For years now, we have heard people talking about the so-called grapefruit diet. Other than grapefruit being the focus of attention, we knew little to nothing about this diet. So, we decided to change that. To do that, we made sure to read everything that there is to know about this popular diet. Our next step, of course, is to share that knowledge with you. In the following, we will discuss whether or not it is possible to lose weight by eating grapefruit with every meal.
What is the Grapefruit Diet?
The grapefruit diet is one of the first so-called fad diets. Did you know that it was the 1930s when this diet plan first appeared? It is also known by the name of the Hollywood diet (1). What exactly is a fad diet, you ask? The term fad diet refers to diet plans that promote quite a weight loss results. However, doctors often have a problem with such diet plans. The reason for that is because of the fact that the majority of the fad diets restrict much-needed, nutrient-rich foods. By doing so, they expose you to several health risks and issues (2).
This diet plan, however, although being a true fad diet avoids any unwanted health risks (3). We sense a bit of confusion here and that is completely fine. You see, the grapefruit diet does promise great weight loss results in a short amount of time. Knowing that it is the perfect solution that makes you feel and look great for a big upcoming event. Whether it is a wedding, a birthday, or a job interview, this diet plan can help you achieve your goals.
The grapefruit diet, as the term suggests, focuses on eating grapefruits. While on the grapefruit diet, you are supposed to eat this fruit or drink its juice with every meal. This does not sound hard, does it not? It’s because it’s not hard at all! In return, you will remove the excess body pounds in as little as 12 days. But the question remains – Is this diet safe? Is there any actual scientific proof to support these claims? What do people have to say about the grapefruit diet?
Foods to Eat While on the Grapefruit Diet
At the beginning of the article, we made it pretty clear that you are supposed to add grapefruit or its juice to every meal. But how much grapefruit do you need? Although there are different guidelines, the general rule is to eat half a grapefruit or drink 8 ounces of its juice (4).
Some people even like to use grapefruit powder in capsule form. We, however, would advise you on skipping this option. It is far a better idea to take advantage of all of the natural nutrients found in grapefruit. Plus, grapefruit is incredibly delicious and refreshing. Ultimately, whatever form of grapefruit you end up choosing, do remember to consume it prior to the rest of the meal.
Some forms of the grapefruit diet recommend eating two eggs and two stipes of bacon each morning. You can, of course, experiment with different preparation methods to keep things interesting. So, at least we know that eggs and bacon are allowed.
For lunch and dinner, you are supposed to eat meat and a salad. Now, there is no recommended serving nor limitation as to which meat should you choose. This means that you can choose from fish, chicken, beef, pork, or whatever meat you love the most. There is no limitation to the salad serving as well, nor its ingredients. This allows you a lot of freedom (5).
You can combine different veggies to get the most out of their nutrients. Whether it is leafy greens, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and even pumpkin, the choice is up to you. Speaking of salads, salad dressings are allowed too. However, we would advise you to stick to homemade salad dressings to avoid unnecessary carbs, unhealthy fats, and empty calories. If you are not in the mood for a salad, you can always cook your veggies too. You can choose to roast, stir, or boil them, as preferred.
Many of us like to snack on fruit throughout the day. This, however, is a bit controversial idea when it comes to the grapefruit diet. It is worth mentioning that some forms of the diet plan allow including additional fruits other than grapefruit. Then again, some forms exclude all other fruits.
Whole grains are a big no-no. In fact, this is what makes the grapefruit diet as restrictive as it is. The consummation of dairy products depends entirely on the exact version that you have chosen. Some versions allow the use of Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and milk. In fact, almost every version includes drinking 8 ounces of skim milk as a bedtime snack.
As for beverages, there are three allowed drinks. You are, of course, recommended to drink at least 8 ounces of water each day. This may additionally help curb your hunger and reduce the number of calories during the meal. You may also drink coffee and tea as well. Keep in mind that refined sugars are forbidden and so, you may want to use a natural sweetener such as stevia. No alcohol is allowed during the grapefruit diet. Some versions allow replacing the bedtime skim milk with tomato juice if preferred.
Does It Work?
What makes the grapefruit diet different from other popular fad diets is that this one actually works. And mind you, we are not saying this without having some actual scientific research to back up our claims. In fact, we will discuss the results of several scientific studies that back up these claims. But first, let’s discuss how exactly is the grapefruit diet supposed to help you lose weight.
1. Grapefruit is low in calories and yet incredibly nutritious.
There is no denying the fact that grapefruit is a healthy, nutrient-rich food that fits right into our diet. But did you also know that this is one of the lowest-calorie fruits on the face of the Earth? Half of a medium-sized grapefruit is packed with as little as 52 calories (6). This makes it the perfect snack but also, a great addition to any meal when you feel that you are missing some key nutrients.
Several nutrients are found as well. Half a grapefruit carries 13 carbs which is not bad at all, considering that it has up to 2 grams fiber. It also has 1 gram protein and way too many important vitamins. Vitamin A, Thiamine, Folate, and Vitamin C are all contained in our beloved grapefruit. Its Vitamin C content is actually the most impressive thing about it. Half a medium-sized grapefruit has enough Vitamin C to satisfy as much as 64% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C (7).
