Since the 1930s, the grapefruit diet has been helping people to lose weight in a hurry. The reason grapefruit is eaten is all to do with a mystical ingredient that is supposed to promote fat burning when eaten in conjunction with protein.
There are several versions of the grapefruit diet out there, each with their own rules and formulae. Unfortunately, the speedy weight loss that occurs is, according to most research, a result of fluid loss. The initial results can be spectacular, but the weight is soon piled back on when the dieter eventually falls off the wagon.
Most grapefruit diets consist of around 800 to 1000 calories per day, which is very little when compared to the 2,500 calories the average man should consume. It is therefore not surprising that weight loss occurs quickly during the first two or three weeks.
A potential meal plan
Breakfast — two rashers of bacon, two eggs, black coffee and a small glass of grapefruit juice
Lunch — A salad with dressing and as much lean meat as you can eat. A small glass of grapefruit juice
Dinner — Unlimited meat or fish with red or green vegetables. A small glass of grapefruit juice
The science behind the grapefruit diet
While the science is disputed, there is a school of thought that chemicals in grapefruit give the metabolism a boost. However, anyone eating no more than 1000 calories per day is going to lose weight eventually. Crucially, there is no respected research or evidence that suggests a magic enzyme in a grapefruit helps us to burn fat faster.
The pros and cons of the grapefruit diet
Like any type of fad diet, there are pros and cons to consider. However, this particular diet entails more cons than pros.
Fast weight loss — Weight loss is dramatic during the first two weeks, but this is due to the fact that most grapefruit diets limit calories to 1000 per day.
Low in fat — Fish and lean meats are prescribed by some grapefruit diets, but not all of them.
There’s lots of fruit and vegetables — The diet consists of lots of fruit and vegetables, delivering crucial vitamins and minerals in large quantities
Weight loss is usually temporary — Sudden and significant weight loss is not unusual with this diet. However, eating this way is unsustainable in the long run. The body starts to crave more calorific foods, which means weight gain is very fast once the individual comes off the diet.
Loss of energy — A combination of too few calories and a dearth of carbohydrates can lead to a distinct lack of energy.
Encourages poor dietary habits — The grapefruit is not a healthy, well balanced diet, and eating this way in the long run can lead to significant health issues.
It places too much emphasis on the power of grapefruit — People on this diet tend to think they can eat as much meat as they can stomach, thanks to the fat-burning properties of grapefruit. However, these mystical powers of the grapefruit have yet to be proven.
It can interfere with certain drugs — Eating large amounts of grapefruit for several weeks can increase the risk of drug toxicity, which can lead to certain medications becoming useless. There is also the chance of unpleasant side-effects. The medications that are known to react badly to very high levels of grapefruit consumption are immune system suppressants, heart medication and calcium channel blockers.
Cutting out any major food group is always inadvisable, but the grapefruit diet takes extreme eating habits to extraordinary levels. This is one of the more unsustainable fad diets out there — offering little more than quick and very temporary weight loss. The claim that grapefruit is a magic wand for quick weight loss is ludicrous. This diet restricts calorie intake severely, which is the only logical reason for the weight loss it delivers.
Depriving yourself of carbohydrates has the potential to make you tired, interfere with your sleeping patterns and affect your moods. Is the prospect of losing a few pounds over a two-week period really worth it?