Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Grapefruit Diet

The grapefruit diet was popularized by movie stars as long ago as the 1930s. It is also known as the Hollywood diet and it is still followed by many people today.

What Is Involved?

It is a short term, high protein, low carbohydrate diet that you follow for 12-18 days. You must eat 3 meals a day plus 1 snack. Do not skip any meals. There is no published original version of the plan so it varies a little but this is an example menu plan:

Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit, 2 eggs, 2 slices bacon, black coffee if wished.

Lunch: 1/2 grapefruit, large salad with dressing, unlimited meat.

Dinner: 1/2 grapefruit, unlimited salad or cooked red or green vegetables (except those on the banned list below), unlimited meat or fish.

Evening snack: 8 oz skim milk.

You can use butter and oil including frying the allowed foods if you want to. You must drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water per day. Apart from water and the breakfast time coffee, no other drinks are allowed.

The following foods are banned: starchy vegetables (potato, pumpkin, corn etc), peas, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, bread, cereals, sugar, and fruit - except grapefruit of course!

Why Does It Work?

The aim of the grapefruit diet is to get weight back to normal if you have a few pounds to lose. It accomplishes this by restricting calories for the 12-18 days of the diet plan. Despite the high fat content, most people will be eating far fewer calories than normal, so they will lose weight during this time if they stick to the plan. No high carbohydrate foods are allowed so the body will burn fat for energy in the same way as on the Atkins diet.

The original claim was that grapefruit has a weight loss effect in itself - that is, by adding half a grapefruit before each meal you would slowly lose weight even if you changed nothing else. People may say either that grapefruit contains a fat-burning enzyme or that it controls insulin levels, affecting the metabolism. This has not been proved by research so far.

Any Negatives?

Being a short term diet, it is not so useful for people who want to lose a lot of weight. It could start you off with good weight loss but when the 12-18 days are over, you will need another type of diet to move on to. At this point there is a risk you could go back to your old eating habits and put the weight right back on.

There is also a danger for people who just wanted to lose those few pounds, that they will celebrate with high carbohydrate meals when they reach the goal. Yoyo dieting could be the result. Yoyo dieting is strict dieting followed by weight gain, so the weight goes up and down very quickly. This is bad for the health.

The high saturated fat content may be dangerous for some people even in the short term. See your doctor before starting any weight loss diet such as the grapefruit diet.

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