Myth: The grapefruit diet will jump-start your diet.

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Grapefruit diet fad, fiction, and myth or miracle food for weight loss.

Grapefruit

Grapefruit

I am sure that almost every one of us has seen the magazines at the checkout line that claim that there is a new diet in which you can reduce your belly or waistline by eating a particular food or starting a new diet.  I saw one the other day that peaked my interest.  The article claimed that you could cure your obesity by eating a half a grapefruit every day.  The writers claimed that a half a grapefruit would magically melt your body fat and result in 10 pounds of weight loss in as few days as ten.  This sort of statement should set off some warning bells – “Danger Will Robinson”.  The claim sure seems like a bunch of malarkey.   

So, can a grapefruit help with weight loss?  No.  No foods magically melt fat.  The Grapefruit Diet, which was known as the Hollywood Diet, is not a new diet[1].  It is a low-carb fad diet that has been around since the 1930s.  Sure, eating more fruits and vegetables can help with weight loss and citrus fruit, in general, is full of antioxidants, but grapefruit is not better than any other.  Outside of caffeine-containing drinks and foods, no food increases your metabolism magically.  Even caffeine is short acting and has never been proven to cause long-standing weight loss.  

 

Grapefruit

Grapefruit

Supporters claim that eating half a grapefruit before meals high in protein and fat produces a thermogenic reaction that turns your body into a fat-burning machine.  To burn ten pounds in 10 days, you would have to burn 3500 calories more than you eat.  Very few of use burn 3500 calories in a given day and no single food will do that.  

 

Is there any research to show grapefruit fails to improve weight loss?  Yes.  There are a few studies that show that grapefruit will work to promote weight loss[2],[3],[4],[5].  Despite this research showing that the Grapefruit Diet or grapefruit ingestion is associated with significant weight loss, there is not proof that it causes long-standing weight loss or maintenance and none of these studies show ten pounds of weight loss in ten days. 

The Bottom line: Grapefruit is a nutritious and filling addition to your diet, but a weight loss plan that only includes grapefruit is not a healthy choice.   It is nothing more than another fad diet.  No single food is going to magically induce weight loss or make you skinny.  I recommend you eat grapefruit but not as a staple of your diet or the center of you weight loss plan.  

References

[1]
“Grapefruit Diet,” Wikipedia, 28-Apr-2018. [Online]. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit_diet. [Accessed: 28-Apr-2018]
[2]
H. Silver, M. Dietrich, and K. Niswender, “Effects of grapefruit, grapefruit juice and water preloads on energy balance, weight loss, body composition, and cardiometabolic risk in free-living obese adults.,” Nutr Metab (Lond), vol. 8, no. 1, p. 8, Feb. 2011. [PubMed]
[3]
T. Murase, K. Misawa, S. Haramizu, Y. Minegishi, and T. Hase, “Nootkatone, a characteristic constituent of grapefruit, stimulates energy metabolism and prevents diet-induced obesity by activating AMPK.,” Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, vol. 299, no. 2, pp. E266-75, Aug. 2010. [PubMed]
[4]
C. Thomas and T. Kotze, “The palatal ruga pattern in six southern African human populations. Part III: An evolutionary perspective.,” J Dent Assoc S Afr, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 173–6, Mar. 1983. [PubMed]
[5]
F. Hadir, S. M. Sawsan, A. E. S. Bahia, and A. S. Ola, “Effect of grapefruit juice and sibutramine on body weight loss in obese rats,” A, vol. 9, no. 8, pp. 265–273, Feb. 2015 [Online]. Available: 10.5897/AJPP2014.4175″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>http://dx.doi.org/10.5897/AJPP2014.4175
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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