Magnesium and potassium are present as well. Other than Vitamin C, grapefruit offers additional antioxidants. Lycopene, beta-carotene, and several flavanones are found in grapefruit. All of these fight the oxidative stress and free radicals in your body, thus improving several aspects of your mental and physical health (8).
And let’s not forget about all of the nutrients that the different veggies that you will need to eat while on the grapefruit diet. You can choose your favorite veggies and get the nutrients that you need with quite ease. You will also get enough protein from dairy products and meat. Protein is very important as well. So, you see, with the grapefruit diet, you get all the carbs, protein, fiber, and other nutrients that you need to lose weight and stay healthy.
2. Grapefruit promotes appetite suppression.
We mentioned grapefruit offering a decent amount of fiber. Those 4 grams of fiber found in a whole medium-sized grapefruit will come in handy when it comes to curbing your appetite (9, 10). One of the things that we struggle with the most while trying to lose weight is almost unbearable hunger. After all, we are doing some serious diet changes that we are not used to. So, naturally, it will take some time for your body to get used to the calorie deficit in order to lose weight.
But because of these feelings, many of us face cravings, especially late in the night. You may have spent the whole day eating healthy and yet end up binge eating a whole bag of chips. This is where all of that fiber comes in handy.
Science has shown that high-fiber foods work great at promoting feelings of fullness. Fiber works by slowing down your digestion (11). To do that, mixed with water, it creates sort of an extra layer that lines the inside of the gut. This slows down the rate at which your stomach empties, thus you end up feeling full for a longer period of time.
But that is not all. We mentioned all of the veggies and protein that you need to eat while on the grapefruit diet. Veggies, too, are rich sources of fiber that will strengthen the appetite suppression offered by grapefruit. And so will the protein as well. Protein-rich foods have been scientifically proven to aid weight loss. Besides, by adding lots of fiber and protein to your diet, you will never feel hungry and in return, you will feel energized and lose weight.
3. Grapefruit is great at hydrating your body.
Grapefruit is made out of 92% water. With such an impressive water content, grapefruit is actually the most hydrating fruit of them all. Yes, you read that right. Grapefruit has even more water than watermelon.
Our entire body needs enough water to survive. Everybody function depends on our water intake. Knowing that, by eating so much grapefruit, you will never feel dehydrated ever again. Plus, we mentioned the water being of the few allowed drinks in the grapefruit diet. With all of this water, weight loss is unavoidable. Water too, like fiber and protein, has the power to curb hunger. In fact, drinking as much as two glasses of water before a meal is a scientifically-proven weight-loss method (12).
What Does Science Have to Say About It?
As we mentioned earlier, multiple scientific studies prove just how effective the grapefruit diet is. According to research published in Metabolism, the daily consummation of grapefruit with every meal has led to smaller waist size (13).
Another 2014 study showed that a smaller waist is not the only benefit of this diet plan. Other than their waist, participants have seen a noticeable change in their BMI index and body weight. These results were measured among consumers of grapefruit and compared to the results of non-consumers. Non-consumers, of course, experienced little to no changes in any of these aspects (14).
A 12-week pilot study came to a similar conclusion. Dr. Ken Fujioka, who led the study, paid attention to factors such as weight and insulin secretion in 100 participants who followed the grapefruit diet. Half of the participants were eating grapefruit while the rest of them drank grapefruit juice (15).
The majority of the participants managed to lose as much as 10 pounds in 12 weeks. There was, however small, a difference in the results. Those who ate grapefruit managed to lose 3.6 pounds as compared to those who drank grapefruit juice and lost 3.3 pounds. This study finally proved that the grapefruit diet does support and induce weight loss.
Is It Safe?
While there is no doubt in our mind when we say that the grapefruit diet helps you lose weight, there are some concerns that we would like to share. First, let’s discuss the recommended calorie intake that comes with the grapefruit diet. The guidelines recommend limiting your calorie intake to no more than 800-1,000 per day. Compared to that, the US Department of Agriculture recommends a calorie intake of at least 1,800 per day.
While there may not be great harm done when following the grapefruit diet short-term, this diet plan is in no way recommended for long-term use. According to WebMD, a very low-calorie diet for 4-16 weeks results in constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, and nausea, among other side-effects (16). Knowing this, we would not recommend the grapefruit diet for longer than 10-14 days.
Next, you need to know that grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with several different medications. Grapefruit contains a class of chemicals known by the name of furanocoumarins. Science suggests that these chemicals can increase the blood levels of over 85 different medications (17).
These chemicals then proceed to slow down the breakdown process that happens in the gut and the liver. This can result in an increased number of side-effects and even quite a few complications. But grapefruit can also reduce the drug’s effectiveness like in the case of antihistamines. Please do consult your doctor in case you are using any of the following medications:
- High blood pressure drugs;
- High cholesterol drugs;
- Anti-anxiety drugs;
- Thyroid medications;
- Organ-transplant drugs, etc.
Today’s topic is one of the most popular fad diets – the famous grapefruit diet. In today’s article, we reveal whether it is possible to transform your body by relying on grapefruits. And if it is, how exactly do grapefruits help support weight loss.