The Grapefruit Diet

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

2900-grapefruit.jpgThe so-called grapefruit diet is one of those mythic fad diets that seem to come and go every few years.

It is a poor diet – very low in calories, nutrient deficient, and cannot be sustained beyond a matter of days.

You might lose some water, some muscle, and a bit of fat – then gain it all back again.

What started the Grapefruit Diet fad?

The Scripps Clinic made a press release claiming that the humble grapefruit does assist in fat loss.

The 12-week pilot study, led by Dr. Ken Fujioka, monitored weight and metabolic factors, such as insulin secretion, of the 100 men and women who participated in the Scripps Clinic “Grapefruit Diet” study.

On average, participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. However, many patients in the study lost more than 10 pounds.

However the study seemed isolated, and it was unclear just how much support came from the Florida citrus industry body. A further study was undertaken, and found that red grapefruit “significantly decreased blood levels of triglycerides.”

The grapefruit was consumed by patients who “had undergone coronary bypass surgery and had found that Zocor, or simvastatin, was ineffective.” (to be published in this journal)

…the study’s lead author said that eating red grapefruit would “most probably” help anyone with high cholesterol, not just heart patients.
The star ruby grapefruit has a yellow peel with a red blush and an intensely red pulp. It is very sweet and has few or no seeds.

The Grapefruit Diet fad version is a weight loss diet built solely around the humble grapefruit.

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.

A lot of the grapefruit diet plans that have been circulating are very low-calorie diet plans (VLCD’s) with a grapefruit thrown in. VLCD’s are not a good weight loss solution for many people. Most versions of the Grapefruit diet are identical to the Mayo Clinic Diet.

Grapefruit Diet 12-Day Meal Plan

12 days on – 2 days off

1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
2 Eggs (any style)
2 Slices Bacon
1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)
Meat (any style, any amount)
Salad (any kind of dressing)
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.

Below is the outline of another version of a grapefruit fad diet – and it IS NOT RECOMMENDED. Note that there is also substantial evidence that grapefruit (unlike any other citrus fruit) can interfere with medication.


  1. At any meal, you may eat until you are full – until you can’t eat anymore.
  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.

Does It Work?

The grapefruit diet works simply because of calorie restriction and doesn’t have much to much to do with the grapefruit itself. Grapefruit can be incorporated into any diet for the health benefits it offers, but calorie cutting is still the key to successful weight loss.

See Also

The Super Skinny Grapefruit and Egg Diet which retails for $4.99.


  1. Sally Oh, Vitality Pi

    The diet works because it is a keto diet. It’s not VL Calorie, it’s VL CARB.

  2. carolyn Lobsinger

    Where can i buy this book please??

  3. Cat

    I started this diet on Monday September 26th and it is now Friday Sept 30th and I am down 4.4lbs! So far so good!

  4. j

    Hi just started today does this diet work any tips ? What do you have if you dont eat bacon.

  5. Paisley

    I’ve done this diet in 2001 and had great results.

  6. Paisley

    Has anyone recently started this diet? I started today and hope it’s a start to getting this weight off. I struggle to stick to any diet plan and would love some encouragement!

    • Paisley

      9.23.2016 is my first day….ending on 10.4.2016

      • Nikki

        9.26.16 was my first day.. I did it several years ago and lost 30 pounds

      • Barb

        started 9.19.16. I also did this a couple times within the last several years and had good results. It’s a good jumpstart to get the weight off. After you get to where you want to be, its all maintenance on the daily. Good, healthier choices, and less carbs has usually worked for me to keep it off. Good luck and please check back and let us know your progress! 🙂

        • Lee-Anne 7 mins ago

          HI Barb,

          I just started this yesterday, down 2 lol
          Can you tell me how much you ended up loosing?

  7. Ghen

    I have a question, regarding the salad; is it okay if I add cheese on my salad or it would kill the purpose? TIA

    • Ginger

      I eat cheese on mine. I did this diet years ago with success & ate cheese on my salad & at times I would make omelets for breakfast with cheese & veggies.

