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Can Grapefruit Help You Lose Weight?

By Sandi Busch

It began with the grapefruit diet in 1950, and stories still abound about grapefruit's potential to help you lose weight. While research to date doesn’t support any unique ability to speed up fat loss, grapefruit has loads of characteristics that support your weight-loss goals. It’s low in calories, fat free and high in fiber, which is filling and makes it easier to eat less.

Low Calories for Weight Loss

When you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t get around setting daily calorie goals and making sure you consume fewer calories than you use through increased activity. One good diet tool is finding foods with so few calories that you can eat enough to feel full without overindulging. You may hear this referred to as low energy density. Energy density is the number of calories in a particular amount of food. Low energy density means low calories in a larger portion of food. Grapefruit is a low-energy-dense choice. One-half of a white grapefruit has 39 calories, while the same portion of pink or red grapefruit has 52 calories.

Fiber Helps You Feel Full

Fiber has a “volumetric” effect in your stomach, according to an article in the June 2012 issue of “Current Obesity Reports.” In other words, fiber makes you feel full. It also slows down the movement of food out of your stomach, which means you’ll feel full for a longer time. Nearly 68 percent of the fiber in grapefruit is the soluble type. It has a role in satiety because it delays the release of hormones that make you feel hungry. You’ll get 1.3 grams of fiber from half of a white grapefruit and 2 grams from red or pink grapefruit.

Low-Glycemic Carbs for Energy

Eating fewer calories may lead to a drop in blood sugar, and low blood sugar causes hunger. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep blood sugar balanced by eating at regular intervals and consuming foods with complex carbs, such as grapefruit, because they provide sugar without causing a large spike in blood sugar. Half a grapefruit has 10 to 13 grams of carbohydrates, with 9 grams consisting of sugar. Since grapefruit has a low glycemic index score of 25, indicating it doesn't spike blood sugar, you can gain the energy from grapefruit's carbs while maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

Vitamin C May Burn Fat

Like other citrus fruits, grapefruit is a rich source of vitamin C. White, pink and red varieties all have about the same amount: 38 grams in half a grapefruit. Your body needs vitamin C to synthesize carnitine, essential for metabolizing fat into energy. A study published in the July 2007 issue of “The Journal of Nutrition" reported that higher levels of of vitamin C in blood plasma are associated with a lower amount of body fat and a smaller waist. But more research is necessary to verify vitamin C’s potential role in weight loss.

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