- The Grapefruit Diet
- What Is It?
- The Promise
- Pros and Cons
- Healthline Says
- What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:
- Can Grapefruit Really Make You Slim?
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits
- How to Choose
- Risks and Drug Interactions
- Nutrition 101: Eat To Burn Fat
- 18 Best Fat-Burning Foods
- The Classics
- Whole Grains
- Fat-Burning Meal Plan
- What do you eat on the grapefruit diet?
- Why the Grapefruit Diet Results Are So Amazing
- Is there any protein in grapefruit?
- What Sets the New Grapefruit Diet Apart From Others
- Grapefruit Diet Reviews From Our Readers
- Your Grapefruit Detox Diet Menu
- Breakfast (Choose One Daily)
- Lunch (Choose One Daily)
- Dinner (Choose One Daily)
- Make Your Own Grapefruit Diet Menu
- More From Woman’s World
- What’s the truth?
- So there’s no hope?
- Superfoods and Atkins
- Are Grapefruits Keto-Friendly?
- Grapefruit Nutrition
- Grapefruit & Weight Loss
- Is Grapefruit Keto Friendly?
- What fruits can I eat on a keto diet?
- What About Citrus Fruits?
- Fructose and Keto
- The Bottom Line
The Grapefruit Diet
The Grapefruit Diet, which has also been called the Hollywood Diet, has been around since 1950. There are many versions of this quick weight-loss diet, based on the belief that enzymes found in grapefruit can help burn fat, thereby promoting rapid weight loss. Another claim is that dieters can expect to lose up to 10 pounds after 12 days on the Grapefruit Diet.
The Grapefruit Diet: How to Follow It
On the Grapefruit Diet, you will eat half a grapefruit (or drink a cup of unsweetened grapefruit juice) before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Grapefruit Diet meal plan is low in carbohydrates and restricted to 800 calories per day or less.
A typical day on the Grapefruit Diet might include grapefruit along with:
- Eggs and bacon for breakfast
- Meat and salad for lunch
- Meat and salad for dinner
Dieters also can have a glass of tomato juice or skim milk before bed.
High-fat meats, coffee, and tea are permitted on the Grapefruit Diet. And dieters are encouraged to drink plenty of water, fast between meals, eat until fully satisfied at each meal, and avoid exercise while they are dieting due to the low-calorie intake.
The Grapefruit Diet: The Pros
Health professionals say there are some positive aspects of the Grapefruit Diet:
- Grapefruit may really help with weight loss. Whether there is something special in grapefruit that can help you lose weight is still controversial, but there is some evidence that grapefruit can be a good part of a weight-loss diet. One study found that, after 12 weeks, people who had fresh grapefruit with a placebo pill before their meals lost an average of 3.5 pounds, which was significantly more than the group that took the placebo alone.
- Most of us need to eat more fruit. “There is no doubt that grapefruit is a healthful food,” says dietitian Andrea Giancoli, MPH, a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Most people don’t get enough fruits and other plant foods, so adding some grapefruit to your diet is a reasonable thing to do when you are trying to lose weight.
The Grapefruit Diet: The Cons
While grapefruit may help with weight loss, the Grapefruit Diet’s extreme weight-loss plan is probably not an ideal option for reasons including the following:
- It overestimates the value of grapefruit. The Grapefruit Diet “touts that there is something magical about grapefruit,” says Giancoli. But if you add any kind of fruit to your diet and follow a low-calorie eating plan, you are going to lose weight. “If a person eats more fruits a day, whether they are grapefruits or oranges or apples or grapes, they are going to eat fewer calories and feel more full,” says Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association and author of Diet Simple: 192 Mental Tricks, Substitutions, Habits & Inspiration.
- The weight loss is most likely temporary. “I wouldn’t follow any particular regimen that has you eat in a really odd way,” says Tallmadge. “Maybe you lose 10 pounds in two weeks, but you are going to gain it right back.”
- High-fat proteins are your main energy source. The Grapefruit Diet “cuts a lot of very healthful foods out and it potentially puts unhealthful foods in because it is really pushing meat,” says Giancoli, who adds that the diet’s lack of structure could have you eating too much bacon and other types of high-fat meats — some people may actually gain weight on this diet.
