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Can You Eat Grapefruit On Low carb, Keto Diet?

Latest updates by: Hassan Thwaini
Custom KetoDiet Plan

Grapefruits: A bitter-sweet challenge for the keto community.

Grapefruit is one of those foods that pretty much every human has a love-hate relationship with, right?

On one hand, you have the benefits of grapefruit being a nutritional powerhouse, and on the other hand, you have a false sense of security when doing the keto diet and assuming that the citrus fruit is loaded with sugars.

However, research has proven that eating it can help with weight loss. 

So what’s the catch? Is grapefruit keto-friendly? 

We’ll tell you all, from the facts to the fiction of this low-carb fruit, and how you CAN incorporate grapefruit into your low-carb keto diet. 

What Are Grapefruits?

image of  Grapefruit on keto diet: is it keto friendly?

Grapefruits are some of the most controversial citrus fruits around. No one can truly tell if they’re sweet or sour.

Grapefruits have been long known as the Fruit of the Gods – and with good reason too!

They have yellow/brown skin and the inside is a citrusy delight. It comes in many varieties, from pink, white to yellow, each possessing slightly different tastes.

Here’s a quick life hack. 

The darker the color, the sweeter the grapefruit (if you’re new to it, try not to go too bitter and hate it straight away)!

With grapefruit comes grapefruit juice. A widely used juice for not only its unique flavor but for its health benefits too!

Grapefruit Nutritional Value

Does grapefruit have carbs or sugar?

According to the USDA (*), one 3.5 inch, 200g grapefruit contains:

Macronutrients:

  • 64 calories
  • 1.3g protein
  • 16.2g Total carbs – 2.2g fiber –  14 g of Net Carbs

Micronutrients:

  • 24mg Calcium
  • 16mg Magnesium
  • 278mg Potassium
  • 68.6mcg Vitamin C
  • 92mcg Vitamin A
  • 20mcg Vitamin B6
  • 2270 mcg Lycopene

As you can tell, the nutritional benefit of one grapefruit is colossal. So why don’t we try to incorporate this more into our keto diet?

Let’s make this clear, to give you a better perspective.

Simply, a normal serving size of half a grapefruit will give you;

  • 38% of your daily vitamin C
  • 35% of your vitamin A
  • 5% calcium requirement
  • 55% magnesium requirement
  • 7 g of net carbs

So when you ask yourself ‘is grapefruit keto-friendly?’, ‘Is grapefruit juice allowed on keto diet?’

You can read on here as we cannot wait to tell you the benefits this can all bring to your health!

Grapefruit Health Benefits

It is an extremely potent immunity booster. In fact, according to multiple studies, it has been shown to provide immunity to 800 different viruses! What’s not to love? (*)

It is low in calories, therefore making it the ideal food for weight loss. The bitter taste works well to help curb your hunger too and works to suppress your appetite.

Prevent Cancer

Now, you’re wondering why we put the lycopene in bold above. Let us tell you.

Lycopene is an antioxidant. (*) Medically reviewed research has concluded that it is heavily associated with the reduction of chronic diseases, such as cancer. Not only is it preventative at a cell level, but it also helps get rid of those nasty bacterias found in the intestines!

In essence, lycopene and the other antioxidants contained in grapefruit can substantially reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Anti Inflammatory

The cocktail of antioxidants and vitamins in this dietary fiber allows for anti-inflammatory effects, helping with muscle aches and pains.

Acne And Scars

Sounds crazy right? But listen, grapefruit has many alkaline properties. This balances out the acidity on our skin and helps recover the acne pores and reduces the visibility of scars.

Even better? The alkaline properties help prevent us from aging too!

Vitamin C also has an important role in the formation of collagen, which is the main system supporting the skin. (*)

Heart Health

The red grapefruit variety has been shown to reduce cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. (*)

The high potassium content also allows it to control blood pressure. This works because potassium acts opposing the sodium levels in the blood, and lowering the systolic blood pressure.

The list of benefits that grapefruit can give us is nearly endless, and so we didn’t want to bore you with too many details!

However, there is one health benefit that grapefruit has which is the reason a debate has sparked up in the keto community.

Does Grapefruit Promote Weight Loss?

Multiple studies have shown that grapefruit can promote weight loss. Can you believe it? Eating to lose weight? (*)

You’re wondering how it helps weight loss. And we will tell you.

Grapefruit promotes weight loss wonderfully by limiting the amount of insulin we release. This, therefore, stabilizes the blood sugar and controls our appetite. 

When we have a raised blood sugar, we get dizzy and lightheaded. It also means that the insulin is more occupied, and not digesting the excess carbs in our body.

The lower glycemic index of grapefruit also means that blood sugar should not spike when consuming grapefruit!

Grapefruit also contains a protein called AMPK. This works by boosting your metabolism, which in turn burns more calories.

