Dietribes: Grapefruit

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• Grapefruit, like all citrus fruit, is a Hesperidum: a large modified berry with a thick rind. If you see grapefruit growing on a tree, you will notice that they grow in clusters that resemble the shape of large yellow grapes, likely giving it its name. As for origins, most botanists agree that the grapefruit is a cross between a Pummelo and a sweet orange.

• In 1929, A. E. Henninger spotted something new – a limb of red grapefruit growing on a pink grapefruit tree. Before then, grapefruit in Texas and elsewhere were either white or pink inside. Five years later, his “Ruby Red” received the first U.S. patent awarded to a grapefruit.

• Grapefruit is harvested by hand and eaten by spoon. And somewhere in between, the waste from grapefruit packing plants has long been converted into molasses for cattle.

• Grapefruit peel is candied and is an important source of pectin for the preservation of other fruits. Naringin, extracted from the inner peel, is used as a bitter in "tonic" beverages, bitter chocolate, ice cream and ices. It may also cause the liver to break down fat while increasing insulin sensitivity, a process that naturally occurs during long periods of fasting, giving rise to the idea of a Grapefruit diet.
• Ladies, want to look younger? All you need is citrus. According to the Smell and Taste Institute of Chicago, banana, lavender and other odors made no difference when it comes to men's perception of female age. But the smell of grapefruit caused men to believe that women were, on average, about six years younger than they are. However, the reverse is not true - women were not fooled by the scent on men.

• Now, men, here is one for you - Bruce Willis has a cologne: "Straight down the line, masculine and unconventional. The fragrance of action heroes: strong sandalwood and spicy pepper mixed together with earthy vetiver and revitalising grapefruit. Bruce Willis’ first fragrance – now a legend." Erm … ok! The point is, it has grapefruit in it.

• Though grapefruit extract can help to heal stomach ulcers, research suggests eating actual grapefruit every day could raise the risk of developing breast cancer by almost a third!

• Grapefruit juice has long been known to increase the absorption of certain drugs (for example, drugs used to lower cholesterol, like Lipitor, Mevacor and Zocor, have increased potency when taken with grapefruit juice) — with the potential for turning normal doses into toxic overdoses. Now, the researcher who first identified this interaction is reporting new evidence that grapefruit and other common fruit juices, including orange and apple, can do the opposite effect by substantially decreasing the absorption of other drugs, potentially wiping out their beneficial effects.
• This baby tasting grapefruit juice for the first time is a pretty accurate portrayal of my current reaction to grapefruit. Minus the falling over part.

• But what about you, Flossers? Do you love or loathe grapefruit?

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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January 11, 2012 - 7:09am
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