top of page

Why You Shouldn't and Should Eat Grapefruit

pink grapefruit

What is grapefruit?

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit known for its sour, tangy and bitter aftertaste. It is a subtropical citrus tree that belongs to the Rutaceae family and is known as Citrus paradisi.

Grapefruit are round or long in shape and have thick, yellow or orange-pink blush skin, depending on the type. Grapefruit got its name because of how the fruits cluster on the tree. When the tree fruits the clusters resemble grapes. Depending on the variety, the flesh inside can be yellow, pink, or red.

Grapefruit is used for and in:

  • Juices

  • Salads

  • Deserts

  • Eaten alone

Grapefruits are:

  • Rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C

  • A is a good source of dietary fibre

  • Rich in antioxidants

  • Full of minerals such as potassium and magnesium

Grapefruit has potential health benefits:

  • A digestive aid

  • Helpful in promoting weight loss

  • Could contribute to heart health

What are the different types of grapefruit?

There are several different types of grapefruit:

Marsh: Marsh grapefruit is a white-fleshed variety with pale yellow skin. It is known for its large size and sweet flavour.

Oro Blanco: Oro Blanco is a hybrid grapefruit. It results from a cross between a white grapefruit and a pomelo. It has pale yellow or greenish skin with a sweet, mild flavour. Oro Blanco grapefruit is known for its low acidity. It is often considered less bitter than other varieties.

Pink: Pink grapefruit falls between the red and white varieties. It has a pink or reddish flesh with a balance of sweetness and tartness.

Ruby Red: Ruby Red grapefruit is one of the most popular varieties. It has vibrant red or pink flesh and a sweeter, juicy flavour. This variety is known for its high sugar content and is often eaten fresh or used in juices.

Star Ruby: Star Ruby grapefruit is a red-fleshed variety like Ruby Red grapefruit. It has a deep red or pink flesh and a tangy-sweet flavour. This variety is often used in juicing, salads, and garnish.

White: White grapefruit, also known as yellow grapefruit. It has a pale yellow flesh and a tarter more acidic taste than the red varieties.

Is pomelo a grapefruit?

It is generally believed that grapefruit is a crossbreed between a pomelo and an orange. This would make pomelo a parent plant to grapefruit. The question is often asked due to the similarities in taste and appearance.

Pomelos are large citrus fruits with thick rinds and segmented flesh inside. The flesh of the pomelo is usually pale yellow, pink, or white, and it has a sweet-tart flavour. But, pomelos are milder and less sour compared to grapefruit.

How did grapefruit originate?

The exact origin of the grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) is still being determined. It is thought to be a hybrid fruit created by natural cross-pollination. Pollination between the pomelo (Citrus maxima) and the sweet orange (Citrus sinensis).

Pomelos are native to Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. It has a thick rind and a sweet, mild flavour. Omit, sweet oranges are believed to have originated in China.

Grapefruit first appeared in the Caribbean, in Barbados, around the 18th century. Most believe that natural cross-pollination occurred. Pollination happened between pomelo trees. Europeans brought pomelo trees to the Caribbean, and orange trees were already there.

From the Caribbean, grapefruit was introduced to places. For example Florida in the United States, where gained commercial importance. Since then, various grapefruit varieties have been developed through selective breeding and cultivation.

Where do grapefruit grow?

Grapefruits enjoy subtropical and tropical climates. Major producers include the United States (particularly Florida and Texas). As well as Mexico, China, South Africa, and Israel.

When is grapefruit in season?

Most grapefruit varieties and regions have a peak season around the winter months. But, some varieties peak in late fall to early spring.

Northern Hemisphere

Some winter regions are Florida, Texas, Mexico, and Israel. The peak months in these regions are from December to March. This is when you can find various grapefruit types available.

Some varieties peak late fall to early spring. These fruits appear around October or November and continue to April or May.

Southern Hemisphere

There are growing regions in the Southern Hemisphere. The regions include Australia, South Africa, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and New Zealand. The peak time for grapefruit harvest and availability is in the winter. This includes late autumn to early spring, from May to September.

What does grapefruit taste like?

Grapefruit has a distinct sweet, tangy, and bitter flavour. The ratio of these tastes changes depending on the variety and ripeness of the fruit. Pink and red grapefruits are sweeter and have a milder bitterness. White grapefruit is more tart and bitter.

Which grapefruit is sweeter?

Pink and red grapefruit are sweeter than white grapefruit. Pink and red grapefruits have a higher sugar content and a milder level of acidity. The pigments that give pink and red colours, such as lycopene and anthocyanins make these fruit sweeter.

Sweetness can be different depending on the variety. Ruby Red grapefruit, for example, is known for its sweet flavour and is one of the sweeter varieties available. Other sweet pink and red grapefruit varieties include Star Ruby and Flame grapefruit.

How to eat grapefruit

Eating grapefruit is straightforward; it's the same shape as an orange but bigger. Here are some steps to help you enjoy grapefruit:

Choose a ripe grapefruit: Look for grapefruits that feel heavy for their size and have smooth, firm skin. Avoid grapefruits with blemishes, soft spots, or wrinkled skin.

Wash the grapefruit: Rinse the grapefruit under cool water to remove any dirt or residue from the skin.

Cut the grapefruit:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut off a small slice from both ends of the grapefruit to create stable surfaces.

  2. Place the grapefruit on one end and slice the skin from top to bottom, following the fruit's contour.

  3. Remove all the bitter white pith.

  4. Segment or cut the grapefruit: If you prefer eating grapefruit without the membranes, you can segment it. Hold the peeled grapefruit over a bowl, and using a sharp knife, cut alongside each membrane, releasing the segments. Otherwise, cut into desired size pieces.

