Tom Karst, National Editor "Drop the drugs. Keep the grapefruit.”
I love that reader comment after a Toronto Globe and Mail story about another warning about the interaction of grapefruits with modern medicine. By the way, haven’t we heard this song before?
Grapefruit has been taking public relation hits from researchers since 1989 on the effects of the fruit and its juices on prescription meds.
Looking in library of The Packer, I was somewhat surprised to find this news item from a Packer story in 1996. It read:
“Grapefruit could change the way we take prescription drugs in the future. University of Michigan scientists are studying how the fruit helps the human body absorb medicine more efficiently.
“Grapefruit juice has been found to increase the body’s ability to absorb many common medications, including blood pressure drugs.”
Trying to create a positive spin on grapefruit’s interaction with medicines was an attempt to make lemonade out of the bitter news, perhaps.
But that complicated, mind-bending approach probably won’t stand in face of such dire warnings that we are seeing publicized now in Canada.
The Globe and Mail story reports a warning from the Canadian Medical Association that states eating a grapefruit or consuming its juices while taking a wide range of prescription medications could soon lead to “gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney failure, depressed breathing and sudden death.”
What’s more, the article implicates other citrus, including seville oranges, limes and pomelos, but researchers note “they aren’t as well-studied.”
Old people take medicine, and the perception is that mostly old people eat grapefruit. For grapefruit growers, that’s a market-killing combination.
Medical warnings, freezes, citrus canker, citrus greening and more medical warnings.
Not surprisingly, the per capita consumption of grapefruit in the U.S. has fallen off the kitchen table.
Check it out: The per capita consumption of all grapefruit was 19.7 pounds in 1976, including 9.3 pounds for fresh and 10.4 pounds of fruit used for grapefruit juice.
By 1995, the per capita consumption of grapefruit slid to 16.3 pounds, with 6 pounds consumed fresh and 10.3 pounds of farm weight grapefruit used for grapefruit juice.
The big drop has occurred in the past 15 years, with 2010 per-capita consumption at 6 pounds total, with 2.8 pounds fresh and a mere 3.2 pounds of farm weight grapefruit.