Although grapefruit is a great source of vitamin C, many diabetics should avoid this fruit because of its well known interactions with many types of medications. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see whether you can safely include grapefruit in your diet. If you are not on any medications, you can eat grapefruit without any problems. Keep in mind that, as with any fruit, too much can raise your blood sugar levels beyond your target range.
The amount of carbohydrates found in a whole small or half of a large grapefruit is similar to the amount of carbohydrates found in a small apple, pear or two kiwifruits. Carbohydrates from fruits, just like the carbohydrates from sugar or flours, can raise your blood sugar levels. With about 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving, fruits such as grapefruit can usually be included in your diabetes meal plan. Monitor your blood sugar levels at regular intervals to ensure that your diet helps you keep them under control. Avoid grapefruit juice, because it doesnt contain any fiber and provides more carbohydrates per serving, with about 24 grams per cup.
Grapefruit has a glycemic index of 25, which makes it a safer carbohydrate option compared to high glycemic index choices like white rice, bread and potatoes. A glycemic index value below 55 is considered low and is best for diabetics. In other words, even if you eat the same amount of carbohydrates by eating either half of a large grapefruit or 1/3 cup of cooked white rice, your blood sugar levels will not increase as much with grapefruit compared to white rice because of their different glycemic index values.
The main problem with grapefruit for people with diabetes is its interaction with many drugs used to control blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels or depression. A special compound found in both raw grapefruit and grapefruit juice affects an enzyme in your gastrointestinal tract, increasing the absorption of many medications, which can lead to dangerous levels of these medications in your blood. Blood cholesterol-lowering medications like statins, anti-depressant drugs like benzodiazepines and anti-hypertensive drugs in the calcium channel blockers category are the most common medications taken by diabetics that grapefruit interferes with.
If you take any medications that can be affected by grapefruit and grapefruit juice, you should also avoid pomelos and their juice because they may also affect absorption of medications negatively. Instead, opt for other citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines and clementines. Small amounts of whole fresh fruits are always best for diabetics compared to their juices. Other fruits, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwifruits and plums, are also good fruit options for diabetics because of their lower carbohydrate content and glycemic index values. References
Aglaee Jacob is a registered dietitian. She has experience working with people who have diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity issues. Jacob obtained a bachelor of science and a master of science, both in nutrition, from Laval University in Quebec City, Canada.
Grapefruit is full of healthy fiber, which can keep you regular and help with digestion. One standard-sized grapefruit has 4 grams of fiber.
The daily recommended amount of fiber for women is between 21-25 grams per day, and men should aim for between 30-38 grams per day.
So one grapefruit can meet nearly 20% of one’s daily fiber goal.
Eating enough fiber can prevent constipation, and may even help prevent gastrointestinal cancers, including colorectal cancer.
What are the health benefits of grapefruit?
Grapefruit, like all citrus fruits, comes with an excellent source of Vitamins C (with nearly an entire day’s worth of Vitamin C in one grapefruit!) and A, Vitamin B6, Potassium, and even Magnesium.
They also include plenty of antioxidants that can help the body’s immune system fight off colds and viruses.
The typical grapefruit has just 100 calories, 25 carbohydrates, and over 4 grams of fiber, making it a filling snack any time of day.
Some studies have shown a correlation between a very high intake of citrus fruits and malignant melanoma.
This particular longitudinal study took place over 26 years and found that people who consumed the highest amounts of citrus juices had a higher incidence of malignant melanoma, although further studies are encouraged to strengthen the link between the two.
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