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. Rabi 4 days ago

    I started on dec 1 at 287. Today dec 9 Iā€™m at 280. Who else is doing this diet?

    Reply
  2. jehan

    I started this diet nov 19 and now its nov 26.i lost 8.2 lbs and im looking forward to lose 52lbs in 2 1/2 mos.i eat just one bacon for breakfast.this diet works for me!

    Reply
    • Rabi 1 week ago

      Jehan, how much did you loose so far?

      Reply
  3. Vicki

    I am a lot older than you folks and need as much help as possible. I know the dynamics of the diet. I am 64 and 225 – put on additional weight since I retired in December. Any tips would be appreciated. Would like to get down to 175. Thanks in advance.
    Vicki

    Reply
  4. Dottie

    Started today 8/30/17 currently 5’5 145 and im trying to get to 130. any tips?

    Reply
    • Lorna

      Do you have an update?

      Reply
  5. Victoria

    I am ready to change my life and I am hopeful that all of you will provide me with the support and advice to help me on this avenue that will lead to a slimmer happier better me. Starting this diet tomorrow. Currently weighing 175 lbs, 5’4″ tall.

    Reply
    • Ellie

      Did you started ?
      I am thinking about doing.
      Planning to buy the ingredients today.

      Reply
  6. Nataine

    Did this from 9/29/2010 until 11/19/2010. I got through week 7 and stopped due to a Thanksgiving potluck at my new job. I said I would get back on after the holiday season but never did. In 7 weeks, I lost 34 pounds. For weeks 8 and 9, in which I had resumed regular eating, I lost an addition 7.4 pounds, so all in all, I lost 41.4 pounds in 9 weeks. I never did the snack and after week 3, I dropped the breakfast. I just couldn’t shake the thought of greasy bacon and cholesterol filled egg yolks. I use to get buffalo chicken salads and hot wings, as well as beef and broccoli from my fave Chinese restaurant. I ate that nearly every day and the weight FELL OFF with hardly no exercise. I lived on the 3rd floor of my apartment complex, so leaving and coming home was the bulk of my physical activity. This diet was the first one in a decade of dieting that ever worked for me!

    Reply
  7. tamika h

    The grapefruit diet does work. I’ve done it before and lost about 35 pounds. Only to get comfortable and gain it back. Stay focused ear right and the weight will stay off.

    Reply
  8. Mike.

    I have done the lemonade diet twice without knowing there was such a thing as a lemonade diet. 10 days in a row without any solid foods at all. I still went to the gym every day and didn’t lose any strength or stamina. I did lose 16 lbs but I also knew that on the 11th day, if I ate a tic-tac, I would probably put on 10 lbs immediately. If you just watch your caloric intake and do some things that will help burn calories, gym, yard work, etc. and do nothing more than have a glass of grapefruit juice with every meal, you will see some results. You will probably see some results w/o the grapefruit juice because you are now watching your calories and exerting a bit more effort in burning calories but it does seem to help the weight loss process speed up. btw I am a 66 year old male and it is real easy to get pissed off if you don’t see immediate results. By the mile, it is a trial; by the inch it is a cinch. Keep at it!

    Reply
    • Harry

      No one cares!!!!!

      Reply
  9. Harry

    Ain’t nobody got time for this shit!!!!!!!

    Reply
  10. Barry

    Ain’t nobody got time for this!

    Reply
  11. Harry

    I have been doing this since the last couple of days, its shit. I have been putting on weight and I can’t get rid of it. This diets is no good. Why do people do it? Dumb people!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Mrs Ratcliff

    I’ve done this diet before in 2012 and lost 25lbs in 30days. I didn’t gain the weight back either until I became preganant with my 5th child. So to the naysayers it actually is the grapefruit that reeves yo your metabolism. Being that you can eat as much as you like until you’re stuffed you can’t actually say that you loose the weight because of calorie restrictions. I’m currently on day 4 of the diet once again; I’ll update my results as I progress through. My goal this time is to go a full 2 months and loose the 52lbs that it claims can be lost. WISH ME LUCK!!!

