Medical myths: Eating grapefruit burns fat

Dr Max Pemberton 30 November -0001

Unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss there's no shortcut that beats watching your diet and doing regular exercise. Dr Max Pemberton is here to quash yet another medical myth. 

Where did the myth come from?

People seem to believe that there’s something magical about citrus fruit—that, in some way, its acidity helps to burn or digest fat. 

This is just scientifically rubbish. It’s probably based on the fact that, years ago, acidic fruit juice was used by housewives for cleaning, including removing fat stains. While it might be good at breaking down fat on a saucepan, it doesn’t work like that once it’s in the body.

Others believe that it increases metabolism and thus helps to burn fat. Again, there’s no evidence for this.

More medical myths: Eating before bedtime makes you fat


What's the truth?

medical myth grapefruit weight loss

Of course, if you’re only going to have half a grapefruit for breakfast in place of a fry up, then you’re going to lose weight.

It’s not actually anything to do with the citrus fruit; it’s just that you’re substituting high-calorie for low-calorie options.

The American Dietetic Association has reviewed the evidence and concluded that this “long-held myth is wishful thinking” and that grape-fruit doesn’t help people lose weight or burn fat.


So there's no hope?

The only way to lose weight is to expend more energy than you consume. That means watching what you eat, counting calories if necessary and taking regular exercise.

Grapefruit is full of vitamins and nutrients that the body needs, so is a good food to include in your diet—but it’s not going to make the pounds drop off magically.

The other thing to remember about grapefruit is that you shouldn’t eat it or drink it as a juice if you’re taking statins.

Read more: The ultimate guide to weight loss


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