Is Grapefruit Safe for People with Diabetes?

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Damanjit Duggal, MD, MBBS September 28, 2022

Last updated on October 6th, 2022

Grapefruit is one of the healthiest citrus fruits for diabetes patients. In addition to controlling sugar levels in the body, it also provides many health benefits. It is a low-carb fruit with abundant water and fiber content that improves the functionality of different organs. Let’s learn more about this large citrus and healthy fruit.

What is Grapefruit?

Grapefruit, botanical name Citrus x Paradisi, is a large citrus fruit that is a hybrid variety of sweet orange (C. Sinensis) and Pomelo (C. Maxima). It originated in America and made its way to Asia in the 17th century.
Grapefruit varies in taste from sour to slightly sweet to bitter. Grapefruits grow on the trees as they are larger than grapes.
China now produces the majority of grapefruit, accounting for more than half of global production. Other countries that contribute to the production are the United States, Mexico, and Vietnam. This tasty fruit is available in winter.

Grapefruit and Diabetes

Now let’s answer the question: Is grapefruit good for diabetic people? Yes, grapefruit is good for diabetes patients. Diabetes and grapefruit have a positive relationship. It has a low glycemic profile and contains dietary fiber. Both factors reduce the chances of blood sugar spikes, so it is good for diabetic patients. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the carbs present in grapefruit are balanced by its fiber content, causing no significant blood glucose fluctuation. Grapefruit may control your sugar levels by reducing insulin resistance and can prevent the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Its water content also helps manage sugar levels in the body. Grapefruit is incredibly high in antioxidants that help reduce the risks of diabetes and diabetes-related health complications.

Grapefruit slows digestion, thus keeping a person feeling full for a longer time. It also curbs the munching desire and controls weight gain, which is one of the biggest reasons for type 2 diabetes. It blocks the chances of obesity by reducing unnecessary and untimely hunger.

Moreover, a 2006 research study conducted by the National Institute of Health revealed that grapefruit consumption improved insulin resistance in diabetes patients who participated in the study. Grapefruit also has a compound called naringin, which can help improve glucose tolerance, especially in those with type 2 diabetes. This low-carb and high-fiber fruit is important as it keeps a check on blood sugar, making it a good food for diabetes patients. So, grapefruit is regarded as a healthy fruit for diabetes.

Some studies have shown that people who eat grapefruit have lower chances of insulin resistance and have controlled sugar levels in the body.

Diabetes is a result of insulin resistance, where the body stops responding to the insulin. It causes high blood sugar levels in the body. Insulin resistance is the major reason for type 2 diabetes, and it leads to type 2 diabetes.

Also Read: Is Coconut Milk Good For Diabetes?

Nutritional Value of Grapefruit

Ways to Eat Grapefruit

Grapefruit, a superfood, is full of nutrients with multiple health benefits. It is high in water, fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin C, which are responsible for its benefits. It is good for heart health, blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, immunity, kidneys, and skin. According to the latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture, grapefruit calories per medium-sized are 42, which makes it a low-carb and low-calorie fruit.

This table represents several nutrients and their amounts present in 100 g of grapefruit:

Nutritional Value of Grapefruit
Nutrients Its amount
Water 88.06 g
Energy 42 kcal
Fat 0.14 grams
Sodium 0 mg
Carbohydrates 10.66 grams
Fiber 1.6 grams
Sugars 6.8 grams
Protein 0.77 grams
Vitamin C 31.2 mg
Vitamin A 58.3 µg
Calcium 22 mg
Iron 0.08 mg

This vitamin and mineral-packed fruit is a treasure of nutrition with an abundance of health benefits.

Glycemic Index of Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a superfood for diabetes patients because of its low glycemic index. According to Signos Health, the glycemic index of grapefruit is 26. This makes it a low-glycemic fruit. Moreover, the glycemic load of grapefruit also falls under the low GL category. Grapefruit has a glycemic load of just 4. Other than being a low GI fruit, it is also high in water, fiber, and antioxidant content with low carbohydrates. This is considered the best fruit for diabetic people, with minimal side effects.

