Grapefruit Diet Review - 14 Things You Need to Know
This review is what happened after I obsessed for weeks over the Grapefruit Diet. We at DietSpotlight dug deep and conducted a thorough investigation, examining the ingredients, side effects, clinical research and overall customer care. We also focused on dozens of user comments from all over the web. At this point, we summarized and compressed the data we collected to give you the facts you need.
What is the Grapefruit Diet?
Losing weight and dieting is nothing new to humankind. They’ve been documented as early as 1820 when famous poet Lord Byron popularized the vinegar and water diet to drop a few pounds. And, according to Business Insider, the most popular diet today is the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet.
Today, we’re digging into the Grapefruit Diet asking questions like what is it? How does it work? Is it safe? Basically, how does it measure up?
The Grapefruit Diet has also been known as the Hollywood Diet, the 10-Days-on-10-lbs-off Diet, the Egg and Grapefruit diet, and for a short time The Mayo Diet (not authorized by the Mayo Clinic, by the way). This crash diet (losing a substantial amount of weight over a short period) seems to have no specific launching point but first appeared on the radar in the 1930’s with the claims of losing ten pounds in two weeks.
In the most basic sense, the grapefruit diet is a calorie-restricted diet plan that includes eating a grapefruit half (or four ounces of unsweetened grapefruit juice) with each meal and boasts the claim that adding grapefruit to this restricted diet is the key to burning unwanted fat, particularly due to enzymes in grapefruit which act as a fat-burning accelerant.
So what are those enzymes and how do they work? Before we dig into the enzyme claim, let’s take a closer look at the diet itself.
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What to Eat on the Grapefruit Diet
This calorie-restrictive diet allows the dieter to consume 800-1000 calories per day with little to no carbohydrates for a period of ten days to two weeks. The original blueprint outlined a breakfast of two eggs and two pieces of bacon, a green salad for lunch, and dinner of meat or fish and fresh vegetables with an additional glass of skim milk for an evening snack. Also, 1/2 fresh grapefruit or eight ounces of non-sweetened grapefruit juice was to be consumed before each meal.
Modern updates to this diet include the addition of more protein, specifically at lunch. Starchy vegetables such as most root vegetables and legumes as well as sugars are restricted, and although high carbohydrate foods such as bread and pasta are now allowed in very small portions in some variations of the Grapefruit Diet, the diet in its purest form restricts all high carbohydrate foods.
The instructions are very simple.
Eat a half a grapefruit or 4 oz. of 100% (unsweetened) grapefruit juice before each meal.
- Breakfast: Two eggs and two slices of bacon.
- Lunch: Protein of your choice with salad and dressing.
- Dinner: Meat or fish with vegetables.
- Bedtime snack: Eight ounces of skim milk or tomato juice.
What is the Grapefruit Diet Supposed to Do?
When followed precisely, The Grapefruit Diet claims to promote a loss of almost a pound a day, and as much as to ten to fifteen pounds in two weeks which is quite significant.
What’s the Cost of the Grapefruit Diet?
The Grapefruit Diet isn’t a particularly costly endeavor using mostly staple ingredients of meats and vegetables. Besides the purchase of these staples, the only extra cost incurred would be the addition of the grapefruit.
At about ninety cents per pound and with the average grapefruit weighing in at about half a pound, the weekly cost of grapefruits would run just over an extra five extra dollars. Considering that high-carbohydrate foods and snacks are omitted from the grocery list, one might even, for all intents and purposes, argue that there would be a cost savings during the two-week period.
How Does the Grapefruit Diet Nutrition Stack Up?
Since grapefruit is the star of this diet, let’s start with this citrus.
Grapefruits (blond, pink and ruby) born as a hybrid of the blood orange and the pomelo, are low in calories with only 41 calories per 1/2 fruit.
Pink and red grapefruits are also high in the phytonutrients limonoids and lycopene both of which help in fighting free radicals and cancers. No doubt pink and ruby red grapefruits are a low-calorie super-fruit. 
How Does the Grapefruit Diet Work?
