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

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

Instructions

  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.

458 Comments

  1. Linlin

    I want to start the diet in a day, but have a question. What do I do once I’m down to my target weight and do not need to continue the grapefruit part of the cycles? What will I do to ensure the weight stays off?

    Reply
    • Sally Oh, Vitality Pi

      The grapefruit has nothing to do with it. It’s a keto diet, very safe, very healthy. Once you are at your goal weight, add back a few carbs, up to 70-100, depending on your height, etc. until you start to gain weight. VERY slowly 🙂

      Bread and paste are probably out forever except for the occasional treat. Being a healthy weight has many, many, many more rewards than the momentary delight in a piece of bread. Bread tastes like styrofoam to me now. I was kinda sad about that, lol.

      Reply
  2. vijaya

    hi there i just want to know that do i need to do exercise while i am on diet

    Reply
  3. jay

    Will b starting diet on Sept 15,2012. Current weight is 239 5″5 gave birth to à little boy in April. Goal weight is 145 lbs. Will keep u all postes and good luck eveveryone

    Reply
    • b

      i just started this diet and wondering how is it working for you. Have you lost any weight?

      Reply
  4. Malika

    I will be starting 8/13/2012 hope it works

    Reply
    • EJ

      Good Luck – it’s mainly about willpower and being ready mentally, then you can follow suit physically!

      Reply
  5. anna

    should you eat a whole gfruit or 1/2 each time

    Reply
    • EJ

      If you read the diet plan, it states 1/2 a grapefruit before each meal.

      Reply
  6. anna

    im starting this diet 8/12/2012 but is there a avg amt of carbs and calorie intake daily and i here its best to eat the fruit 30 min before meal does this matter

    Reply
  7. MEE

    How much water do you drink? Do you drink unsweeted tea, or can you? Can any type of powder mixes for water? I was told only green veggies were allowed and only fat free dressing. I have so many questions about this diet because I’m about to start it, and I want to do it right. What you’re doing seems to working awesome!

    Reply
    • EJ

      I drink 1.5L daily
      If I drink tea, it’s always herbal teas, no milk no sugar
      Veggies – I eat green or yellow, it all works and you still lose weight My fav are spinach, and butternut
      Try and avoid carrots and heavier ones like corn, peas, etc.
      It’s not complicated at all, just start and you will see the results

      Reply
    • EJ

      I drink minimum 1.5L a day
      I only drink unsweetened herbal teas (no sugar, no milk)
      Powder mixes for water – not sure, I don’t do it
      Any veggies except the starchy ones like peas, corn, sweet potato, etc are out
      Keep to the plan as found on this site and all over the internet, and you will do fine. Good luck 🙂

      Reply
      • Tanisha

        Can I eat cheese on my salad

        Reply
  8. KCee

    I was so happy to find this updated blog about the Grapefruit Diet as it is such an inspiration. I started on the GFD yesterday and I am excited about losing weight with it. I read other information about the GFD and was getting skeptical, because some say you can lose but not for the long term. It also states that once you come off, you will gain it all back. After reading this blog… I am going for it. It just take will power and a commitment to change lifestyle behaviors. I need a jumpstart and this is it. My current weight is 180 lbs and my goal is 150. I will keep everyone posted. 🙂

    Reply
  9. :)

    Instead of milk before bed can you have a protien shake?

    Reply
    • EJ

      I’m sure it will be ok because it’s not carbs… however, after 12 days if you don’t see the kind of weight loss expected, then rather stick to just milk.

      Reply
  10. kaycee

    I’m not sure how the diet works. Can you really eat all the meat you want. And can you really have salad dressing. Someone please help me. I don’t think I’m doing it right there are so many versions. If you have lost weight just tell me everything

    Reply
    • EJ

      Hi Kaycee,

      Step 1: The Diet Plan

      Yes, there are various versions on the Internet, so seeing as I’ve lost 16kg so far (35 lbs) and only have 8kg to go (17 lbs) I feel qualified to help you along.

      The version I used is below…

      Sample Meal Plan:

      * Breakfast

      2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces grapefruit juice

      * Lunch

      Salad with salad dressing, unlimited meat, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces grapefruit juice

      * Dinner

      Red or green vegetables (except starchy ones such as peas, beans, corn, sweet potatoes) or salad, unlimited meat or fish, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces grapefruit juice

      * Bedtime snack

      8 ounces skim milk

      In the Grapefruit Diet you can use all the butter and salad dressing you desire and prepare foods in any method, including fried. Grapefruit juice must be unsweetened. Any food or beverage not on the diet is not allowed. Snacking is only permitted after dinner. Drink 64 ounces of water daily. Eat all of the approved foods.

      Step 2: Can you eat all the meat you want? Can you really have salad dressing?

