It’s time for another Diet Diagnosis – and this week it’s the turn of that old favorite The Grapefruit Diet…
This “diet” (I use the word loosely) dates back to the early 1930’s, proving that people have been desperate for fast results for quite a long time now. This plan has also been known as The Hollywood or Mayo Diet (no association to the Mayo Clinic) and interestingly enough, no one knows who “invented” it and no one claims ownership. I wonder why…
The Grapefruit Diet plan is only 12 days long, but proponents claim that you can lose 10 pounds in that time frame. How you ask? Well apparently grapefruit contains an enzyme that when consumed with protein has amazing “magical” fat burning properties that melts fat off your body. The diet is also low in total calories and subsequently low in carbohydrates as well. But it also allows you to eat all kinds of fats, including the unhealthy ones – in fact, frying your food in butter is allowed.
Users of this plan will eat four small meals per day and average only 800 -1,000 calories. Unlike other diets, this one has no specifics for ratios of nutrients, or how many calories should come from carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. You just have to stay within the daily calorie amount.
Dieters are advised not to eat starchy vegetables like peas, beans, corn, and sweet potatoes, but most other green and red varieties are fine. Salad is unlimited, along with meat or fish. It’s essentially an ultra low calorie based diet with the only caveat being that 8oz. of unsweetened grapefruit is consumed with each meal. It’s also suggested to drink at least 64 oz. of water and dieters are encouraged to drink black coffee.
I immediately take issue with this plan – it’s just too low in calories as 800 – 1000 calories is not nearly enough for most healthy individuals. While you may lose weight on this plan, it will be mostly water weight and muscle mass due to inadequate calories and carbohydrate intake. Essentially it’s a planned starvation diet that throws in grapefruit at each meal to supposedly burn body fat. I say bull.
There is no scientific evidence that grapefruit contains any enzyme or possesses any properties that can assist in losing weight. In fact this diet is a sure fire way to begin a yo-yo cycle of losing and gaining weight as you will certainly regain all of what you lost (and possibly more) once you return to your normal eating patterns. Not only does The Grapefruit Diet not work, if you continue to use the regime it may potentially lower your metabolism – setting you up for years of struggling with your weight.
Plus you’ll also feel like crap eating this way, especially if you’re an exercising or active individual. It’s like running a car on fumes, and you’ll just be sputtering along all day with no real power – you’ll find it hard to concentrate and feel generally sluggish. Since the diet contains no real nutrients, I would also be concerned with users’ daily body functions.
To be honest The Grapefruit Diet represents everything that’s wrong with the diet industry. It claims fast results, while providing poor nutrition. It isn’t realistic, healthy, or sustainable. And it doesn’t suggest or rely on an exercise program to assist in maintaining weight and strength. That’s just wrong. How this diet survived this long escapes me. Most doctors, nutritionists and dieticians agree to steer clear of this ridiculous plan. And so do I.
DIAGNOSIS: Very, Very Poor