As stated, this diet is a calorie-restrictive eating plan. The average caloric intake for healthy adults ranges from 800-3200 calories a day depending on weight, gender, and lifestyle. 
The Grapefruit Diet restricts caloric consumption to 800 to 1000 calories per day derived mostly from proteins and fats as well as green and red vegetables. With that being said, no solid information could be found as far as the ratio of protein to fat to carbohydrates being consumed. However, by looking at the daily menu, it’s easy to discern that protein tops the list with fat coming in second and carbohydrates lagging.
To promote weight loss, the Grapefruit Diet takes a three-prong approach:
- Restrict calories.
- Restrict carbohydrates.
- Consume grapefruit or unsweetened grapefruit juice before each meal.
Calories are the measurement of fuel we give our body through the foods we eat. A gram of fat equals nine calories, a gram of carbs four calories, and a gram of protein four calories as well.  (PDF)
There is no doubt that caloric restriction will lead to a loss of body weight. This time-proven method has been shown with dieting over the centuries.
Next comes the carbohydrate restriction. This macronutrient is the source of fuel most readily available for our body. Carbohydrates break down into blood sugars. and are also stored as glycogen in the muscles for quick bursts of muscle fuel.
So why does carbohydrate restriction lead to loss of fat? When carbohydrates are removed from our diet, the body is forced to search for an alternative fuel.
Though the process of breaking down fat into a consumable fuel isn’t quite as efficient as grabbing blood sugars when out of options, the body is designed to use fat as the next line of fuel. 
Understanding fuel consumption by the body helps us to understand the premise behind carbohydrate restrictive diets:
- Restrict readily available fuel.
- Forces the body to turn to fat for fuel.
- Stores of fat are consumed by the body.
This type of diet is called ketogenic dieting. By understanding the dietary restrictions as outlined above, we can see that The Grapefruit Diet falls into the category of ketogenic dieting, or carbohydrates restrictive dieting, putting the body into the state of ketosis.
The Grapefruit Diet and Ketosis?
Ketosis is the state of the body when the primary source of fuel (glucose, glycogen) is unavailable and the body, therefore begins to churn fats into fuel. During this process, the body produces ketones (acids) in the body. Many popular weight loss diets are born from ketogenic diets including Atkins, South Beach diets and, of course, The Grapefruit Diet. As mentioned above, however, The Grapefruit Diet also includes consumption of grapefruit to take fat burning to a higher level. It’s all about the enzymes. So let’s talk enzymes. 
Enzymes and Digestion
Digestion is a fascinating process, done almost entirely by the work of enzymes which aid in accelerating chemical reactions to break down macronutrients into absorbable micronutrients. We employ an entire battalion of enzymes in our mouth, stomach and intestines for digestion.
Three biggies–amylase, lipase and trypsin—are in charge of the carbs, fats and proteins. Think about a saltine cracker and the way it seems to melt when combined with the saliva in your mouth. That’s amylase breaking down the starches. So, what sort of enzyme does grapefruit contain, then, that might aid in the ‘burning’ of fat?
Where Does the Grapefruit Fit In?
Because the fat burning is said to come from the grapefruit enzymes, it only makes sense to investigate this stimulus. However, the most prominent enzyme found in grapefruit, CYP3A4, is a drug metabolizing enzyme. 
Although hearing an enzyme helps metabolism may confuse some into believing it will encourage quick weight loss, in reality, this enzyme works in the liver and intestines metabolizing drugs to incite and aids in the absorption process. That can be good and bad as some medications may absorb too readily, and some at a slower rate than needed.
Therefore, some blood pressure lowering medications, cholesterol lower medications, antihistamines, organ transplant rejection, anti-anxiety drugs, and corticosteroids recommend that you don’t consume grapefruit (and grapefruit juice) while taking these drugs. While this enzyme does aid in metabolizing drugs, unfortunately, burning fat isn’t in the job description. 
Benefits of the Grapefruit Diet
The most notable benefit of The Grapefruit Diet is rapid loss of weight. Also, as mentioned, grapefruit is a tasty superfood filled with antioxidants, phytonutrients and vitamins. Plus, grapefruit is a good source of fiber and is water dense. Eating a grapefruit half before a meal will aid in satiety and help to control the appetite. Because regulating appetite is a key factor for successful weight loss, eating a grapefruit half isn’t a bad idea.