  8. Ghen

    Today is my first day of this diet. Woohoo! I wish I could last long… 😛

    I currently weight 130lbs, and I am short 5’1. I wish to lose that 20-25lbs.

  9. Rex

    I have done this diet a few times and had fantastic success each time, in so far as I lost a lot of weight very quickly. one time I lost 30+ lbs. in roughly 6 weeks. I stuck religiously though; not one bite of cheating! however, I get burnt out, go back to my old habits and within two years at the most it is all back and more. I am starting it again. I think it is a good way to jump start weight loss, but if course it will have to be followed with PERMANENT lifestyle changes.

  10. Marielle

    Hi, I am planning on starting the grapefruit diet soon and was wondering if i had to do the bed time snack? and if so what time would you suggest I do it. Thks

    • Ginger

      I never did the snack.

    • Lee-Anne 4 mins ago

      I just started the diet yesterday Marielle, I’m glad you asked that question, I was wondering about it too.
      Thanks Ginger

  11. Sabrina

    Is green tea okay?
    And how much weight is normally lost on the first cycle?

    • Ted

      Hi Sabrina, Geen tea is fine and weight loss varies.

      • Sabrina

        Does it matter on the brand i have Lipton tea bags .
        And what about crystal light and splenda?

        • Sabrina

          Will green tea effect the diet i read that green tea and grape fruit is a good mixture for weight loss but will it effect this diet if i drink it.

  12. Wendy

    So any one doing really well on weight loss.. I’ve been eating out a lot and candy feeling very fat right now going to go on this diet soon just wondering how things are going for others on it.

    • Ginger

      I just started on this diett 10-10-16 I weighed today and im down 8 lbs in 3 days. I know it’s water loss but ill take it. Did this diet years ago and in 2 & 1/2 months lost 42 lbs sil did it with me last time & lost 48 lbs.

  13. mina

    Can I replace the bacon with something else please ?because I don’t eat bacon.

    • Ted

      You could do turkey bacon or a vegetable protein source.

    • Julio

      one grapefruit diet says either 2 eggs or 2 slices of bacon tried diet couple times lost 12 pounds first week both times it works I did 2 eggs 2 slices of bacon eggs are any style you want

  14. chelle

    Start date/weight….2/23/15 169lbs…
    I wish to get down to 145lbs, wish me luck

    • muchi

      did it work ?

  15. sarah

    Less fat and sugar. More exercise.
    Not rocket science

  16. shelley

    I have been on the diet 7 days. I feel good with plenty of energy. I lost 4 lbs in 3 days and now I have been the same weight for 4 days. Does it matter that I don’t drink the milk after supper?

    • Ted

      You may want to be careful that your calorie levels aren’t getting too low. Low is not always better and can actually stall weight loss. That’s the problem with fad diets like this one.

  17. BRENDA

    I am on this grapefruit diet and I am waking up peeing 15 times through the night is that normal?

    • Ted

      I wouldn’t think so, you probably should call your doctor.

    • Winnie

      Your body is probably going into ketosis from carb restriction and its normal at first.

  18. Tumi

    Hi, can I have fruits such as grapes while on this diet?

    • Ted

      It really depends on the version you choose, but if you want to follow the meal plan above you aren’t supposed to eat any fruit besides grapefruit.

  19. Greta

    I will be starting this diet Sunday 12/16/12

    Starting weight: 214.0

    Good lucky too all who are just starting 🙂

    • Kelly

      Greta, how is it going?



  • Hawrelak, J., & Myers, S. P. (2007). Grapefruit Causes Weight Loss. Journal of Complementary Medicine: CM, The Volume 6 Issue 1 (Jan/Feb 2007)
  • Fujioka, K., Greenway, F., Sheard, J., & Ying, Y. (2006). The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. Journal of medicinal food, 9(1), 49-54.
  • Silver, H. J., Dietrich, M. S., & Niswender, K. D. (2011). 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), 8(8). Link