What you need to know about the grapefruit diet

This is probably one of those diets that you haven’t heard a lot about. It’s extremely popular in America and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Of course, the one thing with this diet is that you need to be a lover of grapefruit or it isn’t going to work out.

grapefruit juice and fruit

There have been so many tried and tested diets that it’s hard to know which ones work and which ones don’t. So we’re going to assess the facts and let you know whether it will be worth it in the long run.

What is it?

It was first introduced in the 1930s and was popularized in the 1980s and nicknamed the 10 day, 10-pounds-off diet, more widely known as the Hollywood diet as it was popular among the stars. There was a 7-day and 21-day version that were both low calorie diets. It consisted of black coffee and half a grapefruit at each meal, with small amounts of salad and lean meat. The newer versions of the diet are 24-48 hour juice fasts that detoxify the body.

You have to cut back on sugar and carbs, avoid certain foods such as celery and white onion, eat more food that are high in protein, fat or cholesterol and eat grapefruit or grapefruit juice with every meal. Drink 8 glasses of water and 1 coffee per day. The calories can be a low as 800!

Does it work?

It seems very unlikely that it will work. If you lose any weight it is likely to be from cutting down on the calories and as soon as you start eating normally again you will gain the weight again.

The water in the grapefruit could make you feel full, leading to less calories being consumed from other foods. It won’t melt the fat away like traditional exercise and dieting.

Most likely you will be losing water weight, so technically you aren’t actually losing any body fat.

Is there any research out there?

In 2004 a study took place that lasted for 12 weeks and put 91 subjects into 4 groups. The first group was given a placebo capsule plus 7 ounces of apple juice before each meal. The second was given grapefruit capsules and 7 ounces of apple juice, just like the first group. The third group was given 8 ounces of grapefruit juice plus a placebo capsule. The last group was given ½ of a fresh grapefruit with a placebo capsule.

The results of the study was that at the end of the 12 weeks the subjects who received a form of grapefruit lost greater amounts of weight than those who only took the placebo. The group who took the fresh grapefruit lost the most weight. Not only did they take what was given to them, they also did 30-minute walks three times a week.

At a first glance it seems that taking grapefruit really does work but it could also be put down to the extra exercise per week.

What are the supposed benefits?

Lots of fruits and vegetables offer many health benefits and the same goes for grapefruit. Many have obviously suggested that it can decrease the risk of obesity, but it could also decrease the risk of diabetes and heart disease, whilst promoting a healthy complexion and increased energy.

Grapefruit offers a healthy dose of vitamin C, which is great for the immune system. It does also appear to be helpful in reducing hunger cravings, which could be due to the extra water in the grapefruit.

What do the experts say?

“Grapefruit has no special properties when it comes to weight loss,” says Elisabetta Politi, RD, nutrition manager of the Duke University’s Diet and Fitness Center. “You lose weight when you expend more calories than you take in.”

Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports-medicine nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, thinks the weight-loss benefits of grapefruit are overblown.

Researchers have looked at compounds in grapefruit that have health-promoting properties, particularly in terms of cancer reduction. But weight loss? This is really a stretch.

And forget the grapefruit capsules, she says. “There’s no way that what’s in that pill is going to mimic the same phytochemical makeup of a grapefruit.”


The verdict? It seems that the grapefruit diet will not help you shed the pounds quickly, if at all. Your best bet is to exercise and incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle.

Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.

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