Where Did White Grapefruit Come From?
A relatively recent addition to the citrus family of fruit, the grapefruit was first spotted on the island of Barbados in 1750. A cross between a pommel and a Jamaican sweet orange, it was named for the way it grew in clusters like grapes. Called “the forbidden fruit” or the shaddock for most of its history, the grapefruit came to America in 1823.Unlike other earlier citrus fruits–the orange, the lemon, and the lime–it received a rather cold reception.
Although swimming in citrus at the time, most fruit lovers in Florida found the grapefruit to be too sour to enjoy on a regular basis. As a result, it was not widely planted when the Florida citrus industry was rapidly expanding. In fact, the grapefruit was considered an exotic novelty fruit until the late 1920s.
The original white grapefruit was joined by a pink and later a red variety that was much sweeter than its predecessors. The discovery of these new shades caught the public's imagination and helped the little-known fruit become a supermarket staple. White grapefruit also became a popular diet food in the 1930s, both in fresh and juice form.
Where are we now?
Even though it is only an import, the U.S. is easily the world's leading producer of grapefruit, with around one-third of the global supply. Grown mostly in Florida, grapefruit remain one of the most popular diet foods on Earth. Whether eaten or imbibed, the white variety is still the most popular one, even though it isn't nearly as sweet as the redder versions that are now available.
Why white grapefruit?
When it comes to the actual nutritional content, there really isn't much difference between a white, pink, or red grapefruit. All of them are low in calories, high in dietary fiber, and naturally fat and cholesterol free. The main reason some grapefruit lovers prefer white grapefruit to the sweeter varieties is that it is a bit sour and tart. This helps distinguish it from its much sweeter, more popular relative–the orange. It is also important to note that because it contains less sugar, white grapefruit also has fewer calories than pink or red varieties.
Is it better for you?
It really does depend why you're eating it. As a diet food, it seems fairly obvious that white is better than pink or red because it can help you cut more calories. White grapefruit is also just as juicy and as filling as the other varieties, which makes it the better choice for dieters. With that said, only pink and red grapefruit contains lycopene, an antioxidant that may have anti-tumor properties.