      In my case, yes I would have whatever meat for lunch like pork chops, red meat, chicken (most of the time) and anything else within reach. I never weigh it, I just have a normal serving. That is where I’m getting my energy, so I didn’t skimp on it.

      Salad dressing – if I make my own salad, I didn’t add dressing except for Olive Oil. If I bought a salad, I would have it as it came, and if possible, have the dressing aside and not include it. I didn’t limit myself with salads though, and would often have Greek Salad which includes the lovely olives and Feta which I became addicted to. I know on some of the variations of the diet it says no cheese, but I have the feta in my salads and still lost weight each time.

      Step 3

      Also keep a journal of what you eat, so in a given week if you don’t see results like previous weeks, you can backtrack and see what caused it.

      Track also your measurements, not only kilos because you will lose both and this is what will motivate you to keep strong and to keep going until your goal.

      Step 4

      Exercise – aside for walking here and there, I didn’t do any as the weight loss works with what I was eating.

      I hope the above helps, and good luck on your journey!

      Reply
      • Bre

        How long did it take you to lose the 35 pounds.

        Reply
        • EJ

          Hi Bre,

          It’s been 4.5 months…

          Reply
  11. private0718

    I started the diet 06/25/12 start weight was 281.4 its now 06/28/12 current weight 276.0 down down 6 pounds!! great diet feel great I also walk 2miles every other day and add fresh fruit for snack before bed.. and drink plenty of water! excited to see my goal weight 150

    Reply
    • EJ

      Hi there “private0718”

      Well done on starting the diet, and already seeing such great progress so soon! Don’t get too worried checking daily though because like magic, every 12 days when you do check the scale, it will have moved 😉

      I continue to progress very well, and see my goal weight around the corner… I’ve got 17 pounds to go!…

      Good Luck!

      Reply
      • private0718@gmail.com

        that’s great how long have u been on an what’s your goal weight?

        Reply
        • EJ

          I’ve been on the diet for 4 months. My goal weight is 60 kg. I began at 84kg 🙂 and right now I’m at 68kg … so as you can see, I’m not far off from goal now.

          84kg – 185 pounds – starting weight
          68kg – 149 pounds – current weight
          60kg – 132 pounds – goal weight 🙂

          Began on 27 Feb
          Today’s date: 6 July

          Keep at it, it really works!

          Reply
          • Bre

            what do you eat on your two days off the diet.

          • EJ

            Bre:

            On the 2 days off the diet, I eat the same, EXCEPT I exclude the grapefruit. It helps me stay in control, and I don’t have so much hard work the following week, to lose what you put on the 2 days off. So I don’t go wild, I keep it the same – a lifestyle change.

  12. Blue9

    Ok.. I’m desperate to get motivated on my wt loss journey… I used to be a gym rat working 2.5-3 hours a day and in great shape.. I had my daughter 5 yrs ago and never lost the Pregnancy weight.. Then I went through a very bitter divorce and gained 20 more:( this is the heaviest I’ve been in my life and I don’t like it.. So I started the GFD yesterday.. I’m inspired by all of you.. Good luck to us all.. QQ are we suPposed to drink 4 or 8 oz of grapefruit juice if we don’t eat it?

    I Am 5’7 and 242

    Reply
    • EJ

      Good luck Blue9.

      You will win with this diet… I’ve been doing it for 3 months and I’ve lost 14kg so far (30.8 pounds)

      The grapefruit juice – you drink 8 oz or have half a grapefruit with each meal.

      Good Luck!

      Reply
      • Sharon

        Hi, just wondering if it was okay to use ruby red grapefruit?

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer

          yes 🙂

          Reply
  13. Leelee

    my name is Liezandra today is 5.10.2012 and my current weight is 165 i believei am 13 years old 5’3 and my goal is 110 by august this year. i get depressed about my weight thinking im never going to go this ive been on a diet for 3 weeks now but im so young i dont know what a real diet is i eat 3 times a day whole weat egg whites turkey bacon nutella fruits i take vitamins everyday i excersize almost everyday i have a sauna suit coming in the mail tomorrow i go outside 3 times a day to walk my dog and play around outside i am homeschooled so i gained alot over the last year an a half -40 pounds- im going to start going to bed early eating grapefruit with everymeal no soda milk or juice im going to limit my tv time my computer time and go outside i feel horrible that there are children out in the world without food and im eating my life away. i eat when im depressed or sad so instead of that i just go for walks with my dog and we hang out in the back of my dads truck with a blanket watching the sunset or we just run around. im proud that im making a change since i have never tasted a grape fruit before so im going to add grape fruit to my diet wish my luck pray for my health and i wish you all the best. i know im beautiful and im devoted 100% to showing the world how beautiful i am.

