Grapefruit is a large, round citrus fruit with a tart and sour flavor. Closely related to oranges, this fruit is often eaten raw or used in juices and recipes. Its low-calorie, high-fiber content makes it popular for dieters and health-conscious individuals. It’s also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds that may help reduce the risk of certain diseases.
If you’re considering adding grapefruit to your ketogenic diet, you might wonder what its nutritional profile looks like. More specifically, whether it has too many carbs to fit the keto diet.
The answer isn’t as straightforward as one might think. That’s because the keto diet is nuanced; certain types of food can fit into the diet in moderation, while others should be avoided altogether.
There are also different types of ketogenic diets, each with its own set of rules and guidelines. To understand how grapefruit fits into a ketogenic lifestyle, you must first understand the basics of the diet.
What’s In a Grapefruit?
Grapefruit is chock full of nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), half of a medium grapefruit contains about:
- 52 calories
- 13 grams of carbohydrates
- 1 gram of protein
- 2 grams of fiber
- 64% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamin C
- 28% of the RDI of vitamin A
- 5% of the RDI of Potassium
- 4% of the RDI of Thiamine
- 4% of the RDI of Folate
- 3% of the RDI of Magnesium
In addition, grapefruit is a good source of hydrating fluids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. These compounds are thought to have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-microbial properties (1).
Does Grapefruit Fit Into a Keto Diet?
Unfortunately, grapefruit’s carbohydrate content makes it a poor choice for strict ketogenic diets. With 13 grams of carbohydrates per half of medium-sized grapefruit, it’s not ideal for those following a standard ketogenic diet—which typically limits daily carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams.
Trying to fit grapefruit into a modified ketogenic diet—one that allows a higher daily carbohydrate intake of up to 100 grams—might be possible. However, you must consider the other foods in your diet, as well as your individual activity level and body composition.
If you’re unsure about how to fit grapefruit into your diet, it’s best to speak with a medical professional or registered dietitian.
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Types of Keto Diets, and Why The Differences Matter
There are a few different types of ketogenic diets:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is the most common and traditional type of keto diet, where carbohydrates are limited to 20-50 grams per day, protein is moderate and fat makes up the majority of calories (4). The typical ratio is 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs.
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This type of keto diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days (4).
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): This type of keto diet focuses on adding small amounts of carbohydrates around workouts (4).
- High-Protein Ketogenic Diet: This type of keto diet is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbohydrates (4).
- Dirty Keto: This type of keto diet allows for processed and unhealthy food options, as long as the macros are in line with a typical ketogenic diet (4).
The type of ketogenic diet you follow will determine whether or not grapefruit is appropriate for your lifestyle. Generally speaking, if you’re following a strict SKD plan or a High Protein Keto Diet, you should avoid grapefruit. However, if you’re following a CKD or TKD plan that allows for higher-carb refeeds, you may be able to fit grapefruit into your diet in moderation.
How to Incorporate Grapefruit Into a Keto Diet
If you do decide to incorporate grapefruit into your keto diet, here’s what you need to know:
1. Measure and Track Your Carb Intake
If you’re trying to fit grapefruit into your keto diet, you’ll need to be extra mindful of your carb intake. Make sure to measure and track how much carbs you’re eating, including the carbohydrates from the grapefruit.
2. Don’t Rely On Grapefruit Alone For Your Nutritional Needs
Grapefruit is a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but it’s not a complete food. You should still strive to get your nutrients from other sources as well. Assuming your daily carb allowance is 50 grams, consider which other foods might need to be cut out in order for you to fit grapefruit into your diet.
3. Consider Alternatives To Grapefruit
If you’re following a strict SKD or High Protein Keto Diet, consider alternatives to grapefruit. Other low-carb fruits that might fit into your dietary plan include:
- Avocado (1.1 net carbs per 1/2 fruit) – low in carbs, and rich in heart-healthy fats. Also contains fiber, potassium and vitamins C and K (9).
- Raspberries (7 net carbs per cup) – high in fiber and vitamin C. Packed with antioxidants that are thought to help protect against disease (7).
- Strawberries (8.2 net carbs per cup) – loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, as well as fiber (8).
- Watermelon (11 grams per cup) – low in calories and carbs, but high in water content for added hydration. Also rich in vitamins A and C (11).
- Oranges (12.2 net carbs per medium orange) – high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Its nutritional profile is closely related to grapefruit (6).
