Remember the Grapefruit Diet from way back that had us eating the citrus fruit at breakfast, lunch and dinner? That plan may have been just a kooky fad, but new research shows grapefruit is actually a powerful diet food.
A review of data from 2003 to 2008 reveals that, on average, women who consumed any amount of grapefruit or grapefruit juice weighed nearly 10 pounds less and had a 6 percent lower body mass index (BMI) than their non-grapefruit-eating counterparts.
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Researchers aren't exactly sure what makes grapefruit lovers slimmer, but study co-author Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian from the University of Florida, says it could be the simplest of reasons: "Consuming fruits and vegetables with a high water content, like grapefruit, helps you feel fuller and more satisfied on fewer calories." (Half of a medium grapefruit or an 8-ounce glass of juice has fewer than 100 cals each).
The fruit is also a source of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, but Rampersaud says there's no evidence revealing any magical fat-burning ingredient at work, as proponents of the old Grapefruit Diet have claimed.
To reap the benefits, Rampersaud suggests making the tart and tangy fruit or juice part of your daily diet.
Not a grapefruit lover? Based on this and other studies, starting meals with water-rich foods, such as cucumber or watermelon, could have a similar effect, says Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, also a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.