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4 surprising side effects of drinking grapefruit juice, say Dietitians

What are the health benefits of grapefruit juice? And are there any potential side effects to drinking it?

There’s something so unbelievably refreshing about freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, especially if you’re enjoying a fun brunch with friends on a hot summer day. Grapefruit juice also makes an amazing mixer for a refreshing cocktail or mocktail at happy hour.

But what are the health benefits of this delicious drink? And are there any potential side effects to drinking it? To learn more, we talked with some expert dietitians about what happens when you drink grapefruit juice.

1. Grapefruit nutrition facts

Grapefruit is a hybrid of the orange and the pummelo that originated in Barbados in the 18th century. Today, you can find this subtropical citrus fruit year-round in most grocery stores. The inside may be white, pink, or ruby. The bright yellow skin can range from relatively thin to thick.

Many people eat halved grapefruit raw and dusted with sugar or honey. But it can also be grilled, broiled, or served as a dessert in various recipes. Grapefruit can be added to salads, salsas, or sliced and used to top fish. Because it is low in calories and a good source of fiber and vitamin C, grapefruit can be a brilliant addition to your diet.

One-half grapefruit measuring approximately 3 3/4″ in diameter (123g) provides 52 calories, 0.9g of protein, 13.2g of carbohydrates, and 0.2g of fat. Grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

Calories: 52
Fat: 0.2g
Sodium: 0mg
Carbohydrates: 13.2g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 8.5g
Protein: 0.9g
Vitamin C: 38.4mg
Vitamin A: 71.3mcg


There are about 13 grams of carbs in a half grapefruit. Most of the carbohydrate comes from naturally occurring sugar (8.5g). There are also 2 grams of fiber in a half grapefruit. The glycemic load of half a grapefruit (without any added sugar or honey) is estimated to be 4.


There is almost no fat in grapefruit. One half of a medium grapefruit has approximately 0.2g of fat.


There is less than one gram of protein in half a grapefruit.

Vitamins and Minerals

Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, providing nearly 64% of your daily needs in a single serving. It’s also an excellent source of beta carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A), providing 28% of your daily needs. Grapefruit provides small amounts of certain minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

4 surprising side effects of drinking grapefruit juice, say Dietitians

2. 4 surprising side effects of drinking grapefruit juice

It will provide plenty of important nutrients

One of the best outcomes of drinking grapefruit juice is that you can get a boost of helpful nutrients.

“Grapefruit juice contains flavones and flavonoids, which are part of a group called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are important to our health because they have antioxidant properties, which means that they protect your cells from oxidative damage which can lead to disease,” says Laura McDermott, MS, RDN, CD, a registered dietitian with RET Physical Therapy Group.

McDermott cautions to not go overboard with this jewel-toned juice. “As with anything though, we are looking to keep grapefruit juice in moderation and we want a variety of foods to provide phytonutrients to ensure diversity in them as well as diversity in vitamins and minerals,” she adds.

It may interact with certain medications

According to McDermott, those on certain medications may want to limit their consumption of grapefruit juice.

“The dark side of grapefruit juice is the potential drug interactions. Grapefruit juice has been known to have drug interactions with more than 85 drugs,” she says.

Experts believe that “grapefruit juice can block an enzyme called CYP3A4 that is in charge of the metabolism of many medications in the small intestine. If this enzyme is not working properly, the drug may be absorbed in larger doses and can stay in the body longer—resulting in more of the medication than desired,” McDermott explains.

It may raise your blood sugar

Drinking fruit juice of any kind can alter your blood sugar levels, so depending on what your blood sugar needs are, this may end up being a positive or negative outcome for you.

“It can raise your blood sugar (depending on quantity), which can be not great for people with diabetes who don’t know they have it and are walking around with chronically high levels. Conversely, for people with low blood sugar levels, drinking half a cup of juice can help normalize their blood sugar. It really just depends on the circumstance,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian and author of Recipe for Survival.

It might boost your immunity

Lastly, drinking grapefruit juice may potentially help boost your immunity, as long as it’s paired with a healthy diet.

“Grapefruit is filled with vitamins A and C, which carry antioxidant features that fight inflammation and infectious diseases,” says Nataly Komova, RD, a registered dietitian and fitness expert at Just CBD. “It also has minerals, including zinc, iron, and copper, that increase immunity and promote the skin’s integrity, thus blocking infections,” she adds.

3. Some health benefits of grapefruit

Promotes eye health

Vitamin A, provided by grapefruit in the precursor form of beta carotene, is necessary for normal vision. Vitamin A may also play a role in managing age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Studies have shown that taking supplements containing vitamin A, vitamin C, and other nutrients can reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD by 25%.

Other experts have investigated dietary sources of crucial nutrients essential for eye health. One published study listed grapefruit and grapefruit juice as key nutritional sources.

May help prevent cancer

Pink grapefruit contains the antioxidant lycopene, which gives it its beautiful pink hue. A 2015 study suggested that a lycopene-rich diet may decrease prostate cancer risk.

Grapefruit provides vitamin C, and the topic of vitamin C and cancer prevention has been hotly debated. Researchers are not sure if vitamin C supplements or consuming more vitamin C foods can provide this benefit.

Supports heart health

Research has shown that eating grapefruit is associated with lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and higher HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels in the blood. It may also help to lower blood pressure in overweight adults.

Researchers who study cardiovascular risk disease factors have investigated grapefruit consumption along with the intake of other fruits like blueberries, pomegranate, and apples.

In a published review, study authors concluded that other fruits were associated with more significant benefits concerning heart health. Still, in general, fruit consumption is likely to help modulate related conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and overweight/obesity.

Supports wound healing

Vitamin C is necessary for wound healing in the body. Animal and human studies have shown that tissue repair and wound repair happen faster with vitamin C supplementation. But researchers are not sure if this benefit applies only to those who are deficient in the vitamin.

Source: Eatthis/Verywellfit!

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