Another day, another diet. There are probably as many diets in the world as there are days in a year. And fad diets always seem to captivate people who are searching for nutrition guidance. That’s why we want to provide you with the info you need to learn about what diets are safe and sustainable and which ones may not be. This week we’re focusing on the grapefruit diet.
The grapefruit diet’s intent is fast weight loss. It’s a short term dietary regime where you eat grapefruit with every meal. Your other meals include eggs and protein-rich meats. Fat is also a factor in the diet, along with some vegetables.
The principles behind this don’t appear particularly promising. Eating grapefruit with every meal should do nothing more than add a grapefruit-worth of calories to the dish. However, this citrus fruit contains fat-burning enzymes, so results could be plausible.
We’ll explore the following in this ultimate grapefruit guide:
- What is the grapefruit diet?
- Grapefruit benefits.
- Pros and cons of the grapefruit diet,
- Grapefruit diet: daily meal plan.
- Does the grapefruit diet work?
Table of Contents
What Is Grapefruit Diet?
There are variations of this diet. We’ll focus on the most popular version.
The grapefruit diet is a meal plan where you consume grapefruit products and protein-rich foods for every meal. Unlike many diets, which are lifestyle changes (paleo, keto, vegan), this plan only lasts 12 days.
However, with this diet, you consume less than 1,000 calories per day. Some suggest around 800 a day, but we recommend sticking as close to the upper limit as you can. You should also drink plenty of water (and one tea or coffee) per day to help you feel full.
This is most likely where the extreme weight loss comes in—a significant caloric deficit.
That said, grapefruit can help you lose weight. This study shows that a group who consumed grapefruit lost more weight than groups who didn’t.
But in 12 days, a lot of the weight loss will likely be water weight—you’re cutting out a lot of what makes you retain fluids, like carbs.
This isn’t likely to be a diet whose results you can sustain, unless you follow it up by another program with a general lifestyle change for weight loss.
Besides rapid results on the grapefruit diet, what other benefits do grapefruits contain?
Weight Loss Benefits
The main plus point is weight loss and faster metabolism. The latter comes from the vitamin C content in grapefruit. The former is from the alleged fat-burning enzymes, but the increase in metabolism may have more to do with it.
This essential nutrient is also linked to lower body fat overall in the long term, not just on these short, fad diets.
Other Grapefruit Benefits
- It’s low calorie, so it fits right in with the diet.
- Great grapefruit nutrition, to make up for some of what you’re missing on your restrictive diet—it contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, protein and fiber.
- May boost the immune system.
- Controls your appetite.
- Regulates insulin levels.
- The fiber content can improve heart health.
- Could prevent kidney stones.
Pros and Cons of the Grapefruit Diet
So far, there seems to be very little wrong with this diet. There may be limited research, but the results are positive. Especially surrounding vitamin C—the benefits of that by itself are a great addition to any diet.
However, these pros are balanced out by a few cons.
Side Effects of Grapefruit Diet
Luckily the side effects don’t come from the grapefruit itself—it’s only the medication interactions that do.
The grapefruit diet is incredibly restrictive, as you’re sticking to under 1,000 calories. The side effects of not eating enough are:
- Lack of energy and fatigue.
- Decrease in metabolic rate.
- Fertility issues in women, and possibly in men.
- Weakened bones, putting you at a greater risk for fractures.
- Lowered immune system—therefore, potentially canceling out the effects of the grapefruit on your natural defences.
- Hair loss.
- Heightened risk of constant hunger and cravings, if the grapefruit’s fiber doesn’t fill you enough.
- Poor quality of sleep, paired with a lowered mood.
- Feeling cold.
Thankfully, some of these side effects are only on long-term super-restrictive diets. Others are only associated with extreme calorie restrictions—for example, the cold coming to women who consume 400 calories a day.
Regardless of that, undereating remains a risky thing to do and can turn out to be problematic.
More cons point towards the medications that grapefruit clashes with. These are according to the FDA. The way the grapefruit interacts varies.
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs like atorvastatin, pravastatin and simvastatin.
- Medication for blood pressure, nifedipine.
- Anxiety medications.
- Drugs for preventing your body from rejecting organs after a transplant.
- Certain medicines to regulate heart rhythm.
Grapefruit Diet: Daily Meal Plan
It may be challenging for you to figure out what to eat on such a restrictive diet. You know you need grapefruit, but what else? Protein-rich foods, such as …?
To help, we’ve created a meal plan for you to show you the types of food you should be eating with the grapefruit.
- Two eggs, boiled, for the protein content.
- Two slices of bacon, for the fat.
- Half a grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit juice—grapefruit in its pure form is best.
- Salad, preferably with the dressing of your choice.
- Any meat, as much as you like—keep the 1,000 calorie goal in mind.
- Half a grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit juice.
- Meat, as much as you like. Again, the type doesn’t matter.
- Salad or vegetables—opt for green and red colors.
- Your choice of grapefruit or grapefruit juice.
- Tea or coffee—coffee is a thermogenic fat burner, as is green tea.
- One glass of skimmed milk.
Does the Grapefruit Diet Work?
With the facts in place, you have to wonder whether this works or not. That’s a tricky thing to figure out.
You will lose weight on this diet. The calorie restriction ensures that.
Grapefruit does have some fat-burning properties.
But you’re eating far less than usual, which will be the leading contender in weight loss. Drinking plenty of fluids may also help you curb hunger with the reduced food intake, plus grapefruit has a high water content.
So yes, it’s possible the diet works—but it’s not sustainable and too restrictive. You won’t have time to lose a ton of body fat, and you may gain it all back when you resume regular eating patterns.
In short, the diet could be ideal for slimming down before an event, but not to lose weight for the long term.
If you like this article, check out our other diet guides:
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