Also Read: Dragon Fruit For Diabetes Patients.

Main Health Benefits of Grapefruit

As discussed above, grapefruit is a low-carb, low-GI food with high-fiber, high-water fruit full of vitamins and nutrients. Its nutritional profile aids in many health benefits. Grapefruit benefits include:

Good for Heart Health

Heart disease is an associated complication of type 2 diabetes. Increased blood sugar levels adversely affect heart health. Including grapefruit in the diet can have multiple positive effects on heart functioning. This citrus fruit contains fiber, vitamin C, choline, lycopene, potassium, and other antioxidants. These compounds help reduce blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. Additionally, according to the American Heart Association, grapefruit naturally contains phytochemicals that help in fighting off strokes and other heart ailments. Potassium improves blood pressure and strengthens heart health. Grapefruit also helps reduce bad cholesterol levels in LDL, which keeps a smooth blood flow and allows the heart to function well.

Good for Diabetes

As mentioned above, this is a superfood to add to a diabetic-friendly diet. According to the study published by the NIH, eating grapefruit for diabetes patients helps in decreasing insulin resistance. It’s low in glycemic index and carbohydrates and high in fiber, water, and nutrients. These properties make grapefruit a suitable fruit for people with diabetes. It reduces blood sugar spikes and reduces the risks of type 2 diabetes. This citrus magic also helps in reducing insulin resistance and hence works as a sugar-controlling compound.

Weight Management

This fruit is high in fiber, which flowers the digestion and absorption of glucose in the body. Its high-fiber content increases satiety and keeps a person feeling fuller for a long time. According to research published by the National Library of Medicine, grapefruit greatly helps in the process of weight loss. It does so by making you feel fuller for longer intervals as it contains dietary fiber. It also mitigates the chances of unnecessary munching, thus controlling weight. It can be a good diet food for people who aspire to lose weight as its water content reduces calorie intake.

Boosts Immunity

Your immunity is the power of your body to fight against various infections, inflammations, and diseases. Having grapefruit as your food increases and boosts your immunity. It contains Vitamin C, a wonderful antioxidant that improves your immunity and prevents you from various viral and bacterial infections, the common cold or flu, etc. According to the Florida Department of Citrus regular consumption of grapefruit enhances your immune system.

It is full of multiple vitamins and minerals other than Vitamin C that collectively work to boost your immunity. Vitamin A fights off inflammation and infections. Other healthy nutrients are copper, zinc, and Vitamin B, which help to improve the immune system and keep you ready against infections.

Also Read: Are Peanuts Good For Diabetics?

Reduces Kidney Stone

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit with citric acid. Citric acid flushes out the excess calcium formed in the body, which can result in kidney stones. It also reduces the formation of calcium oxalate, which improves kidney function. According to research published by the National Institute of Health, grapefruit also manages the pH levels in the urine, which helps reduce the chances of kidney stones.

Anti-cancer Properties

Grapefruit is an abundant source of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that kills free radicals in the body. These free radicals are the cause of cancer. Grapefruit also contains lycopene antioxidants. According to research studies published by the NIH, lycopene has proven to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Including grapefruit in the diet can lower the risk of cancer.

Good for Digestion

Fibrous food and water intake improve the functioning of the digestive system. Grapefruit is high in fiber and water content, thus helping improve digestion and reducing the risk of digestion-related conditions like constipation, gastritis, disturbed bowel movements, etc. A fibrous diet also mitigates the possibility of colorectal cancer in the body.

Good for Skin

Grapefruit contains a good amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is the best nutrient for improving skin health. It keeps skin healthy, firm, and radiant, and that’s why Vitamin C is used in many beauty products. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the reason vitamin C helps in skin rejuvenation is its role in collagen formation. It induces collagen formation and protects from sun tan and aging.

Hydrating fruit

It is high in water content which helps to improve overall health. Grapefruit contains 88% water, which makes it a good hydrating fruit that aids in holistic health.

