Grapefruit can make a phenomenal bedtime snack when your stomach is rumbling just enough to keep you awake but not so much that you want to eat a full meal. Because it’s so light, refreshing and low in calories, a half grapefruit can keep your hunger at bay until morning comes without ruining any healthy diet plan.
Grapefruit has one of the lowest calorie counts per serving of any fruit. According to the USDA, half a medium grapefruit has just 40 calories and 1 g protein, 10.5 g carbohydrates, 1.5 g fiber, 9 g sugar and no fat. If you like to sprinkle sugar over your grapefruit, be aware that every teaspoon you add contains 15 calories and equates to 4 g added sugar.
If you tend to get hungry between dinner and bedtime, the best way to control your weight and your diet is with a low-calorie snack that provides plenty of nutrients. As a citrus fruit, grapefruit is rich in vitamin C, and it also contains a healthy dose of disease-fighting antioxidants. In fact, ChooseMyPlate.gov notes that eating more fruits can reduce your risk of conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart attack, bone loss, kidney stones and cancer. Because grapefruit is a natural, plant-based food, it’s also free of cholesterol, fat, sodium and added sugar. An added benefit is that it’s much lower in natural sugar per serving than most other types of fruit, so it won’t give you a “sugar rush” that keeps you awake.
MayoClinic.com endocrinologist Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D., notes that people with diabetes may be better off skipping bedtime snacks altogether because they can result in blood sugar spikes and unwanted weight gain. Even if you don’t have diabetes, you can put on weight as a result of frequent snacking at night. Grapefruit may be very low in calories, but it’s not free of them entirely, and eating it regularly on top of your normal diet is likely to result in weight gain.
Eating grapefruit before bed can actually cause or exacerbate certain symptoms or side effects for some people. Frank W. Jackson, M.D., of Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology clinic notes that citrus fruits are common “trigger foods” for people with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, and that patients may do best to avoid those fruits altogether, especially before bed. Dietitian Katherine Zeratsky also notes that grapefruit and grapefruit juice may react negatively with prescription medications for anxiety, depression, allergies, epilepsy or cardiovascular problems and cause complications such as drug toxicity. Thus, always speak with your doctor before making any big changes to your diet.