Newswise — Early results from US researchers suggests that eating grapefruit really does help people lose weight, and could help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Writing in Chemistry & Industry Magazine, Marina Murphy reports on a pilot study of one hundred obese patients at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. The group who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 lb (1.6kg) over twelve weeks, compared with a placebo group who lost an average 0.5lb (0.2kg). Some patients lost as much as 10lbs. After the meal, the "grapefruit groups" also had reduced levels of insulin, the hormone which enables the body to metabolise sugars. Glucose levels were also lower, suggesting a more efficient sugar metabolism.

"This is the first study linking grapefruit with reduced insulin levels," says Ken Fujioka who led the group. The researchers say the weight loss is likely to be linked to the lower insulin level, and are considering future research to investigate whether this will be of use in diabetes prevention and treatment.

"This could be a potentially exciting discovery"¦ we'll be following any further research in this area closely" - Diabetes UK

Grapefruit is already known to affect the metabolism of some drugs. It improves the efficiency of common oral medications such as those taken for blood pressure, sedatives and some immuno-suppressants.

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When pesticides might actually be good for youRecently WWF reported the results of their survey showing that there are tiny amounts of pesticides in most people's blood. But these chemicals might be doing us some good, according to Chemistry & Industry's Richard Butler. The "hormesis effect" could explain why farmers and others who are constantly exposed to pesticides have the lowest levels of cancer. The article looks at the work currently being done by toxicologists and drug researchers on hormesis, including new cancer drugs that deliberately trigger the body's defence mechanism. "More research will bring a greater understanding of this concept and with it, perhaps, a complete rethink of everything we think we know about toxicity."


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Chemistry & Industry Magazine 2 February 2004 (2-Feb-2004)