Grapefruit and Diabetes: Everything you need to know

Is grapefruit good for diabetics? Grapefruit is a pulpy, tart, and tangy fruit with a high nutritional index. The following table enlists the nutritional content of grapefruit:

  • Calories: 52
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fibre: 2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 64% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin A: 28% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Thiamine: 4% of the RDI
  • Folate: 4% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 3% of the RDI

For a long time, the role of grapefruit in diabetes and in the reduction of blood sugar levels has been controversial. This trend still continues. Grapefruit has a lower amount of calories and high amounts of vitamins A and C. Hence, it is extremely healthy for consumption. However, the glycemic index for grapefruit is estimated to be 25. Glycemic index is directly proportional to the number of sugars (or carbs) a particular food item will release into your body. This higher glycemic index renders grapefruit useless for people with diabetes.

Why does Grapefruit interact with some drugs?

Grapefruit juice acts on an enzyme called CYP3A4 in the human body. This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of various drugs. Grapefruit inhibits the enzyme from functioning and reduces the breakdown of associated drugs. Calcium channel blockers, anticoagulants, Metformin, and statins are several medicines metabolised by CYP3A4. Consumption of grapefruit juice with these medicines can increase their concentrations in the body and become life-threatening in some cases. Therefore, grapefruit should be avoided by those taking such medications. Also know about best medicine for diabetes.

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Benefits of Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a very nutritious food and is also considered a “superfood” by some. Grapefruit is richly nourished with vitamins A and C. These vitamins can help in improving vision, provide immunity against infections, and make the body stronger. Grapefruit has been used in various weight loss programs as it also delivers a lower amount of calories per serving. Thus, it fills the stomach without increasing the dreaded fatty layers! 

Additionally, grapefruit delivers high amounts of antioxidants to the body, protecting our tissues from damage and injuries. These antioxidants are also known to protect the body from cancer by killing the cancerous cells. The high water content in grapefruits is a good source of hydration. Therefore, it can reduce the risk of kidney stones by washing them off. It can also provide glowing and wrinkle-free skin. Grapefruit is also famous for improving blood pressure, reducing the chances of stroke, improving blood circulation, and exerting a positive influence on overall cardiovascular health. 

To top it all, it is very easy to consume a grapefruit. The fruit can be put into a juicer to make healthy grapefruit juice. The other way is to simply slice the fruit in half and take a scoop.

Also read about are grapes good for diabetes

Benefits of Grapefruit for Diabetes

The role of grapefruit in people with diabetes has been controversial. While some studies have shown that grapefruit increases blood sugar levels, studies in mice have shown that it increases the body’s response to insulin, thus reducing the symptoms of diabetes. However, there is not enough data to support either side of the debate. It is, therefore, safe to say that grapefruit may be helpful in the resolution of diabetes along with your doctor’s prescription, exercise, and lifestyle changes. 

Grapefruit juice does have some good news for people at risk of getting diagnosed with diabetes. In such individuals, grapefruit juice can enhance the actions of insulin on blood sugar levels and lower them. A glass or two of grapefruit juice does no harm to people with diabetes or those at risk. However, increased consumption can have drawbacks instead of benefits. So it is essential to estimate the serving size of grapefruit for proper management of diabetes. Know about fruit for diabetes.

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Can you eat Grapefruit while taking Metformin?

Metformin is a popular prescription drug given to people with diabetes. Metformin is not metabolised by the body. Consuming grapefruit juice while taking metformin has been considered safe because there has been no evidence to support the fact that grapefruit interrupts the functioning of metformin in any way. 

Grapefruit is a highly nutritious fruit, but it should never be used to replace metformin in people with diabetes. There is strong evidence in the medical literature that metformin can reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, there is not any strong evidence that grapefruit (or grapefruit juice) can lower blood sugar levels entirely by itself. Therefore, people with diabetes should not place their health at risk by replacing their prescription drugs. Also read about benefits of pomegranate for diabetes.

Alternatives to Grapefruit

An ideal snack for people with diabetes is one with reduced calories and a glycemic index between 10 to 20. Grapefruit has a slightly higher glycemic index and can raise glucose levels in people with poorly-controlled diabetes. So, it can be replaced with several other fruits while retaining the same nutritional profile. Citrus fruits such as oranges and tangerines and berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are very helpful for people with diabetes. Plums, peaches, and apples are also among the top fruits advisable for people with diabetes. Also Read about is mango good for diabetes or is Papaya good for diabetes

While fruit juices can hydrate your entire body, whole fruit consumption is preferable for people having diabetes. Therefore, by maintaining a proper diet, monitoring your caloric and glycemic intake, following proper medical guidance, and introducing necessary lifestyle changes, diabetes can easily be managed. Also read about how to reduce sugar.

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Looking at the nutritional content of grapes, it is noted that it is low in calories and has higher levels of Vitamins A and C. This makes it healthy for consumption. However, a person with diabetes should still be careful before consuming grapefruit as it can interact with certain medications, particularly for type 2 diabetes. Being high in antioxidants, it can improve the overall blood pressure readings, and lowers cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases. Limiting the number of grapes by exercising portion control and reducing the overall frequency of consumption would be helpful for a person with diabetes. Also know about ayurvedic medicine for diabetes.


1. Is pink grapefruit good for diabetics?

Among the several advantages of a grapefruit – being low-carb, low-calorie, high in fiber, and an overall low GI make it a suitable fruit to consume by persons with diabetes. Additionally, with several other benefits like being rich in a vast amount of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, the pros of eating grapes are high. 

2. Does grapefruit spike blood sugar?

Grapefruit is low on the glycemic index scale – it has a GI of 25. It should be safe to consume in moderate amounts as it would not raise blood sugar levels. It also has a significantly positive impact on reducing bad cholesterol and can better the process of digestion.


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About the Author: Tung Chi