    Reply
  14. nikki

    Can I drink ruby red grape fruit juice?

    Reply
    • EJ

      Yes. You can either have the actual grapefruit, or else the juice. Ruby Grapefruit juice is perfect, as long as it says 100% fruit juice.

      Enjoy

      Reply
  15. EJ

    Update everyone…

    Since I started the diet on 27/2/2012, I have lost a total of 9kg and 38.5cm overall. Today is 24/4/2012. That is amazing! No diet I have ever done has allowed me to lose so much weight, so quickly. All my clothes are loose! It’s phenomenal…

    Obviously, dropping carbs for me was the key to success. It allows me to not crave more food, and no sweet tooth like I usually used to have.

    I hope this continues, I still want to lose another 10kg, even though I already look great, I want to be at goal weight, which is the proper BMI for my height.

    Good luck all.

    Reply
    • Wendi

      Hi EJ,
      I’ve enjoyed your posts and am inspired by u to get started. Can I sprinkle a little bit if Truvia all natural sweetener on my grapefruit? Thank you, Wendi

      Reply
  16. EJ

    Good luck Keya!

    You CAN do it… it definitely works, so keep at it.

    Stay strong, resist temptation and focus on your goals.

    Keep a food diary of what you eat, it keeps you disciplined too.

    Wishing you the best!

    Reply
  17. keya

    I started the diet on monday 4/16/12 and lost 3 lbs. by the next day. Today which is 4/18/12, I am 4 lbs. lighter. I still would like to lose alot more so wish me luck, but I love this!!!

    Reply
  18. Charlie

    So it’s 4/15/12 I started 4/13/12 so it’s day 3 I haven’t had any weight
    Loss that I can see but it said you won’t see anything until the 5th day
    So fingers crossed I find the diet pretty easy I’m a pastry chef so the 1st day was HELL but I’m sticking to it. The only question I have is do I have to drink the milk?

    Reply
    • EJ

      16/4/2012
      Hi Charlie,

      No, you don’t have to drink the milk, it is optional. I’ve been losing and for the first 3 cycles of 12 days on, 2 off I never had it or the tomato juice. However, now into my 4th cycle on this wonderful diet, I began to want something nice at night, so I have the milk. I actually get a kiddie milk (Nido) that has lots of vitamins & minerals, to make sure I’m getting what I need. I love it and limit myself to having it on alternate nights. Or if we go and see a movie, I take the Nido milk with me, and have that instead of soda/coke and so on 😉

      Where there is a will, there is a way!

      Good Luck pastry chef 🙂 ALL my clothes are fitting now, even a dress I last wore in 1991 during my final year of tertiary education, I tried it on yesterday and it fits. I can actually use it for a wedding in a weekend’s time 😉 hehe

      So I guarantee results… be patient, don’t check daily, wait the full 12 days, THEN check the next morning. Also, don’t only weight, also check your measurements, because you will feel it in your clothes first.

      Once you finish your first 12 days, you can gauge how it’s gone, and continue on with more cycles of it until you get to goal weight.

      I’m still going strong, since 27 Feb and still no chocolate or cake. You CAN do it 🙂 the results are more strong than the cravings!!!!!!!!!

      My boyfriend told me yesterday I have strong willpower, so I guess that also helps 🙂

      Reply
  19. EJ

    Heeeellllllooooooo,

    Anybody there? For the record, the date is 13/4/2012.

    Good Luck everyone! I will post soon again

    Reply
  20. EJ

    KellyB and KE – are you both back on the wagon and fighting the good fight? this worty cause of OUR HEALTH?

    Good Luck….

    I will come back too now that I’ve finally found a more recent site where people are posting 😉

    Reply
  21. EJ

    Hi Everyone,

    Just to assure you the Grapefruit Diet DOES work. I started it on 27 Feb, and to date have lost 6.5kg and 21.8cm in total.

    I’ve basically done 3 cycles of 12 days on, 2 days off. During the 2 days off, don’t go crazy. Also, be warned, if you re-introduce carbs into your diet, you will crave things again which does not happen while on the diet.

    Note – I also stopped all chocolate, sweets, cake, etc. No junk food or cooldrinks. Only the 3 meals as per the plan. Lots of water. Tea (green or other herbal teas with no milk or sugar).

    I have not exercised while on the diet. I have just enough energy for the day’s activities, if I added exercise I may not make it 😉 So I plan to get to goal weight, and THEN re-introduce exercise to maintain.

    I used the 100% grapefruit juice as the actual grapefruit was out of season when I began the diet.

    If you are determined, and your mindset is right, you CAN do it.

    Go for it, you have nothing to lose except – the weight 🙂

    Good Luck and wish me luck so that I can also get to goal weight. Still want to lose a further 10kg.

    Bye!