As long as no drug contraindications are implied, this fruit is a safe and effective way to bump up nutrition and aid in appetite control. Besides that, grapefruit can help boost your immune system, reduce kidney stones, fight gum disease, and protect against cancer. 
Is There an Alternative to The Grapefruit Diet?
As far as crash diets go, there certainly isn’t a shortage of methods available. Although the list is seemingly endless, below are a few crash diets that encourage the rapid reduction of weight:
- Juice Fast: This is a basic liquid diet consisting of a fast of juiced fruits and veggies.
- Cabbage Soup Diet: As the name implies, this diet is made up of mostly all cabbage soup.
- 3-Day Diet: The diet itself isn’t as clear as the caloric restrictions of 800 calories a day.
- The Master Cleanse: Also known as the Lemonade Diet, this diet is limited to a lemonade type drink, salt water and a laxative tea.
- Xtreme Fat Loss Diet: This five-day diet starts with a cheat (high calorie, high carb) day followed by four days of intense dieting including meal replacement shakes, fasting, a moderate carb day as well as a protein only day.
Although not given for dietary recommendations, the above list shows diets similar to the Grapefruit Diet in that these crash diets were put together for quick weight reduction. When adhering to these diets, you can expect results similar to The Grapefruit Diet.
Don’t Forget the H20
It’s long been known that a significant factor of good health is to consume plenty of water. It’s also no secret that most weight loss diets will encourage adherence to plenty of water consumption.
Although eight glasses of water per day are recommended for healthy adults, adding to that number can aid in appetite suppression as well as helping the body to release stores of excessive water being held in the cells, thereby aiding in even more loss of body weight. 
Adequate water consumption will also aid in bowel regularity, helping to relieve the belly bloat from a backed up colon.
Do I Have to Exercise on the Grapefruit Diet?
Although the Grapefruit Diet doesn’t come with exercise recommendations, input or fuel is only half of the battle against the bulge. Regular exercise is known to promote good physical and emotional health.
When discussing diets, however, it’s important to note that increasing muscle mass can be a key component to weight loss. Because muscle burns more energy than fat, the leaner the body, the higher the metabolism, and therefore the greater the calories burned by the body.
Also, sustained aerobic activity such as bicycling, swimming, running, and walking will increase caloric burn as well as utilize fat as the source of energy when staying within a fat burning heart rate zone. 
With that in mind, although not specifically discussed within the parameters of The Grapefruit Diet, adding exercise into the mix will increase success with any diet.
Contraindications With the Grapefruit Diet
While considering any diet, it’s important to keep in mind the risks involved with dieting. Studies have shown that crash dieting over time can slow your metabolism making it harder to keep off the weight. Not only that, but yo-yo dieting (losing weight and gaining it back over and over again) even has negative consequences for your heart.
Furthermore, on The Grapefruit Diet, specifically the need to familiarize yourself with any prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking is imperative. Understanding how these medications interact with the metabolizing enzyme in grapefruit will help to keep you safe from the dangers of too much or too little drug for your condition. Lastly, because of the reduction in calories and nutrition, in general, it’s not uncommon to feel fatigued or even suffer from headaches when crash dieting.
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The Bottom Line on the Grapefruit Diet
The final word on the Grapefruit Diet is that in its most basic form, it is a calorie restrictive ketogenic diet. Limiting calories to almost one-third of the recommended daily allowance is a severe hit to the system. Will you lose weight? No doubt. Will you lose fat? Also, yes. If quick weight loss is the ultimate goal, The Grapefruit Diet will deliver. But, there’s a good chance you’ll lose muscle, the diet is difficult to follow because of strict food limitations and hunger will be a big problem.
If you’d like to drop more pounds, then we suggest you select a diet or weight-loss supplement that is backed by solid science, does not call for extreme calorie restrictions and is supported by plenty of encouraging user reviews.
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