Is grapefruit good for diabetes

Is grapefruit good for diabetes?

If you have diabetes, then you do not have the luxury of eating any fruit or food. You first have to go through the tedious task of doing more research on the fruit or food before eating to prevent any risks related to diabetes. 

One of the fruits people diagnosed with diabetes check before eating is grapefruit. Not only are grapefruits delicious fruits, but they also come with a lot of health benefits.

Grapefruits help with weight management, are good for the heart, reduce the risk of kidney stones, prevent dehydration, and a whole lot more. 

Certain important factors must be taken into consideration to ascertain whether grapefruits are good for diabetic people.

Some of these important factors include:

  1. The type of sugar found in grapefruits
  2. The glycemic index of grapefruits
  3. Other health benefits of grapefruits that may be beneficial to diabetic people

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that results in too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). When your blood sugar rises, your pancreas receives a signal to release insulin. Insulin allows the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it means your body cannot make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin to its maximum capacity.

When there is not enough insulin, blood sugar accumulates in your bloodstream and with time can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

A cure for diabetes is not available at the moment but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can help manage this condition. A person diagnosed with diabetes is called a diabetic.

Types of diabetes

Here are the three common types of diabetes that you are likely to have.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes that is known for requiring a daily dose of insulin. Caused as a result of insufficient insulin production in the body. This type of diabetes can cause too much excretion of urine, thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue.

Type 2 diabetes

This type of diabetes results from the body’s inadequate use of insulin. Excess body weight (obesity) and physical inactivity can be caused by this type of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

A type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth. It can happen at any stage of pregnancy but is more common in the second or third trimester.

Pregnant women or women with gestational diabetes face an increased risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery. These women and their children are also at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.


The grapefruit (citrus paradisi) is a subtropical citrus fruit known for its sweet and sour nature.

Grapefruit is a citrus hybrid originating in Barbados as an accidental cross between the sweet orange (C. Sinensis) and the pomelo or shaddock (C. maxima), both of which were introduced from Asia in the 17th century.

When first discovered, it was called the forbidden fruit and was referred to as pomelo in the past.

Types of sugar found in grapefruits

Grapefruits contain simple sugars (natural sugars) such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Complex sugars such as fiber are also present in grapefruits.

Each 100g of grapefruits contains about 1.6g of fiber. Such complex sugars are good for diabetics because they do not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels. 

This also makes grapefruits a good source of energy and thus can be eaten by diabetic people.

Does the type of sugars in grapefruits contribute to an increase in blood sugar?

Complex sugar takes a long time to be broken down and digested in the body. This enables the slow release of sugar into the bloodstream.

This ensures that your blood sugar levels are stable for a long time. grapefruits contain fiber, which is an example of complex sugar and since it takes a long time to be broken down, there will be no sudden increase in blood sugar levels.

Therefore, the types of sugars present in grapefruits do not contribute much to an increase in blood sugar. It is safe or good for diabetic people to eat grapefruits.

The glycemic index (GI) of grapefruits

A glycemic index is a tool used to measure how foods increase blood sugar levels. 

Values are allocated to foods based on how slowly or quickly those foods can cause increases in blood sugar levels. A scale of 0-100 is used to classify foods as either low, medium, or high glycemic foods.

The lower the glycemic index of a food, the lower the chances of the food affecting your blood sugar levels.

The classification of the glycemic index is as follows:

Low: 0 to 55

Medium: 56 to 69

High: 70 to 100

Grapefruits have a glycemic index of 25, placing them in the low glycemic index category. This factor indicates that grapefruit is safe to be consumed by people with diabetes.

The glycemic load (GL) of grapefruits

A glycemic load is a tool used to measure the amount of carbohydrate in a portion of food together with how quickly it increases blood glucose levels. It is useful for people with diabetes.

This tool helps them to assess which quantities of foods are most suitable for maintaining good blood glucose levels.

The classification of glycemic load is as follows:

Low: 0 to 10

Medium: 11 to 19

High: 20 and above

Grapefruits have a glycemic load of 1.2, placing them in the low category. Having a low glycemic load will only release a small amount of the overall carbohydrate content, thus making grapefruits good for diabetics to eat.

Can grapefruits increase blood sugar?

Due to the presence of simple and complex sugars in grapefruits, they can increase blood sugar however in small amounts. They will not significantly increase sugar levels when taken in moderate amounts.

A sharp increase in blood sugar levels will not happen when you eat grapefruits because the sugars which they contain take a long time to be broken down in the body, thus enabling a gradual release of sugar into the bloodstream.

This ensures that your blood sugar levels are stable for a long time.

Other health benefits of grapefruit

Here are some of the health benefits of eating grapefruit which diabetics will also benefit from.

  • Grapefruits contain vitamin C which plays a huge role in boosting the immune system.
  • Eating grapefruit is also good for promoting heart health. Grapefruits have been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels in the body. 
  • Grapefruits are also good for preventing kidney stones. According to the University of Wisconsin Health, citric acid, which is found in grapefruit, may deter stone formation and also break up small stones that are forming.
  • Also, grapefruits contain folate which is essential for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects
  • Dehydration can be prevented by eating grapefruits. Grapefruits are 91 per cent water, so can help with hydration 

The takeaway from this article

Grapefruits are safe for people with diabetes to eat. They will not cause a sharp increase in your blood sugar levels and they also have a lot of health benefits that are beneficial to diabetics.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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