As the obesity epidemic with its grave consequences (diseases and economic burden) continues to spread (Finkelstein et al., 2008), newer methods for weight management are continually being suggested and researched (Silver, Dietrich, & Niswender, 2011). Reduction of appetite, manipulation of macronutrient content, increase in metabolic rate and lipolysis (fat burning) with the use of food health supplement is one such strategy.
Although the grapefruit diet and grapefruit powder has recently made its resurgence, it has always enjoyed popularity since the 1930s (Zelman, 2004)! In that sense, it has managed to outlast every other “fad diet” that has been fed to us humans.
Grapefruit powder – derived from grapefruit (as the name suggests) – helps you lose lards of fat, or so they say. Apparently, grapefruit does this on account of its high content of fat-burning enzymes. Those who recommend grapefruit for weight reduction suggest its consumption prior to a meal.
According to a study published in 2011, the authors demonstrated that preloading (consumption before meals) with grapefruit or grapefruit juice reduced calorie density and total energy intakes of in obese individuals (Silver et al., 2011). Although, improvements in body composition and reduction in body weights was observed, these changes were not found to be statistically significant.
Another similar study that involved “preloading” with grapefruit concluded that;
half of a fresh grapefruit eaten before meals was associated with significant weight loss
Source: Fujioka, Greenway, Sheard, & Ying, 2006.
Phytochemicals like narginin and narginenin contained in grapefruits have been suggested as the likely candidates that cause fat loss; these are believed to stimulate metabolism.
Critics of the above studies, however, are of the opinion that the appetite suppression associated with “preloading” may be due to consumption of the grapefruit juice before a meal – giving a sensation of “fullness” and therefore less consumption of food during the meal – rather than anything else.
In a study published in 2011, Silver et al. demonstrated that calorific restriction combined with either grapefruit or grapefruit juice preloading led to a significant improvement in lipid profile of the study participants (Silver et al., 2011).
Similar results were achieved by another group of scientists who concluded that grapefruit and grapefruit products may be beneficial in causing weight reducing as well in metabolic diseases (Fujioka et al., 2006). Although the underlying mechanism was not suggested, the authors of this study demonstrated that grapefruit products may significantly reduce post-prandial (post-meal) insulin levels for almost 2 hours.
The above health benefits of regular consumption of grapefruit and grapefruit products may be quite helpful in diabetes mellitus and heart disease.
Here’s the classic grapefruit diet (Zelman, 2004) in a nutshell:
In a nutshell, although grapefruit and grapefruit products do seem to enjoy anecdotal evidence, there doesn’t seem to be enough scientific evidence; very few studies have been conducted to deal with the subject. Having said that, regular grapefruit consumption does seem to afford other health benefits.
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