Grapefruit juice has long been touted as a healthy way to start the day. With its tangy, tart flavor and wide range of nutrients, a glass of grapefruit juice can provide a dose of vitamin C and other beneficial plant compounds. But is freshly squeezed grapefruit juice healthier than store-bought varieties? Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition, benefits, downsides, and best practices for enjoying grapefruit juice.
Grapefruits are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. One 8-ounce (237-ml) serving of white grapefruit juice provides (1):
|Total fat||0 g|
|Total carbs||23 g|
|Vitamin C||93% of the Daily Value (DV)|
|Thiamine||7% of the DV|
|Vitamin B6||8% of the DV|
|Folate||6% of the DV|
|Magnesium||5% of the DV|
|Copper||5% of the DV|
As you can see, grapefruit juice is loaded with vitamin C, providing nearly your entire daily need in one serving. It also contains decent amounts of potassium, vitamin B6, and other micronutrients.
Freshly squeezed vs. store-bought
There are some key differences between freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and commercial varieties:
- No added sugars: Store-bought grapefruit juice often contains added sugars, which boost the carbohydrate and calorie counts. Fresh grapefruit juice gets its sweetness solely from the fruit’s natural sugars.
- More nutrients: Processing and pasteurization can degrade some of the vitamin C and antioxidants in grapefruit juice over time. Freshly made juice retains more of these heat-sensitive nutrients.
- Strain the pulp: Fresh grapefruit juice often contains some pulp, while store-bought versions are typically strained. The leftover pulp provides extra fiber and beneficial plant compounds.
- Shorter shelf life: Unlike pasteurized juices, freshly made grapefruit juice only lasts a few days in the fridge before spoiling.
If you have the time to make it yourself, choosing fresh grapefruit juice ensures you get the most nutrition and highest quality product.
Here are some of the top evidence-based benefits of drinking grapefruit juice:
High in antioxidants
Grapefruits contain powerful antioxidant compounds like vitamin C, beta carotene, lycopene, and flavonoids. These antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and protect your cells from damage.
May support weight loss
Studies show that grapefruit juice may suppress appetite hormones and enhance fat burning, both of which may aid weight loss. Drinking it before meals may help you eat fewer overall calories.
May promote heart health
The nutrients in grapefruit juice, particularly vitamin C and potassium, support heart health by improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
May reduce kidney stone risk
Citrus juices like grapefruit juice increase urine volume and pH, creating conditions that discourage kidney stone formation.
May improve blood sugar control
Animal and human studies find that compounds in grapefruit juice, including naringenin, help regulate insulin levels and improve blood sugar control.
Downsides and precautions
While grapefruit juice has many benefits, there are some downsides to consider as well:
- High in sugar: A 236-ml serving packs 20 grams of sugar. This may harm teeth and trigger blood sugar spikes.
- May interact with medications: Grapefruit can affect how your body metabolizes certain medications. Check with your doctor for potential interactions.
- Not suitable for infants: Grapefruit juice is not recommended for babies under 1 year old due to concerns about the naturally occurring chemical furanocoumarin.
If you have diabetes or are taking medication, talk to your healthcare provider before adding grapefruit juice to your diet.
How to choose and make it
Follow these tips to select quality grapefruits and make fresh grapefruit juice:
- Opt for fresh grapefruits that feel heavy for their size with brightly colored, blemish-free peels.
- Wash the grapefruits thoroughly before juicing.
- Cut the grapefruits in half horizontally before juicing to easily squeeze out all the liquid.
- Use a citrus juicer or reamer to extract the juice. Pulp remnants can provide extra fiber.
- For sweeter juice, add sugar, honey, or stevia to taste.
- Drink the juice immediately or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Should you drink grapefruit juice daily?
Thanks to its nutrition profile, drinking a serving or two of fresh grapefruit juice per day can be healthy for most people.
However, grapefruit juice is fairly high in sugar. Drinking more than 4–6 ounces (118–177 ml) per day long-term may increase your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease.
So feel free to enjoy a small glass of fresh grapefruit juice daily alongside a balanced diet, but avoid drinking extremely large amounts for prolonged periods.
The bottom line
Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice beats store-bought varieties in terms of nutrition, flavors, and lack of added sugar. Just one serving supplies a hefty amount of vitamin C and antioxidants with relatively few calories.
Studies suggest grapefruit juice may promote weight loss, heart health, and blood sugar control. However, it’s high in natural sugars and can interact with certain medications.
Drinking 4–6 ounces (118–177 ml) of fresh grapefruit juice per day can be healthy as part of a nutrient-dense diet. But limit intake and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.