Having a grapefruit vs orange debate? Understandable! They are both are such great fruits. Oranges have more calories, protein, carbs, fiber, and sugar than grapefruits, but grapefruits have more lipids.

Vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9 are all found in greater abundance in oranges. Grapefruits, on the other hand, have a substantially greater vitamin A content. Oranges have more iron, calcium, potassium, and copper than grapefruits, while grapefruits have more phosphorus.

Oranges and grapefruits are both called functional foods because they have properties that help protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Grapefruits and grapefruit juice, on the other hand, should be used with caution since they may interact with some drugs.

Orange Lemonade

Grapefruit Smoothie

Grapefruit vs orange

In many respects, oranges and grapefruits are similar. Both plants are members of the Rutaceae family and the Citrus genus. Here, we’ll look at how to make an informed decision between the two, based mostly on the variations in nutrition and health impact.

Oranges and grapefruits are both crossbreeds of citrus fruits. Grapefruit is a cross between pomelo and sweet oranges, whilst orange is a cross between pomelo and mandarin. Oranges, on the other hand, have been around for considerably longer, first appearing in Chinese literature in 314 BC (1).

Seville Orange

Grapefruits, on the other hand, were termed the “forbidden fruit” of Barbados when they were first identified in 1750 (2).

Grapefruits grow in bunches on trees, similar to grapes, and hence the name “grapefruit” was coined. Another explanation is that grapefruits have been mistaken for pomelos; because pomelos are known as Citrus maxima, which means “great fruit,” they have been mislabeled as “grapefruit.”

These fruits have a similar appearance on the outside. Grapefruits are often bigger and heavier than oranges. The pulp of the most popular grapefruits, ruby red grapefruits, is generally a deeper pinkish-orange tint.

closeup pile of oranges

Citrus nutrition

Although these fruits have comparable macronutrient profiles, oranges have slightly more protein, carbs (including sugars and fiber), and calories, while grapefruits have slightly more lipids. Both fruits are naturally cholesterol-free.

All of the necessary amino acids may be found in oranges and grapefruits in varying levels.

The glycemic index of these fruits varies significantly. Oranges and grapefruits both have a low glycemic index, although the glycemic index of oranges can be double that of grapefruits.

If you’re on a low-carb or low-calorie diet, grapefruit is the better option out of these two fruits. In a low-fat diet, however, oranges come out on top.

Citrus vitamins

Oranges provide more vitamins in general, with higher levels of vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B9. Grapefruits, on the other hand, have a substantially greater vitamin A content.

Both fruits are high in vitamin B5 but are deficient in vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin B12.

What Vitamins Are In Grapefruit?

Citrus minerals

Most minerals are also higher in oranges. They have increased iron, calcium, and potassium contents. Grapefruits, on the other hand, contain a higher concentration of phosphorus.

Magnesium and zinc content in oranges and grapefruits are almost the same. Both fruits are devoid of salt.

Cardiovascular health benefits

A relationship between flavonoid-rich food consumption and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality has been discovered in several epidemiological research. Citrus fruits, particularly oranges and grapefruit, contain flavonoids of high nutritional value.

Myocardial infarction, dyslipidemia, and coronary artery disease are among conditions that flavonoids can help avoid.

Vitamin C is another naturally occurring component in both fruits. A strong link has been discovered between high vitamin C intake and reduced cardiovascular mortality, as well as an inverse connection with inflammatory indicators (6).

Fresh red grapefruit supplementation improves blood lipid levels in all fractions, particularly triglycerides, while also boosting plasma antioxidant activity. Fresh red grapefruit might be useful for hyperlipidemic individuals, particularly hypertriglyceridemic patients with coronary atherosclerosis, if added to standard diets. Furthermore, fresh red grapefruit has much greater quantities of bioactive chemicals and antioxidant potential than blond grapefruit (7).

Meal-induced oxidative and inflammatory stress, including increases in endotoxin and toll-like receptor (TLR) expression, was reduced by drinking orange juice with a high fat and high carbohydrate meal. This knowledge might assist in understanding the mechanisms causing postprandial oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, and the role that orange juice can play in these processes (8).

Citrus fruit eating may also help to prevent cerebrovascular illnesses including ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage.

assorted whole and cut citrus fruits


Foods with a low glycemic index include oranges and grapefruits. Grapefruits, in particular, have a low glycemic index of 25, making them ideal for diabetics. Fruit, especially those high in fiber and water, can help persons with metabolic syndrome manage their weight gain by including it in their meals.

