There are many so-called “weight loss drinks” that don’t actually help. What about grapefruit juice, is it good for weight loss?
Grapefruit is a citrus fruit known for its distinctive sour/sweet/bitter taste. This fruit is mostly consumed on its own, as a snack or dessert, or as grapefruit juice.
Most juices are not great for weight loss but grapefruit juice may be a good fit for your weight loss diet depending on what alternatives you compare it with. In any case there are many foods and drinks that are more useful for weight loss than grapefruit juice.
If you decide to implement grapefruit juice into your daily life make sure you choose the ones that don’t have added sugar and other sweeteners.
Find out what nutrition values you can expect from grapefruit juice, some alternative weight loss drinks, if you do decide to drink more grapefruit juice when to do it for better weight loss results, and exactly how it compares to regular, raw grapefruit.
How is grapefruit juice made?
The way grapefruit juice is made is relatively simple. The process starts with the whole fruit, the grapefruit.
You then press out the juice of the grapefruit with a juicer machine. You then strain out the pulp, if you leave it in you would classify it more as a smoothie. Finally, some grapefruit juice brands and recipes add ginger, mint, salt, sugar, other sweeteners, carrots, apple, and many more ingredients.
These different methods make it so the nutrition in grapefruit juices can be different. This in turn makes it so they have different effects on weight loss.
In this article, the nutrition info of a kind of unsweetened grapefruit juice will be used (1). If you buy or prepare grapefruit juice at home you want to avoid the ones with a lot of added sugar and other sweeteners. Possibly also the ones with a lot of salt if your diet is already rich in sodium.
Micronutrients in grapefruit juice
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in grapefruit juice.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of this example of grapefruit juice provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin C: 63% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin A: 9% of the DV
- Potassium: 5% of the DV
- Thiamin: 3% of the DV
- Magnesium: 3% of the DV
And a few vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts. These amounts will also vary depending on how the grapefruit juice brand extracts the juice.
The numbers from the example above are not impressive values per 100 grams compared to many other foods. The thing is that 100 grams of a fluid is easily consumed. One glass of grapefruit juice would already be around 200 grams.
Even with that in mind grapefruit juice is not a great way to consume more vitamins and minerals. There are many other foods that can provide you with a lot more vitamins and minerals.
Grapefruit juice does contain antioxidants, substances that can help your body deal with oxidative stress. It’s not clear if and if they do, to what extent, these substances can help you lose weight.
Fiber in grapefruit juice for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
This example of grapefruit juice contains around 0 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
This is one of the big disadvantages when it comes to juicing fruits in a weight loss context.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
If you struggle a lot with hunger and cravings you likely benefit more from regular grapefruit which contains about 1.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams (2).
Will grapefruit juice help you lose weight?
Before knowing whether or not grapefruit juice deserves a spot in your weight loss diet you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in grapefruit juice.
This example of grapefruit juice contains 42 calories per 100 grams. 26 of these calories come from carbohydrates (10.7 g per 100 grams of which 0 g fiber).
Even regular raw grapefruit is not very suited for low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet. This is even more the case for grapefruit juice.
Besides that, this example of grapefruit juice is on the low side in calories per 100 grams. The problem is that grapefruit juice is a liquid.
Solid food will leave you feeling full a lot longer. Partly because liquid is easier to process, partly because solid whole foods often contain more fiber. Try eating 100 grams of potatoes vs drinking half a glass of grapefruit juice or any other liquid.
This makes grapefruit juice less filling compared to the number of calories it contains. The extra small amounts of micronutrients are nice. However, they are not necessarily enough to make drinking those calories a good thing for your weight loss and health.
The particular example of grapefruit juice used may still be a good weight loss option depending on what other foods you compare it with. Like with most foods, you can have some grapefruit juice and still lose weight.
Make sure to check the nutrition label of the grapefruit juice you have in mind before implementing a lot in your diet.
Also keep in mind that grapefruit and grapefruit juice interfere with a wide variety of medications (3). If you take any medications it may be smart to consult a healthcare professional before adding grapefruit products to your diet.
Can grapefruit juice reduce belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To lose belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since grapefruit juice can help you lose weight in general, depending on your current habits, this drink can also help you lose belly fat once your body wants to lose fat in your abdominal area. That being said, there is a wide variety of foods that are more helpful than grapefruit juice.
Drink these things instead
While it’s probably better to drink grapefruit juice compared to most soft drinks and fruit juices, you may want to stay away from it if you’re looking to lose some weight. It’s generally better to consume these calories in solid food that will satisfy your hunger for longer and provide you with more nutrients.
When should you drink grapefruit juice for weight loss?
If you do decide to drink grapefruit juice, the time you drink it may influence your weight loss.
The calories in grapefruit juice are mainly from carbohydrates. Carbohydrates raise insulin. Insulin in turn can mess with the production of sleep hormones. Sleep is important for your weight loss and health.
That’s why you preferably want to drink grapefruit juice earlier in the day or at least not right before bed.
Grapefruit juice won’t be that fattening at night that it means the end of your weight loss journey but you preferably want to stop drinking it a while before bedtime.
How much grapefruit juice should you drink?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Consuming enough vitamins and minerals is important for both your short and long-term health and weight loss. Grapefruit juice doesn’t provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals so you definitely need other nutritious foods as well.
If you are close to consuming enough vitamins and minerals you can see how much grapefruit juice still fits within your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.
Grapefruit juice vs whole grapefruit for weight loss
Juicing vegetables and fruits is often not as good for weight loss as just eating them whole but how big are the actual differences in nutrients?
When it comes to calories whole grapefruit contains about 42 calories per 100 grams (2). This is actually a slightly higher number of calories than 100 grams of the example grapefruit juice.
However, regular grapefruit contains about 1.6 grams of fiber vs the 0 grams in grapefruit juice. Regular grapefruit may also contain slightly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, regular grapefruit is generally better than grapefruit juice when trying to lose weight and getting healthier.