Grapefruit may be healthful choice for women striving to meet recommended intakes of fruit and key nutrients, may also help reduce some risk factors associated with chronic diseases, new research suggests

BARTOW, Florida , April 25, 2012 (press release) – New research presented this week at Experimental Biology (EB) 2012 suggests grapefruit may be a healthful choice for women striving to meet recommended intakes of fruit and key nutrients, and, when included as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, may help reduce some risk factors associated with chronic diseases.(1)

As part of the study, researchers analyzed data from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and found that women age 19 and older who consume grapefruit tend to have significantly greater intakes of several key nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamin B6 than those who don't consume grapefruit. These findings are especially noteworthy given that several of these nutrients (vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and magnesium) are generally underconsumed by the U.S. population.(2)

The research also shows grapefruit consumers tended to have lower intakes of added sugars, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than grapefruit non-consumers, but comparable intakes of calories, carbohydrates and total sugars.

Grapefruit consumers also tended to have significantly higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglycerides and C-reactive protein compared to women who did not consume grapefruit. Higher HDL-cholesterol and lower triglycerides may translate into a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, as could lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that has been linked to heart health.

Grapefruit Consumption also Linked to Lower Body Weight

The study found that grapefruit consumption was associated with lower body weight and waist circumference. Furthermore, women in the study who consume grapefruit tended to have BMIs that are lower than those who don't consume grapefruit.

"This research adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests grapefruit and grapefruit juice are worthy components of any healthy weight management plan," said Gail Rampersaud, MS, RD, LDN, Associate in Nutrition Research and Education, University of Florida.

"For example, a study conducted at Vanderbilt University also suggests a potentially beneficial role of grapefruit consumption on weight management. Obese adults who consumed half a grapefruit, a half cup of grapefruit juice or a half cup of water 20 minutes before each of their three daily meals while on a reduced-calorie diet experienced significant decreases in body weight, BMI and waist circumference over the course of 12 weeks."(3)

Relation to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the total diet should consist of nutrient-dense foods that provide essential nutrients and health benefits. In fact, USDA's MyPlate, the new symbol for healthful eating, recommends that Americans "make half your plate fruits and vegetables" as a simple message designed to help consumers make better food choices and include plenty of nutrient-dense foods in their diets.

"Although the Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, most Americans fall short of meeting the suggested fruit intake,"(4) said Rampersaud. "This study suggests that encouraging grapefruit consumption in women may not only help them meet their recommended intake for fruits, but also support enhanced intakes of key nutrients. This may lead to better overall diet quality and related health benefits, including favorable effects on risk factors related to chronic diseases or other conditions such as metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease."

Editor's Note: This research was supported by the Florida Department of Citrus and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Throughout the study, the researchers maintained independent control over the analysis.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is an ongoing series of surveys, implemented by the Centers for Disease Control, that are designed to assess the health and nutritional status of children and adults in the United States. The NHANES surveys are conducted and analyzed in a way to be representative of the U.S. population. The analysis presented at Experimental Biology 2012 utilized 2003-2008 data from more 6,000 women.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs nearly 76,000 people, provides an annual economic impact close to $9 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida's schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit

The Florida Department of Citrus is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Agency. The Florida Department of Citrus prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities based on race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) ­

(1) Murphy MM, Rampersaud GC, Barraj LM, Bi X. (2012. Grapefruit consumption is associated with benefits to the intake of certain nutrients, body composition, and select physiologic parameters in U.S. women: An analysis of NHANES 2003-2008. Experimental Biology 2012. Abstract # 9381.

(2) U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

(3) Silver HJ, Dietrich MS, Niswender KD. 2011. Effects of grapefruit, grapefruit juice and water preloads on energy balance, weight loss, body composition, and cardiometabolic risk in free-living obese adults. Nutrition & Metabolism.8(1):8.

(4) Krebs-Smith SM, Guenther PM, Subar AF, Kirkpatrick SI, Dodd KW. 2010. Americans do not meet federal dietary recommendations. J Nutr. 140(10):1832-8.

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Ashley Lynn

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