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What is the Grapefruit Diet?

Grapefruit on Plate

Probably one of the oldest diets known to health and fitness experts is the Grapefruit Diet. It began in the 1930s and is also called as Hollywood Diet or Mayo Diet. It encourages adding grapefruit, either fruit or juice, in the daily food intake. Grapefruit is believed to produce weight loss when eaten with food rich in protein. But is it really effective?

Grapefruit is a good source of vitamins and other nutrients like iron, beta carotene and calcium. The fruit may be red, pink or white. It provides added hydration to the body because it is 90% water. It also contains pectin that lowers blood cholesterol and quinine used to treat malaria. The pink grapefruit is an excellent source of lycopene known to reduce cancer risks. The grapefruit diet is low on carbohydrates and rich in protein. Advocates of the diet believe that the grapefruit also contains an ingredient that blocks enzymes that restore carbohydrates and fat. This initiates fat burning leading to weight loss. It also reduces the insulin levels so the body burns more energy and metabolism increases. Studies conducted by health and fitness experts reveal that those who ate grapefruit before every meal lost weight as compared to those who did not.

Despite being around for quite some time, health and fitness experts still doubt the weight loss capability of the grapefruit diet. The grapefruit is rich in nutrients that are good for the body but its ability to aid weight loss is probably due to the reduction of the insulin levels that makes people feel full so they eat less. The study conducted among obese participants does show weight loss for those eating grapefruit or drinking its juice every meal. But it also shows that the participants increased their physical activity and lessened their calorie intake. Therefore, weight loss may be attributed to that and not to the grapefruit. Experts dismiss the grapefruit diet as just another fad diet. Like any other diet, the Grapefruit diet has its drawbacks. The promise of fast weight loss in a short span of time may prove to be a health risk. People need to maintain a certain amount of calories in the body and severe reduction of calories can deprive the person of important nutrients. It can also damage metabolism since the diet is not intended for long term use and once stopped, the person can regain the weight he has lost. Low insulin levels can help prevent hunger but it can also be bad for diabetic persons and those with hypoglycemia since they need to always maintain balanced insulin levels. Grapefruit also interacts with some medication. The enzyme in the grapefruit prevents the drugs from breaking down so it stays in the body. It can also affect the effectiveness of some medication. Studies indicate that people taking medication for blood pressure should shy away from grapefruit since it contains chemical compounds that increase the effectiveness of such medication and endanger the health of the patient. Other drugs with adverse reaction on grapefruit include sedatives, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol drugs. It is also dangerous for women on birth control pills to try the diet. The birth control pills are not broken down because of the grapefruit. The high presence of estrogen in the body makes women more prone to blood clots, heart attacks and even death.

Experts advise people to take the necessary precautions before trying the grapefruit diet. Due to its possible risks, it is wise to consult a doctor first. Grapefruit is healthy but it cannot be associated with weight loss. Incorporating it in the diet to obtain its nutrients is a good way of being healthy. But in order to lose weight, regular exercise, proper diet and a healthy lifestyle is needed.

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