Red Grapefruit vs. Yellow Grapefruit: What's the Difference?

Red and yellow grapefruit are from the same family, and thus only have slight differences.
Image Credit: Aleksandr Zubkov/Moment/GettyImages

Red and yellow grapefruit, often called white grapefruit, are closely related varieties of the same citrus fruit, Citrus paradisi. It's a hybrid cross between a variety of pomelo and a variety of sweet orange that was originally developed in Barbados.

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Most grapefruit sold in the U.S. is grown in Florida, although Texas and California are also major producers. Grapefruit produces a large fruit with a tangy and slightly bitter flavor.

Vitamin A

The biggest difference between white and red grapefruits is in vitamin A content.

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  • Red grapefruit has significantly higher levels of this nutrient. One cup of red grapefruit provides about 2,645 international units or 50 percent of your daily recommended intake of vitamin A, according to the USDA Nutrient Database.
  • In contrast, white grapefruit only offers 2 percent of your daily recommended amount, per the USDA.

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Vitamin C and Potassium

Although red and white grapefruits differ markedly in the amounts of some nutrients, in other cases they are essentially equivalent. All grapefruit varieties are high in vitamin C, and there's very little difference between red and white grapefruit in regards to this nutrient.

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One cup of grapefruit provides about 70 milligrams or 120 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Red and white grapefruits also contain about the same amount of potassium. One cup contains about 300 milligrams or 15 percent of your recommended daily intake.

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Sugar, Fiber and Calories

The sugar, fiber and total calorie values of red and white grapefruits are roughly comparable. One cup of red grapefruit contains about 97 calories, 16 grams of sugar and 4 grams or 15 percent of your daily recommended intake of fiber. One cup of white grapefruit has 76 calories, 17 grams of sugar and 3 grams or 10 percent of your daily recommended intake of fiber.

Flavor

Red grapefruit is noticeably sweeter than white grapefruit, despite the fact that they have comparable sugar content. Red grapefruit is therefore preferred by many consumers and is now both more widely sold and easier to find than white grapefruit varieties.

Warning

An enzyme found in grapefruit juice can interact with certain prescription medications, sometimes dangerously enhancing their effects. Drugs used to treat high blood pressure and thyroid conditions are among those affected.

Check with your doctor if you're on any prescription medications before consuming grapefruit regularly.

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