Sweeten if desired (optional): If you find the grapefruit's natural tanginess too intense, you can sprinkle a small amount of sugar.

cut pink grapefruit

Nutritional profile of grapefruit

The nutritional profile of grapefruit can vary depending on the specific variety and size of the fruit. Here is an approximate breakdown of the nutritional composition of 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of raw, pink or red grapefruit:

Calories: 32

Carbohydrates: 8 grams

Dietary fibre: 1 gram

Sugars: 7 grams

Protein: 1 gram

Fat: 0 grams

Vitamin C: 31.2 milligrams (52% of the daily recommended intake)

Vitamin A: 115 International Units (2% of the daily recommended intake)

Potassium: 135 milligrams

Magnesium: 9 milligrams

Health benefits of grapefruit

What is grapefruit good for? Some key benefits overlap as the different attributes work together to support optimal health. Here is why grapefruit is good for you:

Dietary Fiber Content: Grapefruit contains dietary fibre. Fibre aids digestion, promotes feelings of fullness, and supports healthy cholesterol levels. The fibre in grapefruit may also contribute to healthy weight management.

High in Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that supports the immune system. Vitamin C promotes healthy skin. It is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, aids collagen production, and supports wound healing.

Hydration and Electrolyte Balance: Grapefruit has a high water content, contributing to hydration. Additionally, electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium help maintain proper fluid balance.

Rich in Antioxidants: Grapefruit contains antioxidants, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, and flavonoids. These compounds help reduce oxidative stress in the body. Less stress may help protect against chronic diseases and promote health.

Supports Heart Health: Grapefruit is low in calories and sodium rich in potassium and has some magnesium. Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels and supports proper heart function. The fibre in grapefruit helps to support healthy cholesterol levels. Magnesium assists in several ways. Magnesium helps heart rhythm, controls blood pressure, promotes vasodilation, and supports energy production.

Vitamin A Content: Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, immune function, and cell growth.

Weight management: Grapefruit is low in calorie density and fat. Dietary fibre aids in digestion and helps you feel fuller. This combination can help with weight management and weight loss.

Which grapefruit is the healthiest?

All grapefruit varieties offer potential health benefits. But pink and red grapefruit varieties are often considered the healthiest options. Here's why:

Higher Antioxidant Content: Pink and red grapefruits have a higher antioxidant content. The pigments that give pink and red colours, lycopene, and anthocyanins, add to their antioxidant properties.

Higher Vitamin A Content: Pink and red grapefruits contain more vitamin A than white grapefruits. Vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, immune function, and cell growth.


why you shouldn't eat grapefruit

Grapefruit is good for you, right? It's only good for some. Some people need to be more careful about eating the fruit.

Why you shouldn't eat grapefruit

Grapefruit is generally considered a healthy fruit and can be part of a balanced diet. But, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Interactions with Medications: Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications. Especially those metabolised by the enzyme cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4).

Interactions can affect how the medications are processed in the body. This can lead to increased or decreased drug levels. A change in levels can be harmful or reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

Consult with a healthcare professional or pharmacist if you are taking medications. They can help to determine if there are any potential interactions with grapefruit.

To find out more specifically how grapefruit can be harmful, watch this video by Dr Andrew Steele.

Acidic Nature: Grapefruit is acidic. This can be problematic for individuals with gastrointestinal conditions. Those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or a sensitive stomach should be careful.

The high acidity in grapefruit may cause discomfort, heartburn, or worsen symptoms. If you have any digestive issues, consult with a healthcare professional.

Allergies or Sensitivities: Some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to grapefruit. Allergic reactions to grapefruit are rare. It may cause hives, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.

If you experience any adverse reactions after consuming grapefruit, seek medical attention.

Dental Health: The acidity of grapefruit can contribute to tooth enamel erosion. Quantity can impact erosion especially if consumed in excess or drinking juice. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic fruits to reduce the impact on your teeth.

Is grapefruit good for diabetes?

Yes and no. Here is why:

Benefits of Grapefruit for Diabetes:

Low Glycaemic Index: Grapefruit has a relatively low glycaemic index (GI). This means it doesn't cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels when consumed in moderate amounts.

Fibre Content: Grapefruit is a good source of dietary fibre. Fibre can slow down the absorption of sugar and improve blood sugar control.

Nutrient Content: Grapefruit is rich in nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. These can contribute positively to the health and well-being of people with diabetes.

Potential Concerns with Grapefruit and Diabetes:

Interaction with Medications: Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can affect medications. This includes some commonly prescribed for diabetes. Interactions may affect the metabolism of the medications. Leading to either reduced effectiveness or increased side effects.

Natural Sugars: While grapefruit has a low GI, it still contains natural sugars. This will impact blood sugar levels if consumed in large quantities. Moderation is key.

Personal Tolerance: Each person's response to grapefruit can vary. Some individuals with diabetes may experience adverse reactions to grapefruit. They may notice that it affects their blood sugar levels more than others.

Individuals with diabetes must check with their healthcare provider. A healthcare provider can assess potential drug interactions or adverse effects. Do this before consuming grapefruit or grapefruit products.


There are many positive health benefits to eating grapefruit in moderation. However, there are some reasons why you shouldn't eat grapefruit. Be cautious about your consumption. The occasional grapefruit will be of little concern to most people, but for some of us we need to research and make informed decisions before consuming this fruit.


bottom of page