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Grapefruit Diet

This eating plan, which is also called the Hollywood diet, has been known since the 1930s. It has several variations. Some of them are very low in calories. Others limit consumption of carbohydrates. But all versions encourage eating grapefruits or drinking grapefruit juice with every meal. The most popular variant of the grapefruit diet lasts twelve days and promises that you will lose up to ten pounds.

How Does It Work?

The diet is based on the premise that grapefruits contain special enzymes1 which promote burning of body fat. Thus eating them each time when you have a meal is the most essential condition. 

For many years, dieticians were sure that this claim is erroneous, but in 2004 Florida Citrus Department conducted the study that confirmed the efficiency of grapefruits for losing weight. Participants who ate grapefruits before each meal and did physical exercises lost about three – four pounds over twelve years. But one should take into account that all of them followed a healthy diet.

This plan encourages eating foods high in protein and fat, like meat and eggs. Dieters should drink much water and exercise on a regular basis. They are also recommended to avoid products containing much carbohydrate.

You do not have to count calories (though some variations of the diet limit their consumption to 1200 cal per a day) and are allowed to eat usual meals. After following the diet for twelve days you should rest for no less than two days.

What Are the Benefits?

The diet promises losing up to ten pounds in just twelve days. But it is hardly possible if you continue eating as much calories as you want. At the same time, vitamin C is a good protection for you immune system.

Most dieticians still consider it to be a fad diet.

Are There Any Health Risks?

You should realize that losing weight in such a rapid pace is not healthy. Moreover, the results will not be lasting and you will probably regain the lost pounds.

The diet can be dangerous for nursing or pregnant women and people with chronic diseases. Anyway, you’d better consult a doctor before starting the grapefruit diet.

Don’t forget that grapefruit interacts with many medications, like birth control pills, antihistamines2, statins3, etc.

The grapefruit diet can also provoke nutritional imbalance and cause numerous side effects.

What Foods Should Be Eaten?

Besides grapefruits, the diet recommends eating foods rich in protein and fat, like fish, meat, cheese, dairy, eggs, butter, etc. You must also drink no less than eight glasses of pure water daily. One cup of coffee is allowed per day.

The diet can be adapted for vegetarians. They have to replace animal sources of protein and fat with vegetable ones.

What Foods Should Be Avoided?

When you follow the grapefruit diet, you must cut back on carbohydrate. It means that you may not eat sweet potato, bakery, desserts, etc. You should also avoid white onion, celery and some other foods.

Bottom Line

Many people claim that this diet has helped them to lose several pounds but most probably they lose more muscle and water than fat. Thus nutritionists recommend choosing another eating plan.

Grapefruit Diet Plan

The grapefruit diet is a 12-day plan. Here are basic rules for dieters:

  • Eat grapefruits or drink fresh grapefruit juice before each meal or with it.
  • At every meal, eat as much as you want, but you should eat only foods that are on the list. Never leave the table being still hungry.
  • Every day, drink at least eight glasses of water.
  • Drink no more than one cup of coffee.
  • You may eat butter. Use it in cooking or with vegetables.
  • Never cheat.
  • Forget about desserts, sweet potato, bread, and white vegetables.
  • Follow the diet for twelve days and then rest for at least two days.

Below you will see a sample one day menu for the grapefruit diet.


  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice or ½ grapefruit


  • Meat
  • Salad
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice or ½ grapefruit


  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • 4 ounces grapefruit juice or ½ grapefruit


  • 1 glass of skim milk or tomato juice

You are allowed to eat the following vegetables: carrots, red onions, lettuce, green onions, cucumbers, spinach, bell peppers, cabbage, radishes, broccoli, and peas. You may cook meat and eggs in any way.

Don’t eat foods rich in carbohydrate, potato, white onion, and celery.

  1. Enzymes are proteins that speed up biological reactions but are not used in them themselves.
  2. Antihistamines are drugs neutralizing the action of histamines. They are widely used in treatment of various types of allergy.
  3. Statins are medicines reducing levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.