Also Read: Is Corn Good For Diabetes?

Ways to Eat Grapefruit

Ways to Eat Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a tasty fruit that can be eaten as it is to gain its nutrition. You can include this fruit in multiple ways like:

  • Add sliced grapefruit to your salads.
  • Eat it as your healthy breakfast. You can have half a grapefruit in your breakfast for better nutrition.
  • Mix it in different juices and squashes to enjoy its taste and benefits.
  • Mix it with yogurt and have it.
  • Can prepare a grapefruit recipe as a fruit cake with grapefruit.

Also Read: Foods and Drink to Avoid for a Diabetic Patients

Side-Effects of Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a nutritious fruit with multiple benefits, but it can also have some side effects like:
Some medicines react with grapefruit and can be harmful to the body. People taking calcium channel blockers, statins, and a few psychiatric medications should avoid eating grapefruit. Grapefruit reacts with these medicines and swiftly filters out these drugs into the bloodstream from the gut.

Grapefruit is high in potassium, which helps control blood pressure and strengthen heart health. However, the same potassium is harmful to people with kidney infections and other conditions. Such people find it difficult to flush out the excess potassium from the body because of their limited kidney functions. This excess potassium in the body can be hazardous to one’s health.

  • It is a highly acidic fruit that bothers people with gastroesophageal reflux diseases. High-acidic foods can cause heartburn in these people. It also induces puking just after the food intake.
  • It also can cause irregular heartbeats. It is due to disturbed electrical current in the heart.
  • It also induces sleepiness.

Also Read: Can Diabetes Eat Apricots?


This citrus superfood is packed with multiple vitamins and minerals. It is a low-carb food with high fiber and high water content. There are many antioxidants present in the body, like Vitamin C, lycopene, beta-carotene, flavanones, etc., that help improve heart health, digestive system, immunity, blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol levels, skin health, kidney health, etc.
It is good to include this nutritious food in your diabetic diet to prevent type 2 diabetes and achieve a healthy body.

Also Read: Which Fruits are Good For Diabetes?


What are the side-effects of excess consumption of grapefruit?

While a good amount of grapefruit is a boon for your health, its excess quantity can harm your body. It can cause nausea or diarrhea as it is high in antioxidants. Also, it is an acidic fruit so its excess quantity can result in heartburn, acidity, chest burn, mouth ulcer, etc. It also reacts with enzymes and can increase the concentration of medicines in the body and create a faster passage of drugs to the bloodstream which can lead to hazardous health conditions.

Is grapefruit good for diabetes?

Grapefruit is one of the healthiest foods and snacks for people with diabetes. This is a low glycemic index fruit that has no significant adverse effect on blood sugar levels. This is also a high-fiber fruit that slows the absorption of glucose in the body and releases sugar slowly in the bloodstream thus keeping healthy sugar levels. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Grapefruit is also a low-carb fruit that does not increase the carbohydrates and glucose in the body after consumption. Its water content also helps in managing sugar levels in the body.
This is incredibly high in antioxidants that help to reduce risks of diabetes and diabetes-related health complications.
Grapefruit lowers digestion thus keeping a person feeling full for a longer time. It also curbs the munching desire and controls weight gain which is one of the biggest reasons for type 2 diabetes. It blocks the chances of obesity by reducing unnecessary and untimely hunger.

Is grapefruit good for skin?

Vitamin C is the best nutrient to increase skin health. It keeps skin healthy, firm, and radiant and that’s why Vitamin C is used in many beauty products. The reason why vitamin C helps in skin rejuvenation is its role in collagen formation. It induces collagen formation and protects from sun tan and aging.

Can I eat grapefruit daily?

Yes! Grapefruit is full of nutrients that help in improving heart health and controlling blood pressure. It also manages blood sugar levels because of its low-carb and low glycemic index properties. This fibrous fruit with ample water content also improves digestive health and prevents constipation and indigestion.

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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