The Grapefruit Diet: Drug Interactions
There is a potential risk of drug interaction when eating large amounts of grapefruit. Eating grapefruit has been shown to increase your risk of drug toxicity and adverse effects associated with the following medications:
- Anti-arrhythmic medications
- Immune system suppressants
- Calcium channel blockers
Talk with your doctor to find out if you are at risk for these interactions. Worse than just gimmicky is a diet that actually puts your health in jeopardy.
What Is It?
The grapefruit diet is a protein-rich meal plan that focuses on consuming grapefruit or grapefruit juice at every meal. The diet’s goal is quick weight loss, and it’s a 12-day plan. While several versions of the diet exist, the majority of them include a daily caloric intake of less than 1,000 calories.
Under the guidelines of the diet, the foods can be prepared with any amount of spices, salad dressings, or butter. Some caveats of the diet include no extremely hot or extremely cold foods, nothing prepared in aluminum pans, and keeping “protein meals” and “starch meals” at least four hours apart, though not all agree on these rules.
Examples of the meals include:
- Breakfast: two boiled eggs, two slices of bacon, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces of grapefruit juice
- Lunch: salad with dressing, any meat in any amount, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces of grapefruit juice
- Dinner: any kind of meat prepared any way, salad or red and green vegetables, coffee or tea, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces of grapefruit juice
- Bedtime snack: 8 ounces of skim milk
The grapefruit diet promises quick results — as much as losing 10 pounds in 12 days — due to fat-burning enzymes found in grapefruits. It promises these results without starvation and eating normal meals at normal times.
Pros and Cons
The biggest pro of the diet is its results. Many people have found the quick weight loss results encouraging, especially for special events where they want to look their best. Also, it may be a useful way to kick-start weight loss before finding another diet program to use after the 12 days are over.
Incorporating low-calorie, highly nutritious foods like grapefruit is a smart and healthy choice not only for weight loss, but for overall general health. The vitamin C alone is great protection for the immune system.
However, the claims of some magical fat-burning enzyme aren’t backed by any research. The core of the diet is the low-calorie and low-carb intake, which would result in quick, temporary weight loss even without the grapefruit. Weight loss of 10 pounds in 12 days is unrealistic and could very likely include loss of water and muscle, and possibly some fat.
While grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit can be part of a balanced, healthy diet, according to the Food and Drug Administration, they can also interfere with certain medications, including:
- some statin drugs (used to lower cholesterol), including atorvastatin (Lipitor), simvastatin (Zocor), and pravastatin (Pravachol)
- nifedipine, a blood pressure medication
- some antihistamines, such as Allegra
- certain antianxiety drugs, including buspirone (BuSpar)
- some organ transplant rejection drugs
- amiodarone, an antiarrhythmia drug
Grapefruit juice tends to interfere with the action of these drugs. For example, drinking grapefruit juice while taking statins increases the absorption of the drug into the bloodstream. Higher concentrations of these drugs in your blood can increase your risk for complications. These can include liver and kidney problems. For other drugs, such as antihistamines, grapefruit juice can reduce the amount of the drug that is absorbed. This can reduce the drug’s effectiveness. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you can have fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice while taking these and other medications.
Another negative aspect of the diet plan is its limitations. Twelve days on such a restricted plan may be possible, but eating the same foods every day could lead some people to ultimately abandon the plan.
Any misconceptions about grapefruit should be cleared up: Outside of a couple small studies, there is no evidence to suggest there is any magical power found in grapefruit other than the fact that it is a low-calorie, highly nutritious citrus fruit.
The only real benefit to this diet could be if you’re looking to quickly slim down for a vacation to Cancun or for an upcoming high school reunion, but the weight will return nearly as quickly as it left. The weight that is lost under the diet is what is known as “water weight” because it’s mostly water, not fat. It’s a quick fix without any real potential of long-term sustainability, and it’s not especially healthy.
Such a limited diet would be almost impossible to commit to in the long term. With so many foods excluded, it is highly unlikely that the mundane, repetitive nature of the diet would have any long-term followers, plus the fact that not very many people love grapefruit enough to eat it several times per day! In addition, most salad dressing and meats — especially the daily morning bacon — are high in saturated fats and cholesterol, so while the quick weight loss might feel and look nice, the grapefruit diet can do more long-term damage than good.
Grapefruits are good. The grapefruit diet isn’t.
TheBUZZ Grapefruit helps you lose weight?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Eating half a grapefruit before meals will cause you to burn fat and lose weight.