    Reply
  22. Sarah r

    I’m gnna finally start my diet today!!! This site really motivated me. March 21st was my first day.. I’ll be bk after 12 days 🙂

    Reply
    • EJ

      Hi Sarah

      How did it go?

      Reply
  23. vick

    are you still losing?

    Reply
    • EJ

      Yes, every 12 days I continue losing… like clockwork.

      A tip to everyone – DO NOT include anything else not on the diet. I included cashew nuts for movies, and noticed I lost cm this week, but kg was less. So back to basics – stick to the diet.

      Reply
  24. vick

    wow that is great

    Reply
  25. vick

    glad you have not given up!!!

    Reply
  26. vick

    Going to start tomorrow 3/17 158 lbs and 5ft5 Been reading the blog and need encouragement because willpower is my downfall. Will post progress, hopefully I do not give up. Need a quick weight loss for encouragement.

    Reply
    • EJ

      How is it going Vick?

      Reply
  27. kc

    is it ok if i just ate 1 grapefruit a day? or i really need to follow d diet menu?

    Reply
    • EJ

      I would advise to follow the diet completely. Best results that way…

      Reply
  28. KE

    I’ve fallen off of it too!!! I do good during the week but then the weekend comes & it’s hard! I got down to 201 but now I’m 204 ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • EJ

      Just get back on… you can do it!

      Reply
  29. KellyB

    Grr, I fell off the wagon 🙁
    I almost didn’t wanna post this because of how ashamed I am/was. But, I picked up on it this Monday, and I will NOT fall off again. Wish me luck, and good luck with your weight loss journeys well KE!(:

    Reply
  30. KE

    I forgot to add this to the last post
    Age: 24
    Height: 5’4
    Starting Weight: 209

    Today was my 5th day it’s so much easier! I have not weighed myself since I’ve been on GFD so not sure how much ive lost? I kinda want to wait to see how much I lost at the end of the 12 days…but I don’t know if I can wait till then! 🙂

    Reply
  31. KE

    So this is my first day on GFD & it BLOWS!! I’m hungry tired, & bitchy! I need some Dr. Pepper!!! But I AM NOT GIVING IN!!!! I just wish GF tasted better :/

    Reply
  32. KE

    Good luck KellyB! I start my diet in a few hours…wish I started yesterday(Monday)

    Reply
  33. KellyB

    Starting weight: 180
    after 1st cycle (1st 12 days): 173
    This is great for me, because I wasn’t even able to work out for those 2 weeks. I am now on the 5th day of the 2nd cycle. Wish me luck on my journey! And of course, good luck to all of you(:

    Reply
  34. Concerned_Me

    I have started this grapefruit diet from 2day.. my current wt is 69-71kg my target weight is 55kg hopefully.. will keep u all posted..
    Goodluck to everyone on the same ship :p tada!

    Reply
  35. KellyB

    I’m back! I will officially be on day 5 when I wake up tomorrow. My initial weight was 180. Yikes! Anyways, I won’t be weighing myself again until the cycle is complete. I’ll come back and update soon! Oh,and good luck Porshay!(:

    Reply
  36. Porshay24

    So im too excited about this diet, I hope it work. Right now I weight 250 I want to get down to 170. My bday is n 2months and I hope I lose about 30-40pounds before then. I will be starting this diet on Friday. Wish me luck people ill keep yall updated

    Reply
  37. KellyB

    So I bought all of the items necessary, and my mother and I are more than ready to start tomorrow. I’m 5’5, btw. Don’t know how much I actually weigh, but I’ll weigh myself tomorrow. Either way, my goal weight range is anywhere between 125-135 lbs. I plan to do this diet until I reach anywhere from 140-145. I would say “I’ll keep you posted”, but it seems like I’m the only one still blogging, lol. Oh well, I’ll just make this my public private journal til someone new comes along, hahaha. 😀

    Reply
  38. KellyB

    Hi guys! I am 16 years old, and though it’s cliche, my New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. I plan on starting the GF Diet along with my mother on Monday. I have tried this diet in the past and received great results (8 lbs in 12 days!), so now that I’m a bit older/more determined I hope that this time I can continue with the diet for longer than 1 cycle. Wish us luck!(:

    Reply
  39. Zeb

    1/5/12- ok I know i should wait to weigh myself but I can’t help it so with that being said I weigh 205.6!.. I was taking turkey bacon, but imma make that switch to regular bacon- it’s toooo nasty! Turkey bacon that is. I will try not to weigh myself until the 12th day but I know I’m lying….

    Reply
  40. Zeb

    1/3/12- started today I weigh 209.4 so my two days off this diet will be sun/mon :(, I should’ve started on a monday…lol! I was on this diet a couple years ago I did lose some weight… I would like to weigh 165….

    Reply

References

  • 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