    Reply
    • Lexi

      This was my thought too: how is it a calorie deficit when you can use as much butter as you want, and eat as much of ANY meat you want? You aren’t counting calories at that point.

      Reply
  13. Nalalia

    Day 1- 206 lbs. 2/6/2017

    Reply
    • Ellie

      Hey natalia
      How did it go?

      Reply
  14. Nalalia

    Hello. I will be starting this diet tomorrow. I will keep you all posted on results.

    Reply
  15. Yasser

    Today is Feb 02, 2017. I will start this diet tomorrow. I will update you on the results every 5 days

    Reply
    • Ellie

      How did it go?
      Did you finished?

      Reply
  16. Tina

    I just started the diet 2 days ago and today I totally forgot to make my breakfast. Does that mean I will need to start over? Does it make a difference when I eat the breakfast meal?

    Reply
    • Ted

      No, it doesn’t make a difference.

      Reply
      • Tina

        Thank you Ted. I was so worried that I would have to start over. I’m super motivated and dont want to get discouraged after starting off so well.

        Reply
        • Ellie

          Tina
          How many days did you did it?
          Got results?

          Reply
  17. Christie

    Ok it’s been 7 years since I’ve done this diet and I got wonderful results. I’m fixing to start it again starting tomorrow 1-22-17. I am just feeling a bit nervous now that I’m older I am wondering if I will get the same results. I am at 180lbs right now, so I will keep ya’ll posted in 5 days.

    Reply
    • Lee-Anne

      Hi Christie,
      how have the last 2 days been?
      I am 54 and have not been able to loose the 30 I need to.
      I found this diet on line and it is very easy for me to do šŸ™‚
      I started January 15/17

      and today January 24/17 I am down 11.6 pounds.

      I also drank Friday and Saturday night – birthday month lol

      Am looking forward to chatting and hear your results

      Lee-Anne

      Reply
      • Ellie

        Hello lee Ann
        Congrats on your loss
        How many days ?
        What was your loss?

        Reply
  18. Lee-Anne

    I started this diet on Sunday Jan 15/17
    today is Jan 19/17

    Im 4 hoping dont stall now.

    Any comments or if you are also starting now
    Id love to hear from you
    Lee-Anne

    Reply
  19. Sally Oh, Vitality Pi

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

    Reply
  20. carolyn Lobsinger

    Where can i buy this book please??

    Reply
    • Lee-Anne

      Nor sure how long ago you wrote this Carolyn, but there isnt a book, just eat exactly what it says.

      Lee-Anne

      Reply
  21. 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!

    Reply
  22. j

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

    Reply
  23. Paisley

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

    Reply
  24. 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!

    Reply
    • Paisley

      9.23.2016 is my first day….ending on 10.4.2016

      Reply
      • Nikki

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

        Reply
      • 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! šŸ™‚

        Reply
        • Lee-Anne

          HI Barb,

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

          Reply
  25. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  26. Ghen

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

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

    Reply
  27. 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 to.it 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.

    Reply
  28. 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

    Reply
    • Ginger

      I never did the snack.

      Reply
    • Lee-Anne

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

      Reply
  29. Sabrina

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

    Reply
    • Ted

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

      Reply
      • Sabrina

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

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
  30. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  31. mina

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

    Reply
    • Ted

      You could do turkey bacon or a vegetable protein source.

      Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  32. chelle

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

    Reply
    • muchi

      did it work ?

      Reply
  33. sarah

    Less fat and sugar. More exercise.
    Not rocket science

    Reply
  34. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  35. BRENDA

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

    Reply
    • Ted

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

      Reply
    • Winnie

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

      Reply
  36. Tumi

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  37. Greta

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

    Starting weight: 214.0

    Good lucky too all who are just starting šŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Kelly

      Greta, how is it going?

      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