- Lemons (2.8 net carbs per lemon) – low in calories, and an excellent source of vitamin C (2). Being a citrus fruit, it has a similar nutritional profile to grapefruit.
4. Avoid Juicing
If you’re drinking grapefruit juice, the sugar and calorie count will be much higher than if you just ate the fruit. To make one cup of juice, you’ll need the pulp from multiple fruits, which can add up quickly. Stick to eating the whole grapefruit for the most nutritional bang for your buck.
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5. Think of Ways to Round Out Your Snack
Satiety is a huge factor when it comes to portion control and sticking to a healthy diet. You’re less likely to overeat if you’re feeling full. Consider adding nuts, cheeses, lean meats and other healthy fats to your grapefruit snack to help keep you satiated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Grapefruit OK To Eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
A: The type of ketogenic diet you follow will determine whether or not grapefruit is appropriate for your lifestyle. Generally speaking, if you’re following a strict SKD plan or a High Protein Keto Diet, you should avoid grapefruit. However, if you’re following a CKD or TKD plan that allows for higher-carb refeeds, you may be able to fit grapefruit into your diet in moderation.
Q: Is Grapefruit Juice Good for Keto Diet?
A: Drinking grapefruit juice on a ketogenic diet isn’t recommended. You’ll need several pieces of grapefruit to make one cup, so the sugar and calorie count of juice is much higher than if you just ate the fruit. Furthermore, the fiber has been removed from the juice, and you won’t benefit from its full nutritional profile. Stick to eating whole grapefruit for the most bang for your buck.
Q: Is White Grapefruit Keto Friendly?
A: The carb count of white grapefruit is similar to that of other types. The same rule applies — if it fits into your daily macros, then you can enjoy white grapefruit on a keto diet. If not, consider other low-carb fruit options.
Q: Is Red Grapefruit Keto Friendly?
A: The carb count of red grapefruit is similar to that of other types. The same rule applies — if it fits into your daily macros, then you can enjoy red grapefruit on a keto diet. If not, consider other low-carb fruit options.
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Q: Is Pink Grapefruit Keto Friendly?
A: The carb count of pink grapefruit is similar to that of other types. The same rule applies — if it fits into your daily macros, then you can enjoy pink grapefruit on a keto diet. If not, consider other low-carb fruit options.
Q: Is Grapefruit Seed Extract Good for Keto Diet?
A: Yes, grapefruit seed extract is good for keto as it has zero carbs. This must be pure, non-synthetic extract and without added sugars, as the latter will add carbs and sugar to your diet. Make sure to check the label before buying.
Note that the extract does not provide the same nutritional benefits as fresh grapefruit, so if you’re looking to reap the full benefits of this superfood, it’s best to enjoy the fresh fruit.
Q: Is Grapefruit Good for Weight Loss?
A: Grapefruit is a nutritious, low-calorie food that can be part of a weight loss plan. It’s high in fiber and water content, which helps with satiety and portion control (10). Additionally, the antioxidants and vitamins found in grapefruit may help boost metabolism, aiding in weight loss.
Final Thoughts on Grapefruit and the Keto Diet
Grapefruit is an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds. However, due to its high carbohydrate content, it may not fit into a standard or modified ketogenic diet.
Other lower-carb fruits may be more suitable for those on a ketogenic diet. It’s always best to speak with a medical professional or registered dietitian to determine which foods fit best into your lifestyle.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Bioactive Flavonoids, Antioxidant Behaviour, and Cytoprotective Effects of Dried Grapefruit Peels (Citrus paradisi Macf.) (2016,nih.gov)
- Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies (2020,nih.gov)
- Grapefruit, raw, pink and red, all areas (fdc.nal.usda.gov)
- Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane? (2019,nih.gov)
- Ketogenic Diet (2022,nih.gov)
- [Orange juice nutritional profile] (2017,nih.gov)
- Raspberries and human health: a review (2010,nih.gov)
- Red Fruits Composition and Their Health Benefits—A Review (2022,nih.gov)
- The Forgotten Fruit: A Case for Consuming Avocado Within the Traditional Mediterranean Diet (2022,nih.gov)
- The effects of daily consumption of grapefruit on body weight, lipids, and blood pressure in healthy, overweight adults (2012,nih.gov)
- Versatile Nutraceutical Potentials of Watermelon—A Modest Fruit Loaded with Pharmaceutically Valuable Phytochemicals (2020,nih.gov)