WHAT WE KNOW
The grapefruit diet, sometimes called the “Hollywood Diet,” has been around since the 1930’s. There are variations of the diet, but eating half a grapefruit prior to each meal to lose weight is the premise. At least two studies have been done to specifically test the effectiveness of grapefruit on weight loss. One study of obese patients does suggest that eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice before meals may assist weight loss.¹ However, a more recent grapefruit study suggests that consumption of any low-energy-dense food (i.e. foods that are low in calories but high in water) 20 minutes prior to a meal, coupled with a calorie-restricted diet, can be a great weight-loss strategy.²
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
The first study, conducted with 91 obese adults, showed greater weight loss in those who ate half a fresh grapefruit before meals each day compared to those who ate nothing prior to each meal over a 12-week period. In the more recent study at Vanderbilt University, 85 obese subjects followed a 2-week calorie-restricted diet and were randomly assigned grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or a water preload consumed 20 minutes before each of three daily meals for 12 weeks. The rate of weight loss was significantly greater for all three preload groups compared to the two weeks without a preload. Those consuming the preload reported feeling less hungry as well. This adds to a growing body of research that suggests the consumption of foods that are low in calories but high in water (like grapefruit or other fruit) prior to a meal, coupled with a calorie-restricted diet can help reduce hunger and offers a great weight-loss strategy.
Eating half a grapefruit or a serving of other fruit or vegetable prior to meals can help decrease caloric intake at the meal while adding to the satiety of the meal. Remember to make half your plate fruits and vegetables every time you eat, and include grapefruit as part of those meals and snacks! Below are some simple ways to add delicious, healthy, and satisfying grapefruit to your day …
6 Ways to Add Grapefruit to Your Day
- Peel and eat for a quick and easy snack on the go!
- Toss with cooked shrimp and fresh avocado into a salad to add an exotic twist
- Add slices to yogurt for a light snack or breakfast
- Mix juice into sauces for a sweet and tangy twist
- Chop into vinaigrettes, sauces and relishes
- For a summer salsa, dice with cilantro and chili peppers and serve over poultry or fish – or even with chips for a party snack
Rio Grande Spinach Salad
Chicken with Ginger, Broccoli & Grapefruit
¹ The effects of grapefruit on weight and insulin resistance: relationship to the metabolic syndrome. J Med Food, 2006 Spring;9(1):49-54. View Article ² Effects of grapefruit, grapefruit juice and water preloads on energy balance, weight loss, body composition, and cardiometabolic risk in free-living obese adults. Nutrition & Metabolism, 2011View Article
What Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, Says:
Does It Work?
Sorry, but grapefruit doesn’t burn fat.
There have been a few studies about grapefruit and weight loss. In one, obese people who ate half a grapefruit before meals for 12 weeks lost more weight than those who didn’t eat or drink any grapefruit products.
It may be that the water in grapefruit helps you feel full, and then you eat less. But if you’re hoping that grapefruit will melt fat, you’re going to be disappointed.
Trying to lose 10 pounds in 10 days isn’t healthy, nor is it recommended by experts. Even if it worked, you’d be likely to gain it all back, as with any fad diet. For lasting results, it’s much better to lose weight at a slower, steadier rate. Focus on a plan you can live with for life.
Is It Good for Certain Conditions?
No, this is not a recommended plan for any conditions. While you may lose weight, it’s unlikely you’d keep it off, because this diet isn’t doable long-term.
Grapefruit can interfere with certain prescription drugs, including statins (cholesterol drugs) and some blood pressure drugs. It increases the effect of these drugs and can cause adverse effects hours before and hours after taking these medications.
If you have a health condition, ask your doctor about whether you should avoid eating grapefruit or drinking its juice.
The Final Word
Don’t bother with this diet. Such a limited variety of foods in small portions is the prescription for boredom. It’s exactly the formula to cause most dieters to give up trying to lose weight.
Grapefruit can be part of a healthy weight loss diet because it’s nutritious, not because of any mysterious fat-burning properties. If you’re a grapefruit lover, reap the benefits of this super-nutritious fruit by enjoying a serving before meals. A half grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit juice before meals may help fill you up, so you’ll eat fewer calories at meals and potentially lose weight.
Can Grapefruit Really Make You Slim?
