Does grapefruit juice help burn fat cells?

Written by audrey lynn
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Does grapefruit juice help burn fat cells?
Grapefruit juice can help boost weight loss. (Ligia Botero/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

While grapefruit juice is a good source of vitamins and fibre and may help weight loss slightly, neither grapefruit nor any other food burns fat cells. Burning fat means that the body has drawn on fat within its storage cells to meet daily energy demands. If the day's food consumption provides enough energy, no fat is withdrawn. Reduce food intake and increase activity and the body will be forced to use stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.


The reason grapefruit juice helps boost weight loss is not clear. A study by the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, found that test subjects who ate half a grapefruit before each meal lost more weight during the 12-week clinical trial than subjects who did not consume grapefruit in any form. Grapefruit juice was marginally less effective than fresh fruit. One theory is that drinking a glass of grapefruit juice before a meal replaces higher calorie foods, contributing to a feeling of fullness that resulted in fewer calories consumed.


The slight boost in weight loss, while valuable to anyone struggling to lose weight, is not the only reason adding grapefruit juice to a weight-loss diet is a good idea. Grapefruit contains powerful antioxidants and is rich in potassium and vitamins C and A. Most grapefruit juice is sweetened, which raises the calorie count, so be sure to read the label and factor in the added calories. Grapefruit is naturally free of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, though juices may contain small amounts of sodium and less fibre than raw fruit.


Nutrients in grapefruit juice like carotenids and lycopene help fight disease and protect cells. Grapefruit juice combats damaging free radicals in the body and may help bolster the immune system, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and lower cholesterol. Grapefruit may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and effectively aid in treating others. According to dietitian Joann Larsen, vitamin C increases calcium absorption, so taking a calcium supplement with grapefruit juice makes more of the mineral available to the body.


One serving of grapefruit juice equals 227g(8oz). In the Scripps Clinic study, participants assigned to drink grapefruit juice drank one serving three times a day before each meal. No current studies reveal whether drinking more or less juice daily is beneficial to weight loss. Raw, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice is better than commercially processed, sweetened juice because the fruit's nutrients remain intact, the juice contains no added sugar or salt and the pulp can be included. But raw grapefruit juice is somewhat bitter and may be less enjoyable to drink.


A diet that relies heavily on grapefruit juice instead of using it as only one part of a healthy weight-loss diet may be dangerous. Consult a doctor before following any diet plan. Grapefruit juice may react badly with several medications including statins, antidepressants, blood pressure drugs and HIV medications. Check with a physician and pharmacist to make sure consuming grapefruit products is safe.

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