In one study, those who consumed grapefruit, grapefruit pills, or grapefruit juice lost much more weight than those who took a placebo. In comparison to the placebo group, the grapefruit group had a significantly lower 2-hour post-glucose insulin level.

The consumption of half a fresh grapefruit before meals was linked to considerable weight reduction. Grapefruit products had the same impact on metabolic syndrome patients.

Fresh grapefruit helped to lower insulin resistance. Despite the fact that the mechanism of weight loss is uncertain, it is sensible to include grapefruit in a weight-loss diet (10).

According to one study, grapefruit and orange juice help manage glucose levels in experimental animals and can be used clinically to help people with diabetes and decrease cholesterol levels.

Compared to diabetic control animals, diabetic animals fed with orange and grapefruit had lower blood glucose levels. The key compounds responsible for this action are naringenin and vitamin C, both of which have been shown to have glucose and cholesterol-lowering qualities due to their significant antioxidant capabilities. All antioxidants may have a synergistic impact, allowing the pancreas’ B-cells to release more insulin (11).

Citruses and cancer

There has been several research on the link between citrus intake and cancer. The majority of research finds that citrus fruit intake protects against digestive and upper respiratory tract malignancies, exhibiting a substantial benefit even with moderate citrus consumption.

Vitamin C and flavonoids are thought to be the compounds responsible for these benefits. Both defend against oxidative damage, reduce the production of carcinogens, and preserve DNA from damage since they are powerful antioxidants.

Flavonoids also have antiproliferative and antiangiogenic properties. The anticancer properties of the pectin protein found in citrus fruits are attributable to its capacity to prevent the carbohydrate-binding of galectin-3, which is required for tumor cell growth and metastasis, as well as its immunomodulatory capabilities (14).

According to an Australian analysis, 48 studies indicated a statistically significant preventive benefit of citrus foods against cancer, with another 21 studies suggesting a non-significant tendency toward protection. Four studies found no impact, while four others found that eating citrus fruits raised cancer risk considerably, with three more indicating a similar but non-significant trend.

Possible lowered cancer risk

Increased citrus consumption appears to offer the best protection against esophageal, oropharyngeal/laryngeal (mouth, larynx, and throat) and stomach cancers. Citrus fruits were shown to reduce the incidence of these malignancies by 40-50 percent in trials that indicated a protective effect.

If a person is allergic to one citrus fruit, they should avoid all citrus fruits in most situations. Citrus fruits include allergies that are not particular to one fruit but to all of them. Lipid transfer proteins, profilin, and pectin are among them, as is limonene, which causes contact dermatitis.

Citrus allergies have symptoms that are similar to those of other food allergies. This can include nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea, and oral allergy syndrome, which can include swelling, itching, burning, or redness in the mouth region, as well as anaphylaxis in rare situations. In persons who are sensitive to the chemical limonene, citrus fruit can induce contact dermatitis (16).

Citrus allergies can also react to other common allergens including pollen, apples, and peaches (17, 18).
Citric acid sensitivity is not considered a component of citrus allergy because the acid does not trigger an immunological response in the body (19). Citrus fruits, on the other hand, might have harmful effects in persons who are sensitive to citric acid.

Pink grapefruits on white background

Grapefruit and medication

When grapefruit juice is taken with certain drugs, it might pose a health threat. Grapefruit juice and grapefruits, can interact negatively with medications used for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. Some of these drugs include calcium channel blockers, statins, immunosuppressants, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and more. 

These effects are thought to be caused by a chemical called furanocoumarin, which may also be found in Seville (sour) oranges.

As a result, grapefruit juice increases the bioavailability of some medicines, potentially posing a major risk to people taking the treatments. Switching from grapefruit juice to orange juice is recommended for these people.

Sildenafil, widely known as Viagra, is a regularly used medicine that grapefruit juice enhances. Grapefruit juice should be avoided by men who use Viagra since it might cause symptoms such as headaches, flushing, and low blood pressure (21).

Learn more about citruses:

  1. Lemon Water
  2. Cucumber Lemon Water
  3. How to Tell If Lemon Is Ripe?
  4. Ugli Fruit
  5. Lime Water
  6. How Long Does Grapefruit Last

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