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Ridiculous? Diet of the Week: Grapefruit Diet

September 14, 2011

The “Grapefruit Diet” (also known as the “Hollywood Diet” or “Mayo Clinic Diet”) was active in the 1930s-1940s but has stood the test of time, as it is still undertaken by many. Basically, as WebMd states, “The premise of the Grapefruit Diet is based on an alleged “magical” ingredient in grapefruits, that, when eaten with protein, theoretically triggers fat burning and causes weight loss. The diet is designed to promote fast weight loss; unfortunately, the weight lost is primarily from fluids and not fat and generally returns as soon as the dieter goes off the diet.” Reading about the sample “What You Can Eat” section, however, really reminds me of the Atkins Diet: low calorie, low carb, and high protein:

The Grapefruit Diet: What You Can Eat

In most versions of the Grapefruit Diet, a small variety of foods are required at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and at bedtime. Dieters are encouraged to drink black coffee and plenty of water throughout the day.

Sample Meal Plan:

* Breakfast

2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, black coffee, 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.

Huh. Now, while this “magical” element that Grapefruits purportedly contain is being seriously contested, this seems much less offensive of a diet program than, say, the Cookie Diet (the website of which I honestly cannot figure out at all…are you just eating these “all-natural, appetite suppressing” cookies or are other foods allowed to be incorporated? As far as I can tell, you are just noshing on cookies…) as this promotes eating balanced, health-focused meals instead of exclusively focusing on one food which will not lead to sustainable, healthy weight loss. WebMD does not approve of the diet mainly because of the questionable role that grapefruit plays in weight loss, but does recommend “Along with a well-balanced, sensible, calorie-controlled diet, don’t forget to include a regular dose of physical activity — a scientifically proven way to burn fat and lose weight.”

I do know that sometimes I have the most irrational cravings for grapefruit and will literally start to go crazy if I can not eat/drink them…one time, in high school, I had to leave class, walk to the nearest grocery store, buy grapefruit juice, come back to school and drink the entire gallon in order to satisfy my deep need for grapefruit. True story, yo! This still makes no sense to me (nor to my poor friend who I forced to sit with me in the hallway while I downed an entire container of grapefruit juice…amazingly we’re still friends) but it is intriguing to me to learn that “While grapefruit is a very nutritious low-calorie fruit (66-84 calories per serving), loaded with vitamin C and fiber, it is not a mysterious fat burner. The low glycemic index, high fiber, and low calorie nature of the fruit may reduce insulin levels and help dieters feel full and eat fewer calories.” And anything that Weird Al finds worthy of parodying…somehow grapefruit has become a cultural icon. And that is an accomplishment in and of itself.

Delicious and Nutritious...I Will Find You

(Image courtesy of Free-Extras imagery)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 14, 2011 7:19 pm

    Brilliant commentary! A personal and inconsequential observation: if I ever have grapefruits in the morning alongside other breakfast items, I inevitably get hungrier faster.

  2. November 6, 2011 7:06 pm

    Nice post. You forgot to say that you’ll feel great and have lots of more energy!

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