Any member of this tropical fruit family is super-rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and folic acid—all of which are essential for men’s reproductive health. Enjoy a romantic salad that incorporates citrus, like pink grapefruit or mandarin oranges, or use a dressing made with lemon and lime. Try these recipes:• Endive Salad With Oranges and Goat Cheese• Citrus Shrimp Refresher• Get my Valentine’s menu using these super-sexy foods Istockphoto (all)
Remember the Grapefruit Diet from way back that had us eating the citrus fruit at breakfast, lunch, and dinner? That plan may have been just a kooky fad, but new research shows grapefruit is actually a powerful diet food.
A review of data from 2003 to 2008 reveals that, on average, women who consumed any amount of grapefruit or grapefruit juice weighed nearly 10 pounds less and had a 6 percent lower body mass index (BMI) than their non-grapefruit-eating counterparts.
Researchers aren’t exactly sure what makes grapefruit lovers slimmer, but study co-author Gail Rampersaud, RD, of the University of Florida, says it could be the simplest of reasons: “Consuming fruits and vegetables with a high water content, like grapefruit, helps you feel fuller and more satisfied on fewer calories.” (Half of a medium grapefruit or an 8-ounce glass of juice has fewer than 100 cals each.)
The fruit is also a source of vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium, but Rampersaud says there’s no evidence revealing any magical fat-burning ingredient at work, as proponents of the old Grapefruit Diet have claimed.
To reap the benefits, Rampersaud suggests making the tart and tangy fruit or juice part of your daily diet.
Not a grapefruit lover? Based on this and other studies, starting meals with water-rich foods, such as cucumber or watermelon, could have a similar effect, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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Grapefruits can be white, yellow, pink or red in color with a taste ranging from sour to sweet — most often a refreshing mix of the two. Whatever color you choose, the calories in grapefruit are low, but the flavor and nutrients are high. Just a half a grapefruit each day can ensure the average adult is meeting at least half of typical vitamin C requirements, one of the reasons grapefruit benefits many areas of health.
Grapefruit also contains health-promoting phytochemicals like lycopene and beta-carotene (in the pink and red varieties) as well as limonoids like limonin and flavonoids like naringenin. Not surprisingly, it makes the American Institute for Cancer Research’s list of “Foods that Fight Cancer.” (1)
Plus, multiple studies, including one published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, reveal that grapefruit is an extremely smart choice if you’re trying to lose weight with just half a grapefruit per day making a significant impact on weight loss efforts. (2)
Grapefruit has many health benefits, uses and forms. Along with consuming the entire fruit, grapefruit juice, grapefruit essential oil and grapefruit seed extract can all be used to benefit your health. In this article, we will focus on grapefruit as a whole citrus fruit and the grapefruit benefits you can obtain by consuming the fruit.
Grapefruit is an edible fruit that come from the grapefruit tree (Citrus paradisi), a citrus tree of the Rutaceae family. According to Harvard Medical School, grapefruit has a glycemic index of 25, making it one of the lowest glycemic fruit options. (11)
In addition to being a low-calorie food that’s also relatively low on the glycemic index, grapefruit is loaded with nutrients. Grapefruit nutrition does vary slightly depending on the color of the fruit. The pink or red color of a grapefruit equates to it having beneficial beta-carotene and lycopene.
To give you an idea of just some of the top nutrients in grapefruit, a half (123 grams) of a pink or red grapefruit contains about the following: (12)
- 51.7 calories
- 13.1 grams carbohydrates
- 0.9 gram protein
- 0.2 gram fat
- 2 grams fiber
- 38.4 milligrams vitamin C (64 percent)
- 1,415 international units vitamin A (28 percent)
- 166 milligrams potassium (5 percent)
- 16 micrograms folate (4 percent)
- 0.1 milligram thiamine (4 percent)
- 27.1 milligrams calcium (3 percent)
- 0.3 milligram pantothenic acid (3 percent)
- 0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (3 percent)
- 11.1 milligrams magnesium (3 percent)
As you can see, this is a definitely a nutrient-dense superfood, especially rich in vitamin C. There are roughly only 100 calories in a grapefruit, and it provides more than 100 percent of daily vitamin C requirements.
