Warnings about grapefruit show up on some prescription drugs, as it can interfere with certain medicines. Now University of Florida researchers are developing a tasty grapefruit that wonâ€™t come with a warning.
Doctors often warn patients who take heart and blood pressure medication not to eat grapefruit, but the fruitâ€™s image could be changing. Now researchers have created a grapefruit hybrid that wonâ€™t interfere with medicine. Experts say the key lies in controlling for a family of chemicals in the fruit called â€śfuranocoumarin.â€ť
Fred Gmitter/UF citrus genetics researcher: â€śThere are certain relatives of grapefruit that we call Pomelo, some of which are very, very low or have no furanocoumarins in them at all. And weâ€™ve crossed these with ordinary grapefruit. And learned that itâ€™s a trait under simple genetic control. Thereâ€™s a single gene that appears to control this characteristic and so we can select in the hybrid families that we make, we can select individuals that do not have this chemical.â€ť
The furanocoumarin levels in these new hybrid fruits are actually lower than what you would find in foods such as lemons and celery, which naturally carry the chemical.
Fred Gmitter/UF citrus genetics researcher: â€śDoctors donâ€™t generally tell their patients not to drink lemonade or not to eat celery. So these should be safer, as safe or safer than lemons or celery.â€ť
Itâ€™ll still take time to get the new hybrids to market, so consumers can eat grapefruit free of worries about drug interactions or warning labels.