Grapefruit and Weight Loss: The Grapefruit Diet is Alive and Well!


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I don't know about you, but every winter, I binge on grapefruit! It turns out, that my cravings make sense, and are part of my winter weight loss efforts.
A study by the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic 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!

With its high fiber content and low glycemic load, grapefruit may be a secret weight-loss weapon. Research suggests that dieters might be more successful if they select foods with staying power, like whole citrus, that help curb appetite and prevent overeating rather than employing some of the current fad diets. It has been shown that a person can actually eat large quantities of food without consuming too many calories by choosing foods high in fiber and water content. Such foods include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and some soups. For example, oranges and grapefruit rank #1 and #2 in fiber out of the top 20 most consumed fruits and vegetables. Studies provide evidence that they provide a greater feeling of fullness and keep blood sugar levels more constant resulting in better appetite control.

Current dieting studies suggest that dieters should focus on eating carbohydrates that have a low impact on blood sugar. This has led to the concept of Glycemic Load (GL), a ranking of food based on its carbohydrate content and its impact on blood sugar level. A GL below 10 is considered low. The GL for a half grapefruit is 6.

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.

"For years people have talked about the grapefruit diet, and some even swear by it, but now, we have data that grapefruit helps weight loss," said Dr. Fujioka, principal researcher at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic. "Our study participants maintained their daily eating habits and slightly enhanced their exercise routine; the only dietary change was the intake of Florida grapefruit and grapefruit juice."

Warning About Grapefruit Interactions

Some prescription medications interact with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. Most do not, however, and there is no evidence that thyroid medicines interact with grapefruit. But to be sure you understand any possible interactions with medications you take, read the Graedon's Guide to Grapefruit Interactions (Adobe PDF file), or Grapefruit Drug Interactions website.

Additionally, the research indicates a physiological link between grapefruit and insulin, as it relates to weight management. The researchers speculate that the chemical properties of grapefruit reduce insulin levels and encourage weight loss.
The importance of this link lies with the hormone's weight management function. While not its primary function, insulin assists with the regulation of fat metabolism. Therefore, the smaller the insulin spike after a meal, the more efficiently the body processes food for use as energy and the less it's stored as fat in the body. Grapefruit may possess unique chemical properties that reduce insulin levels which promote weight loss.
Obesity continues to plague the American public and the health system. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of U.S. adults are considered overweight or obese. Overweight or obese people stand a greater likelihood of developing life-altering and/or life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, arthritis, liver problems, and many others.

"Our study shows grapefruit can play a vital role in overall health and wellness, and in battling America's ever-growing obesity epidemic," stated Dr. Fujioka. "Whether it's the properties of grapefruit or its ability to satiate appetites, grapefruit appeared to help with weight loss and decreased insulin levels leading to better health. It's good the 'Grapefruit Diet' never lost its popularity among the public."
The study linking grapefruit and grapefruit juice consumption to weight loss continues to broaden the health benefits associated with this citrus product.

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