The benefits of grapefruit are numerous. Here are the top six major grapefruit benefits:
1. Weight Loss
Research continues to reveal that consuming grapefruit benefits weight loss in a a major way. The key may be an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which appears to get activated by an organic compound in grapefruit called nootkatone. When AMPK gets activated, it encourages the body’s energy-producing processes, like glucose uptake, for example, which helps boost metabolism. That, in turn, can encourage weight loss. AMPK is generally activated during exercise to help muscles use stored sugar and fat for energy.
An animal study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism demonstrated how long-term intake of nootkatone “significantly reduced high-fat and high-sucrose diet-induced body weight gain, abdominal fat accumulation, and the development of hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hyperleptinemia.” The study concluded that not only can grapefruit’s nootkatone likely help to prevent obesity, but it can also improve overall physical performance. (3)
Animal studies have also shown that grapefruit juice beats out anti-obesity drugs when it comes to weight loss. Specifically, one study compared grapefruit juice to sibutramine, which is no longer available due to concerns about it increasing heart attack and stroke risk. Not only was grapefruit juice more effective for weight loss than the sibutramine, but it also didn’t negatively affect neurotransmitters the way sibutramine did. (4)
If the animal studies aren’t convincing enough, there have also been human studies involving grapefruit benefits when it comes to weight loss. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food looked at the impact of grapefruit and grapefruit products on body weight and metabolic syndrome in 91 obese patients. Grapefruit capsules and grapefruit juice resulted in more weight loss than the placebo groups, but fresh grapefruit was definitely the star. The consumption of half of a fresh grapefruit before meals was associated with significant weight loss along with improved insulin resistance. (5)
2. Cellulite Reduction
Another one of the many desirable grapefruit benefits is its apparent ability to help discourage cellulite. According to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the primary way grapefruit can be used to reduce cellulite is through inhaling the vapor of the extract because it stimulates the nervous system by 250 percent. This grapefruit aromatherapy combined with a topical cream that contains caffeine has can reportedly have a slimming effect. (6)
Grapefruit also contains significant levels of anti-inflammatory and skin-cleansing agents, including the enzyme bromelain, which is known to help break down cellulite. So if you’re wondering how to get rid of cellulite, grapefruit just may do the trick.
3. Cancer Fighter
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, cell and animal studies have shown that grapefruit’s phytochemicals naringenin and limonin have shown an ability to reduce the growth of of colon, mouth, skin, lung, breast and stomach cancers.
The studies also showed that not only did proliferation slow down, but the highly desirable self-destruction of the cancer cells increased. It’s believed that these grapefruit compounds work in a two-pronged approach: “They decrease inflammation and increase enzymes that deactivate carcinogens.” (7)
Grapefruit’s super start antioxidant, vitamin C, has also been shown to prevent harmful changes to DNA caused by free radicals while also preventing carcinogen development. All this makes grapefruit one of the more effective cancer-fighting foods out there.
4. Immunity Booster
With its standing among the top vitamin C foods, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that eating grapefruit is a healthy way to start your day. The red and pink varieties are especially packed with bioflavonoids and provide you with an extra immunity boost.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that all of our immune system’s cells function at their peak when they get enough vitamin C on a steady basis. When these disease-fighting cells get the vitamin C they need from dietary sources like grapefruit, these vital cells are better able to identify and successfully wipe out any invading organisms (like the ones that cause illness). Many experts agree that not getting enough vitamin C can make the human body that much more likely to contract sickness and infections. (8)
5. Stroke Risk Reducer
According to a 2012 study by the American Heart Association, eating grapefruits and oranges appears to be useful in lowering the risk of a stroke, especially if you’re a woman. Citrus fruits, like grapefruit, are very high in a group of compounds called flavonoids, and this research shows that higher consumption of flavonoids may decrease the risk of an ischemic stroke.
The study had just under 70,000 female subjects and found that women who consumed high amounts of flavonoids in citrus fruits like grapefruit had a 19 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke than women who consumed the least amount. In addition, a prior study had concluded that citrus fruit intake, but not intake of other fruits, improved the risk of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage. (9)
6. Skin Health and Appearance Enhancer
If you haven’t noticed, there are a variety of cosmetic and skin-cleansing products on the market these days that have grapefruit as a star ingredient. Grapefruit contains natural acids that cleanse the skin when used in skincare products. Grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin and also is essential to the formation of collagen, a major building block of our skin. Collagen production is key when it comes to keeping skin looking youthful and wrinkle-free.