Although we haven’t quite gotten into how grapefruit can fit into the keto diet, we wanted to let you know that grapefruit is so good at promoting weight loss that a diet has been named after it – the grapefruit diet! (*)

Is Grapefruit Keto Friendly?

As of now, you’ve realized that undoubtedly, grapefruit is king in terms of providing us with nutritional health benefits.

So the main questions are, is grapefruit keto friendly? And if so, how can I use it in the keto diet?

The main focus for us doing the keto diet is to look for the macronutrients provided in any foods.

When you look at the nutrients given from grapefruit, you can see that there are 14 g of net carbs in a 200g grapefruit. When compared to the protein and fats that grapefruit contains, the net carb content is 92%, which is way higher than we stick to in keto.

Although a serving size of half a grapefruit could be safely incorporated into the keto diet, with only 7 g of net carbs, grapefruit is not keto. The macronutrients are simply not balanced to fit a ketogenic diet, especially if you are being strict and trying to stick to below 30 g of net carbs.

It is keto-friendly, however, if you eat it in moderation and monitor your net carb intake.

 A general rule for all keto dieters is that we should try to avoid fruit. However, you could strategically plan to include grapefruit into your keto diet and avoid getting out of ketosis.

Examples of how to add grapefruit to your keto diet could be:

  • Treating yourself to half a grapefruit after 5-6 days of strict keto
  • Using grapefruit as your low carb bulk after a heavy exercise session
  • Using grapefruit segments in addition to your salads to help give you an energy boost

We believe that although it has a high net carb content, its nutritional benefit allows us to enjoy a segment of the fruit every now and then in our keto diet!

The Bad Side Of Grapefruit

image of this fruit is not keto friendly ketogenic diet!

Due to grapefruit bringing us a plethora of nutritional greatness, it leads to some unfortunate medical-related disadvantages.

Both grapefruit and grapefruit juice contain active ingredients that interact with certain proteins in the body that are responsible for breaking down medications. This will lead to accidental overdoses of certain medications which are extremely harmful.

Certain examples of these commonly used medications are:

  • Antihypertensives 
  • Cholesterol reducing drugs (statins)
  • Certain antidepressants

And many more. So be sure to consult with your local pharmacist before you decide to add grapefruit to your diet if you are taking medications.

Low-Carb Fruit Alternatives: Are There Any Fruits I Can Eat On Keto?

Now that grapefruit has been identified as a non-keto-friendly fruit, what about the rest? Is there other fruit you can eat on the keto diet?

The answer is, yes. It all depends on the net carbs the fruit in question possesses, and how it can affect our state of ketosis.

Although it has a high carb content, did you know that citrus fruit are generally referred to as low carb fruits?

Here are a few of our favorite low-carb keto-friendly fruits…

  • Lemons – why not add some lemon to your water or tea, or even as a salad dressing? 100g of lemon contains just 6 g of net carbs (not that you’ll have that much per serving!) (*)
  • Olives – 10 olives contain only 1.5 g of net carbs. Since most of the total carbs they possess come from fiber, it makes them a keto gem! Even better? They too contain antioxidant properties! (*)
  • Avocados – low net carbs, high in fats, good protein – perfect!
  • Berries – most berries, even if frozen, are not only a fantastic source of vitamins and antioxidants but great for keto! They are packed full of fiber and therefore have a relatively low net carb content.

There are plenty more low-carb keto-friendly fruits out there, so just stick them into your nutrient calculator and enjoy!

In Conclusion

The nutrients contained in one grapefruit are simply too much for us to even incorporate into a meal individually. Grapefruit is also packed full of water and fiber, making it a perfect aid to our digestion.

It is also fantastic in helping with weight loss, and at only 7 grams of carbs per half serving a day, we believe it is the best natural weight loss supplement. (Read: The 12 Best Keto Supplements To Take That Work in 2021)

However, due to its relatively high net carb content, it is not a fruit you should eat regularly when following a low-carb keto diet. 

So, in answer to the original question of ‘is grapefruit keto-friendly? No, Grapefruit is not keto-friendly and will kick you out of ketosis if consumed too much.

Although not keto-friendly, it increases your health and wellness as well as promotes weight loss.

If you’re following a cyclical or targeted keto method, then we believe grapefruits are ideal to help you bulk up your carbs after a workout to replenish your body’s stores of glycogen.

But what you must take away from all this, is remembering that although fruit is healthy, it is not necessarily keto-friendly. Fruits such as grapefruit may benefit your health however if they contain too many net carbs, it makes them incompatible with the keto diet.


Hassan Thwaini

Hassan Thwaini is a qualified pharmacist and hospital specialist at the University of Sunderland. His main focus is to help people utilize their environment and develop a Keto-based diet to help give everybody a healthy lifestyle.


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