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Grapefruit Glycemic Index

by
author image Jenna Cee
Jenna Cee has been writing professionally since 2006. Her articles appear on 2Athletes.com and Women's Fitness Online. She is a personal trainer certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine and as a fitness and sports nutritionist through the International Sports Sciences Association. Cee holds a Master of Science in human nutrition from Washington State University.
Grapefruit Glycemic Index
Spoon scooping a piece of grapefruit Photo Credit LindaParton/iStock/Getty Images

If you are a diabetic or if you are familiar with low carbohydrate diets, you might be familiar with the glycemic index. Most people know that fruit such as grapefruit is healthful for them but some people tend to avoid fruit because fruit has sugar, especially if they are trying to lose weight. If you eat grapefruit every day or if you are thinking about adding it to your diet, you may be curious as to where grapefruit ranks on the glycemic index and its effect on your blood sugar levels.

Glycemic Index

If you have never seen a glycemic index chart, you might find it to be confusing at first. The glycemic index is actually very easy to understand and very useful, regardless of what your health and fitness goals may be. The glycemic index or "GI" is a quantitative numerical measurement of how much a specific food or beverage will raise your blood glucose levels. The higher the number a food or drink has, the greater it increases your blood sugar levels.

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GI of Grapefruit

According to Harvard Medical School, grapefruit has a glycemic index ranking of 25. At 25, grapefruit is considered a low glycemic index food that will not raise your blood sugar or insulin level significantly. A food's glycemic index can increase if the food or beverage is processed, or if it is made into a liquid drink because fruit beverages tend to be absorbed quicker in your body and lose their fiber content. Grapefruit juice, like most fruit juices, has less fiber in its beverage form. Unsweetened grapefruit juice has a glycemic index of 48, almost double that of solid food grapefruit.

Glycemic Load

With a glycemic index of 25, you can fairly safely assume that eating grapefruit will not signifcantly increase your blood sugar levels. According to Dr. Jonny Bowden, Ph.D. and a clinical nutrition specialist, the "glycemic load" of a food is a much better indicative scale of a food or beverage's impact on your blood sugar levels. The glycemic load considers the glycemic index but also the amount of carbohydrates that the food has. Grapefruit has a glycemic load of 3 out of 40. With a glycemic load ranking of 3, you can assume that eating grapefruit will have little to no effect on your blood sugar levels.

Health Benefits

Grapefruit has several health benefits and is likely a welcome addition to your diet, regardless of your health or fitness goals. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you eat grapefruit if you want to lose weight. A medium grapefruit only has 40 calories and packed full of vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Grapefruit also has calcium and magnesium. Dr. Jonny Bowden reports that red grapefruit is preferable to white grapefruit. Red grapefruit can lower your cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels, both significant risk factors for heart disease.

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