Does Grapefruit Burn Fat?

Grapefruit juice has the ability to burn fat, belly fat included. Grapefruit contains a fat-burning flavonoid. Unfortunately, the fact that grapefruit juice can burn fat does not necessarily mean that drinking it will help you lose weight.

Fat-Burning Proof

Erin Mulvihill, a researcher at the University of Western Ontario, headed a study that discovered a fat-burning flavonoid in grapefruit. Mice fattened up on a diet of sugar and lard lost weight without changing their eating habits when researchers added the flavonoid to the rodents' diets. The study, published in the October 2009 issue of "Diabetes," provides hope to human dieters. But don't expect to duplicate the animals' success.

Using grapefruit as a weight-loss tool is by no means a new idea. So called “grapefruit diets” have been popular since the 1970s and still are. These diets mandate that the participants replace a lot of what they eat with grapefruits and grapefruit juice.

By doing this, dieters are told, they will drop a lot of pounds in a short period of time. However, the popularity of these trends has left a lot of people confused about the way that consuming grapefruit helpspeople shed weight. Does grapefruit burn fat or is there another explanation?

The truth of the matter is that most of the fad “grapefruit diets” actually just cut out a lot of calories by replacing big meals with small fruits. You lose weight when you consume fewer calories than you burn, so it makes sense that people who do this get lighter. But it’s more of a crash diet, and that means that long term, eating a diet of mostly grapefruit is no way to live a healthy life.

Eating too few calories can be just as unhealthy as eating too many. Despite this, there is a way that grapefruits can be part of a diet. There really is scientific evidence that eating grapefruit (but not only grapefruit) can aid in the loss of fat.

How does grapefruit burn fat? In a really simple way, the fiber and high water content of grapefruits help people feel full and satisfied for a longer period of time than a lot of other foods. This is true of many fruits.

Calories and Recommendations

If you want to flatten your belly, adding exercise to your regimen and reducing calories promises better results than drinking grapefruit. Murray Huff, another researcher from the grapefruit flavonoid study, told "The Toronto Star" that humans -- as opposed to mice -- would need to drink between six and eight cups of grapefruit juice every day in order to actually get enough of the flavonoid to lose weight. One cup of grapefruit juice contains 96 calories. Eight cups would add up to 768 calories. The USDA recommends reducing your daily calories by 500 to lose 1 lb. per week.

Weight Gain

No proof exists that grapefruit's flavonoid can burn off more than 768 calories per day. You could gain 1 lb. every day by adding 768 calories to your diet, based on the formula that 3,500 calories equals 1 lb. of fat. If you drank eight cups of grapefruit every day for a year -- and the power of the grapefruit flavonoid failed to kick in -- you could end up 70 lbs. heavier than when you started your personal grapefruit experiment.


The vitamin C in grapefruit may also possess some belly-fat-burning properties, according to a study led by D.F. Garcia-Diaz at the University of Navarra in Spain. Mice in the study ate a high-calorie, fat-filled diet but did not gain weight when their diets also included high amounts of vitamin C, according to a report published in April 2010 in the "Journal of Molecular Endocrinology." If you take any medications, consult a doctor before adding grapefruit to your eating plan. Grapefruit can cause serious, sometimes fatal side effects when combined with many drugs, including birth control pills.

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