Blogathon 2009: Things you didn’t know about grapefruit.

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While looking up examples I felt were “typical” of Digg (and thus, not random in any way, which probably dilutes my point), I found this highly questionable post: Grapefruit diet almost cost woman her leg.

It suggests a correlation between grapefruit consumption and DVT, deep vein thrombosis, the clotting disorder known to be triggered by sitting for extended periods of time:

Grapefruit juice is known to block the action of an enzyme called CYP3A4 which breaks down the contraceptive hormone oestrogen. This in turn boosts levels of coagulability — the tendency of blood to clot.

However, it also mentions this detail:

The physicians found she had taken a relatively long car journey, of about an hour and a half, the day before; took a daily dose of oestrogen oral contraceptives; and had a genetic variant, called the factor V Leiden mutation, which is linked to a blood-clot disorder.

Yeah, sorry, I’m not convinced it played a huge role. Sure, given all those other risk factors, she definitely shouldn’t have been eating them, but I’m still skeptical.

So. What the heck? Why am I talking about this, anyway? Curiously enough,

This came in handy when I saw a post on Twitter by fellow C/Kate and internet marketer, Kate Trgovac:

@CatherineWinters Just donated $35 to CCS on behalf of your #blogathon efforts! Requesting post on Little Known Facts about Grapefruit :)

Which was fortuitous, because I’m @CatherineOmega on Twitter.[1]

And now, Little Known Facts about Grapefruit:


Believed to be a hybrid of the orange and the pomelo, the grapefruit was discovered by Western science in Barbados in the 18th Century.

Because of its recent cultivation and exposure to the world, it’s known by a range of completely unrelated names, even in closely-related languages: grapefruit, toronja, pamplemousse. (Compare this to the etymology of the word (and colour!) “orange”:

c.1300, from O.Fr. orenge (12c.), from M.L. pomum de orenge, from It. arancia, originally narancia (Venetian naranza), alt. of Arabic naranj, from Pers. narang, from Skt. naranga-s “orange tree,” of uncertain origin.

At least one study has indicated grapefruit scent may make women seem more appealing to men. (You said little-known, not helpful, Kate.)

This 1931 article in the Victoria Advocate, a paper from Texas, indicated that the grapefruit was met with significant skepticism when introduced to consumers in France.

The article notes that grapefruit are familiar to Americans and will surely become a staple of the French diet. I can’t comment on the latter, but the grapefruit was as well-known in 1931 as to be featured in this famous (and violent!) scene with James Cagney in The Public Enemy:

And that may actually be everything I know/remember/can Google about grapefruit. Hopefully it was informative!

So, as promised, a donation to Canada Cancer Society gets you a post on a topic of your choice. Sometimes they don’t start out all complaining about the accuracy of pop-science articles.

Thanks for your donation, Kate!

[1] Now I’m <a href=“’>both.

One Response to “Blogathon 2009: Things you didn’t know about grapefruit.”

  1. AnneDroid

    You mentioned a number of good or neutral things about Greapefruit. You didn’t mention the downsides.

    For me, the only real one is its flavor. It’s way too bitter for me (I’m bitter enough without it ;).
    Second, it’s extremely acidic — if you’ve ever tried the “lemon battery” experiment (like this one), using a grapefruit can produce as much or more power.
    Possibly the scariest drawback is eating grapefruit while on Statin-based (cholesterol-lowering) drugs can be deadly!