Grapefruit is a delicious citrus fruit of the grapefruit plant. It is a hybrid plant that originated from the accidental cross between the sweet orange and pomelo. It is loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, dietary fibers, etc., and provides many health and beauty benefits. However, there are also some side effects of eating too many grapefruits.
Side Effects of Eating Too Many Grapefruits
Following are the major side effects of eating too many grapefruits.
(1) Grapefruit During Pregnancy
Grapefruit helps in maintaining healthy pregnancy as it is loaded with essential nutrients.
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, and polyphenols in the grapefruit protect the uterus and the fetus developing in the womb from free radical damage.
Folic acid in grapefruit helps with the brain development of the fetus and reduces the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Grapefruit regulates blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, often experienced during 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
However, consult with your doctor before consuming grapefruit during pregnancy to ensure that there is no food-drug intolerance.
If you are taking folic acid supplements, then overeating grapefruit may raise the folic acid level above the required levels.
A high level of folic acid may give rise to problems like abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, nausea, upset stomach, seizures, and gas, etc.
(2) Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc, in the grapefruit, protects our cells from free radical damage and reduces the risk of several cancers.
However, grapefruit can increase estrogen levels in the body ( by decreasing estrogen breakdown), and as per a study postmenopausal women who drank a quarter or more of grapefruit juice daily were 25 to 30% more likely to develop breast cancer in comparison to those who didn’t.
Interestingly, a 2008 study published in the “New York Times” found no link between grapefruit and increased breast cancer risk.
For the safe side, it is better to consume grapefruit in moderation and for any doubt consult with your doctor.
If you are on any medication, then talk with your doctor to reduce food-drug intolerance.
(3) Increased Hormone Sensitivity
Grapefruit increase estrogen level and increase risk of hormone-sensitive cancers and conditions.
Women with hormone sensitivity should avoid grapefruit to minimize the risk of hormone-sensitive cancers like breast cancer and prostate cancer, and hormone-sensitive conditions like mastodynia, breast fibroids, mammoplasty (breast enlargement), macromastia (breast hypertrophy), gynecomastia, and endometriosis, etc.
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(4) Grapefruit And Cardiovascular Problems
In general, grapefruit is good for our heart as vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like flavonoids and phytonutrients in grapefruit protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Dietary fibers in grapefruit reduce LDL cholesterol, and the potassium in it relieves hypertension.
Both LDL cholesterol and hypertension are known causes of several cardiovascular problems.
Despite these cardiovascular benefits, there are some contradictory points.
Grapefruit juice may enhance drug toxicity in certain heart failure drugs like carvedilol and antiarrhythmic drugs like amiodarone, quinidine, disopyramide, and propafenone.
If you are suffering from cardiovascular problems and/or taking medication for the same then you should consume grapefruit only after consulting with your doctor to ensure there’s no food-drug intolerance.
(5) Interaction With Certain Medications
Grapefruit provides many health and beauty benefits due to the abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, flavonoids, and dietary fibers, etc.
However, if you are on any medication then you should include grapefruit in your routine only after consulting with your doctor to avoid any food-drug intolerance.
As per FDA, grapefruit is known to interfere with several medications such as.
- Statin Drugs that lower cholesterol, such as Zocor (simvastatin) and Lipitor (atorvastatin).
- Organ-transplant rejection drugs, such as Sandimmune and Neoral (both cyclosporine).
- Corticosteroids that treat Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, such as Entocort EC and Uceris (both budesonide).
- Drugs that treat abnormal heart rhythms, such as Pacerone and Nexterone (both amiodarone).
- Drugs that treat hypertension, such as Procardia and Adalat CC (both nifedipine).
- Anti-anxiety drugs, such as buspirone.
- Antihistamines, such as Allegra (fexofenadine).
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(6) Increased Risk of Pectin-Induced Asthma
Pectin, a soluble dietary fiber in grapefruit provides several benefits like relieving constipation, improving digestive health, lowering cholesterol level, regulating blood sugar, and promoting weight loss, etc.
However, pectin is not suitable for individuals with pectin allergies.
If you have a pectin allergy or are allergic to cashews and pistachios, then you should avoid grapefruit as it may increase the risk of pectin-induced asthma, upset stomach, skin rashes, itching, irritation, swelling of lips and tongue, etc.
(7) Grapefruit And D-limonene Toxicity
Grapefruit provides many beauty benefits and is often added to cosmetic products like creams, lotions, and face packs.
Grapefruit seeds and rind contain D-limonene, a natural chemical.
D-limonene is not safe for individuals with D-limonene sensitivity as it may cause skin irritation, itching, and skin rashes when used externally on the skin.
Before using cosmetic products with grapefruit extract, do a patch test to ensure skin safety.
If you experience any reaction, consult with a dermatologist.
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(8) Interaction With Statin (Cholesterol Medication)
Statins are the prescription drugs used for lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
Grapefruit may interact with the statins, hinders their functionality, and increases the risk of developing side effects such as muscle breakdown, liver damage, digestive problems, increased blood sugar, neurological problems, joint pain, and muscular pain, etc.
(9) Interference With Weight Loss
Grapefruit helps in weight loss as it has a low caloric value of 42 calories per 100 grams and contains dietary fibers like pectin that control overeating, a known cause of obesity.
An abundance of water (about 88%) in the grapefruit also helps with weight loss.
For the weight loss benefit, you need to make grapefruit a part of your diet and not an extension.
If you are already fulfilling your calorie needs ( On an average 2500 calories for adult men and 2000 calories for adult women) through other food sources then overeating pears for weight loss may not be so beneficial.
On excessive consumption, dietary fibers in pears may interfere with food digestion and absorption of nutrients.
This leads to poor metabolism and fat accumulation.
A high level of natural sugars in the grapefruit promotes weight gain when consumed in excess.
(10) Side Effects of Eating Too Much Fiber
Dietary fibers in the grapefruit provide many benefits such as improving bowel movement, relieving constipation and digestive problems, lowering cholesterol levels, eliminating toxins, and regulating blood sugar, etc.
However, overeating grapefruit should be avoided as a high level of dietary fibers may cause problems like abdominal cramping, diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation, intestinal gas, and intestinal blockage, etc.
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This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.