juice? If so how much and how often do you need to drink it?

    @ Stephanie: I am not sure how much juice would be necessary but I guess a glass of fresh juice everyday could help.

  13. Rodney says

    Any other suggestions on how people prepare them? I realize just plain grapefruit is ideal, but as a kid I couldn’t tolerate the bitter taste. Maybe my taste buds have changed over the years.

    I don’t want to add sugar or artificial sweeteners, so aside from “plain”, what other options are there?

    @ Rodney: You could try chopping up an orange and grapefruit and mixing them together then eating. The sweetness of the grapefruit should counter the bitterness of the grapefruit….

  14. Luke M-Davies says

    As a grapefruit lover this has been a great read. I find them so energising to eat.
    I prefer Red graprefruit and think I have red before that they have more health benefits than white ones ??

    It sounds like a weird mix but I like putting whole grapefruit segments in my porridge sometimes – the grapfruit tends to fall apart as it warms…mmmm

    Also – they ar an affordable fruit which is a bonus.

    @ Luke: In porridge sounds a bit weird but it might work, Its funny how we normally steer clear of citrus in porridge opting for berries and bananas. Will definitely try it sometime this week. Also the affordability is a point I never considered but grapefruits, especially this time of year are very very cheap…..

  15. J. Money says

    Haha, this is odd because *all of a sudden* I’ve been craving grapefruits like crazy. I’ve had one a day for 6 days in a row now, and hadn’t had one in like 5 years beforehand :) Love those things. But only with some sugar on top.

    Oh, forgot to mention, my grandfather told me when I was young that it would make you live until you’re 100. Esp if you drank the juice after eating it. I’m going to try and prove him right.

    @ J – Nice comment, lets see what happens if you keep eating that many grapefruits for the next few months!

  16. Sarah says

    Yay grapefruit! I’m happy to say I can enjoy them without sugar this year, since going primal last January. I never imagined I’d be eating it this way – I use to literally douse them in sugar! Good to hear it’s an awesome source of real food. :)


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