Pink grapefruit is also rich in beta-carotene, which is amazing at slowing the aging of skin cells and has been known to also improve hyperpigmentation. Skincare experts also love how pink grapefruit contains lycopene, which is known to guard against sun-induced skin damage and mutation as well as inflammation in general.
Last but not least, grapefruit naturally contains a breakout-fighting and pore-cleansing ingredient you’ve probably heard of before: salicylic acid, making grapefruit a potential home remedy for acne. (10)
Overall, internal and external use of grapefruit is really a double punch when it comes to your skin’s health and appearance.
Related: Tangerine Fruit: Benefits, Nutrition & How It Compares to an Orange
How to Choose
If you’re interested in getting in on the benefits of grapefruit, you can find them at a grocery store near you any time of year. In the United States, grapefruits are typically in season in states like Florida and Texas from November through June. The peak of the season typically starts around late December and goes into April.
You can opt for organic grapefruit if you prefer, but grapefruits are not a part of the “dirty dozen.” They actually make the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean Fifteen” list. (13) What does that mean for you as a shopper? It means that you don’t have to feel guilty if you don’t buy organic when it comes to grapefruits because they’re one of the produce items least likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Of course, organic is best.
Grapefruit slices or a half of grapefruit are delicious themselves. If you happen to get a grapefruit that’s especially tart (the white ones tend to be tarter than pink or red grapefruits), you can always drizzle a little bit of raw honey on it.
How to eat a grapefruit:
- First, cut your grapefruit in half.
- Next, use a knife (ideally, a serrated knife) to cut all the way around the grapefruit’s perimeter (where the pulp and the rind meet).
- Now slice on either side of each segment so it’s readily able to be scooped.
- Place the grapefruit in a bowl and use a spoon to eat the segments.
Looking for other ways to obtain grapefruit benefits? You can also throw grapefruit into salads (fruit-based or savory green salads) as well as smoothies, fresh juices, and even meat and fish dishes that could use a burst of fresh, citrusy flavor. You can also add fresh grapefruit juice to homemade salad dressings and marinades.
Want to experience the many benefits of grapefruit today? Try some of these tasty recipes that include fresh grapefruit:
- Citrus Bliss Weight Loss Juice Recipe
- Immune-Boosting Smoothie Recipe
If you’re struggling with cellulite, you also may want to try my Grapefruit Cellulite Cream.
Grapefruit Interesting Facts
Grapefruit, the “citrus of paradise,” first came about in the 18th century. The name “grapefruit” is said to come from the grape-like cluster growth pattern. History credits Captain Shaddock for first cultivating seeds from the orange and pomelo that ultimately led to the naturally occurring crossbreed that we now enjoy. Early in the 19th century, some Florida farmers brought grapefruit to America, and later that century it became a popular commercial crop. (14)
Today, the major producers of grapefruit in the U.S. are Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Other countries like Brazil, Israel and South Africa are also large grapefruit producers. Some popular varieties of Florida and Texas grapefruit include names like “Ruby Red,” “Flame,” “Thompson,” “White Marsh,” “Star Ruby” and “Duncan,” among others.
Grapefruit seed extract is made by mixing grapefruit seeds and pulp into a highly acidic liquid, which is typically combined with vegetable glycerin to reduce the bitterness and acidity. This extract is taken for all kinds of health issues, including candida, fungal infections, urinary tract infections and more. The main biological compounds in a grapefruit seed that are believed to be responsible for its ability to destroy infectious invaders are the polyphenols known as limonoids and naringenin. (15)
You can also get the grapefruit benefits of grapefruit seed extract by eating the seeds, pulp and white membranes of a grapefruit. The benefits of grapefruit juice are increased when it’s produced fresh and includes the seeds and membranes.
Risks and Drug Interactions
If you currently take any medications, it’s very important to check out the known grapefruit interactions with medications. There are many drugs that you absolutely cannot combine with grapefruit or grapefruit juice. In addition to doing your own research to verify that it’s safe for you to consume grapefruit, I also recommend checking with your doctor.
