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Grapefruit Oil and Weight Loss

By Jill Corleone ; Updated July 18, 2017

Grapefruit is a low-calorie fruit that makes a healthy addition to any weight-loss diet. Eating the fruit not only fills you up, but smelling the oil from the grapefruit may also help decrease your appetite. However, research is preliminary, and you should not count on the oil as the only change you make when trying to lose weight. Consult your doctor to discuss effective methods of losing weight.

What Is Grapefruit Oil?

Grapefruit oil comes from the juice or peel of the grapefruit. It's composed of a number of compounds, including carotenoids, lipids, waxes and limonene. Typically used as a flavor enhancer in food, it is considered safe to eat. Grapefruit oil is also used as aromatherapy and enjoyed for its crisp, sweet scent.

Helped Rats Lose Weight

A study published in Neuroscience Letters in 2005 investigated the effects of the scent of grapefruit oil on fat and intake in rats. The study found that smelling grapefruit oil helped decrease appetite and increase weight and fat loss. The researchers determined that the limonene in grapefruit is the chemical responsible for the effects. While this study seems to indicate that simply smelling grapefruit oil can help you lose unwanted pounds, the research is limited, and human studies need to be conducted before claims can be made.

Diet for Weight Loss

If your goal is to lose weight, making your home smell like grapefruit may not hurt, but it may not be that effective if you don't also decrease your calorie intake. Finding ways to cut back 250 calories a day can help you lose 1/2 pound a week. For example, you can save 120 calories at breakfast by switching out your cup of juice for a cup of water with a drop of grapefruit oil. At lunch, use balsamic vinegar on your salad instead of regular salad dressing and save 45 calories per tablespoon. At dinner, instead of a cup of ice cream, satisfy your sweet tooth with a cup of fresh strawberries, and save more than 200 calories.

Use and Safety

While grapefruit oil is edible, it may not be safe for everyone. Grapefruit interacts with a number of medications, including some cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering medications. Consult your doctor or pharmacist before adding grapefruit oil to your diet if you're taking any medication.

Based on the research, you may get more of the benefits using the oil as aromatherapy. While a diffuser might work best, you may also be able to place a drop or two in a cup of hot water to help disperse the scent throughout a room.

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