If you say extreme diet, you can say that the grapefruit diet, or some version of it, can be classified as one. While the grapefruit itself is nutritious, it’s not true that it possesses magical nutrients that can power up your weight loss efforts.
Experts even caution against following this diet because its claims are not based on any scientific evidence. They also warn people against the diet’s restrictive food options and small portions and also because of the increased risk of the fruit interacting with certain conditions or medications.
The Grapefruit Diet History
The grapefruit diet can be traced back to the 1930s when it was probably called the Hollywood diet. It even had a book written about it detailing how the fruit can improve the effects of your weight loss plan. The said diet has also trended several times since it emerged.
Foods to Eat and Avoid
Although you can’t really say what the best grapefruit diet is, the common denominator among the different versions of this diet is to eat the fruit before eating any of your meals and to do this for 10 to 14 days. Furthermore, you will be required to follow a restrictive diet plan that clearly states what you can and cannot eat. You can eat grapefruit, bacon, eggs, salad or cooked vegetables, and chicken and other meat. On the other hand, you cannot eat dairy products, other fruits, beverages except for water, coffee or tea, and any type of starches, grains, and sugars.
Here are some things to learn about what goes into the diet and what is excluded:
- Grapefruit. The grapefruit diet recommends eating half of the fruit, which usually weighs around 8 ounces. If you don’t like fresh fruit, you can buy it in its powdered form and stored in capsules. Take these capsules before eating all three meals.
- Meat. Lunch and dinner in this diet require eating meat and vegetables, although the diet does not have a maximum serving size or distinguishing lean protein from meat loaded with saturated fat.
- Eggs and bacon. Some versions of the grapefruit diet require consuming two eggs along with two bacon strips for breakfast.
- Salad and cooked veggies. Followers of the diet can eat fresh or cooked vegetables, with some versions specifying only the inclusion of green or red vegetables.
- Beverages. Hydration is important and drinking up to two cups of coffee or tea a day is allowed.
- Grains, sugars, and starches. The grapefruit diet does not allow this food group.
- Dairy products. Some versions are more lenient when it comes to dairy products, even allowing 8 ounces of skim milk daily. However, others are stricter in banning these products from the diet.
Potential Interactions When Following the Grapefruit Diet
Frequent grapefruit consumption may interact with certain medications, around 50 of them, leading to negative results. Some of the medicines that should not mix with the grapefruit diet include the following:
- Statins. People who need to bring their high cholesterol levels down take these meds, but grapefruit can change the levels of statins in the blood and trigger some side effects.
- Thyroid medications. People who are undergoing thyroid hormone replacement therapy cannot eat grapefruit because too much of this fruit can render the meds less potent.
- Anti-depressants. Some meds used to treat mental health conditions can also be influenced by grapefruit consumption.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of the Grapefruit Diet
Eating grapefruit with your regular diet comes with a few benefits because the fruit is rich in lycopene, flavonoids, and vitamins A and C. It also has lower carbohydrate and calorie content than some fruits. It is rich in fiber as well.
A small study even showed that grapefruit could help in weight loss and lowering blood sugar levels. Another study showed that it helped reduce the mice’s weight. Grapefruits might be beneficial on their own, but only when consumed with a regular diet.
On the other hand, the biggest con of why it’s hard to find the best grapefruit diet is that it is extremely restrictive and is based on false assumptions. The diet recommends excluding carbs and nutritious foods, such as other fruits and whole grains, but does not ban foods that are high in saturated fat.
The recommendations that come with the diet are based on the belief that the fruit contains fat-burning enzymes, but there is no scientific basis for this. You can eat any fruit before a meal and possibly lose weight because it helps satisfy your hunger, hence reducing your calorie intake.
Some even suggested that grapefruit qualifies as a negative calorie food because it is believed to help the body burn more calories as you chew and digest it. However, this fruit is a low-calorie food, but it does not encourage excessive chewing as celery does so it also does not help you burn more calories than usual. That is, except maybe if you do squats, run for miles while eating it.
Before getting into any diet, including the grapefruit diet, consider its pros and cons first. Do your homework instead of risking your health over vague claims of specific health benefits.