The grapefruit diet, also known as the Hollywood Diet and erroneously as the Mayo Clinic Diet, is a short-term fad diet that has existed in the United States since at least the 1930s. The diet is based on the claim that grapefruit has a fat-burning enzyme or similar property. The variations of the grapefruit diet that are too low in calories (below 1200 calories a day), carbs or essential micronutrients are considered unhealthy and potentially dangerous.While eating half a grapefruit with every meal may be a good way to incorporate more fruit in the diet of a healthy person, grapefruit and grapefruit juice is harmful if the dieter is taking medications that can interact with grapefruit juice or is allergic to citruses.

The grapefruit is a marvelous fruit – a natural simple carbohydrate high in fiber and vitamin C. But to use it as the sole foundation of a weight loss program is unwise. However recent research has discovered that the grapefruit has more to it than meets the eye.

The grapefruit diet is a low-carb diet. It suggests that grapefruit helps burn body fat when eaten with foods high in dietary fat, which is why the grapefruit diet encourages consumption of meat, eggs and other foods that are rich in fat and protein. A typical breakfast menu usually includes bacon and eggs. The grapefruit diet restricts consumption of carbohydrates by eliminating sugar, sweet fruits and vegetables, grains and cereals. The grapefruit diet lasts for 10 to 12 days followed by 2 days off.

Grapefruit Diet -12 Day Meal Plan

12 days on – 2 days off

Breakfast
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
2 Eggs (any style)
2 Slices Bacon
Lunch
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
Meat (any style, any amount)
Salad (any kind of dressing)
Dinner
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
Meat (any style, any amount) (fish may be substituted for meat)
Vegetables (any green, yellow, or red vegetables cooked in butter or any seasoning)
Bed Time Snack
1 glass tomato juice or 1 glass Skim milk
Vegetables Allowed
Red onions, green onions, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, peas.
Vegetables to Avoid
White onions, potatoes, celery.

Instructions

  1. At any meal you may eat until you are full – until you can’t eat any more.
  2. Don’t eliminate anything from the diet, especially don’t skip bacon at breakfast or omit salads. It is the combination of foods that burn fat.
  3. The grapefruit is important because it acts as a catalyst that starts the burning process.
  4. Cut down on caffeine- it affects the insulin balance that hinders the burning process. Try to limit to 1 cup per meal at mealtime.
  5. Don’t eat between meals. If you eat the combination of food suggested you will not be hungry.
  6. Note that the diet completely eliminates sugar and starches, which the body stores excess in the form of fat. It doesn’t eliminate fat since fat doesn’t form fat; it helps burn it. You can fry food in butter and use butter generously on vegetables.
  7. Do not eat desserts, bread, and white vegetables or sweet potatoes. You may double or triple helpings of meat, salad, or vegetables. Eat until you are stuffed. The more you eat of the proper combination of food, the more you lose.

This sounds amazing!

The study included 100 obese people who were divided into three groups. The first group ate half a grapefruit before each meal three times a day. The second group drank grapefruit juice before each meal. The third group received no grapefruit. No other changes were made to their diets.

After 12 weeks, those participants who ate grapefruit with each meal lost, on average 3.6lb. Only a third of a pound a week, but pretty good considering they didn’t make any other changes to their diet. Meanwhile, those who drank grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3lb in the 12 weeks. By comparison, the grapefruit-free participants lost, on average, only 0.5lb.

But weight loss wasn’t the only health benefit seen when grapefruit or the juice was consumed. The research also found the grapefruit-consuming participants had lower levels of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels and fat metabolism, which in turn might help to reduce the risk of diabetes or stroke.

What’s the theory?

The researchers believe grapefruit contains unique plant compounds that reduce insulin levels, which in turn promotes weight loss.

The link between raised insulin levels and excess weight is complicated and multifaceted. To start with, high levels of insulin may indicate that sugar isn’t efficiently utilised for energy with the result that it’s more likely to be stored as fat. Secondly, high levels of insulin can make people feel hungry so that they eat more. And finally, high levels of insulin prevent the body from breaking down fat. Add these together, and it’s easy to see why lower levels of insulin may promote weight loss. What exactly it is in grapefruit that has this insulin-lowering effect remains unclear.

What do the experts think?

Care needs to be taken when interpreting the results. It’s the first study of it’s kind and even the researchers believe more work needs to be carried out before recommendations are made regarding grapefruit intake. Fortunately, a larger study is already planned for later this year.

When it comes to reducing the risk of diabetes, experts also believe we should err on the side of caution before recommending vast amounts of grapefruit. Speaking to Chemistry & Industry Journal, who published the results of the study, Emma Bunn, diabetes care advisor at Diabetes UK said, ‘If grapefruit does significantly lower insulin levels this could be a potentially exciting discovery. We will be following any further research in this area closely to establish if grapefruit could provide genuine benefits.’

Nutrition experts also agree that more research is needed before rushing out to stock up on grapefruit. Most tend to agree with the nutritionists of the 80s and say it’s unlikely that grapefruit has any magical properties in terms of aiding weight loss in the absence of other diet or lifestyle changes. It’s perhaps more likely that participants lost weight simply because they were taking part in a study and, as a result, were more focused on their food intake and exercise habits.

Warning! Grapefruit juice can interact with medicines

While this research might tempt you to fill up on grapefruit to boost your weight loss campaign, if you’re taking any medications you might want to speak to your GP first or check the literature that comes with your medication.

This is because a wealth of research shows that grapefruit juice can interact with a number of medications, potentially causing serious side effects. It works by inhibiting an enzyme in the intestines that’s responsible for the natural breakdown and absorption of many medications. When the action of this enzyme is blocked, blood levels of these medications increase and this can lead to potentially toxic side effects.

Research suggests that flavonoids and/or furanocoumarin compounds are the substances in grapefruit juice that block the enzyme in the intestines. Many drugs appear to be affected by grapefruit juice so if you are taking any medication, it’s essential to check whether you can safely consume grapefruit juice. In the meantime, it’s likely that grapefruit segments may also interact with certain medications so you’d be wise to consult your GP before eating lots of grapefruit. Other citrus fruits don’t seem to have any effect.

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