Why can grapefruit negatively or even dangerously react with some medications? You can thank its furanocoumarins, which are organic chemical compounds that block CYP3A4 enzymes in the human body. The problem is that these enzymes are required for the breakdown and elimination of over 50 percent of all drugs. Unfortunately, spacing out grapefruit consumption from interactive medications doesn’t seem to work either since CY enzymes can stay blocked after consuming grapefruit in any form for over 24 hours. (16)
Some studies indicated that people with cancer or a risk for cancer, especially women with hormonally sensitive cancers like breast cancer, should avoid excessive consumption of grapefruits and grapefruit juice. (17)
Another interaction to be mindful of is grapefruit and caffeine. Grapefruit may slow the body’s elimination of caffeine and, therefore, could lead to a higher likelihood of caffeine overdose effects like jitteriness and headaches.
Obviously, the cleansing prowess and many other grapefruit benefits have reached the mainstream, and rightfully so. The anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting and skin-brightening properties of grapefruit make it a superstar fruit that’s low in calories and sugar but high in vital nutrients and health-promoting benefits. Plus, a half of grapefruit a day just may keep the fat (and serious diseases) away!
This fat-burning food truly is a versatile fruit that can be utilized in many ways. No matter how you choose to consume it, grapefruit benefits the body in so many ways.
Nutrition 101: Eat To Burn Fat
Some foods are worth more than the sum of their calories. These nutrient-dense picks will go a long way toward keeping you full, revving your metabolism, and speeding your weight-loss efforts. And no, you don’t have to live off of celery and cucumbers. Go shopping with this list of fat burning foods you’ll actually be stoked to eat, or use the full fat-burning meal plan
18 Best Fat-Burning Foods
This earthy-tasting nutritional powerhouse is loaded with compounds called nitrates. Nitrates help increase vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels) and boost your performance in the gym. The harder you work in the gym, the more calories you’ll burn, and the leaner you’ll get.
Top a salad with roasted or boiled beets, or toss them with feta cheese as a great side to your favorite protein.
These shellfish are loaded with lean protein, which is crucial for managing your weight. Steam them in water with a little white wine for a fast meal—the alcohol will burn off.
Plus, mussels take a while to eat. This means your internal satiety sensors have more time to register the food you’re eating, so you end up eating less.
Though mainly thought of as a seasonal dessert indulgence, pumpkin is packed with fiber, which slows digestion and keeps you feeling full longer. Canned pumpkin—which contains no added sugar—is available year-round and can be used to make treats that fit your diet: low-carb pancakes, a protein-packed pumpkin pie, or tossed in a smoothie with some whey, walnuts, and cinnamon.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which has been shown to help people lose deep abdominal fat when used to replace dietary saturated fat. Avocados are also a good source of fiber.
You don’t need to be fancy with your avocados: Slice one in half, sprinkle on a little salt, and eat with a spoon. Or, fill it with tomato salsa for a hit of Vitamin C.
5. Cheese Sticks
Arnold once said that milk was for babies but men drink beer. You may think the same is true for cheese sticks, but they’re not a childish snack. They’re portable, pre-portioned, and are an easy way to raise your protein intake. Pair them with a small piece of fruit for a great fat-loss snack on the go.
This fermented hybrid of milk and yogurt delivers a powerful combination of protein and probiotics. It’s 99 percent lactose free because the beneficial bacteria in kefir pre-digests the lactose for you, making it a good alternative to milk for the lactose sensitive.
If you don’t like cooking fish, pick up some sardines—they’re ready to eat straight out of the can. They also have an extended shelf-life and are very portable.
A Spanish study found that eating oily fish like sardines three times per week while dieting led to improvements in leptin. Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells that regulates appetite and body-fat levels, helping you lose weight.
This may be due to the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in this fish. A can of sardines has about 1.4 grams of omega-3 fats, comparable to the amount in a fish oil capsule. Getting a gram or two of omega-3s each day has all kinds of health benefits, including helping you feel full during weight loss.
Apples are satisfying, low in calories, and can help make your diet plan more effective. The pectin in apples can limit how much fat your cells absorb. They also contain plenty of antioxidants and soluble fiber to aid in digestion.
But don’t eat too many—their high natural sugar can cause you to crash and burn like other carbs, although the fiber helps slow it down to a degree. However, this fiber, along with the fruit’s natural acids, can cause intestinal upset if eaten in large quantities. Stick to an apple a day.
Add a few prunes to your breakfast oatmeal to support your weight-loss efforts. Prunes contain soluble fiber, which helps with blood sugar control and satiety. They’re also loaded with anthocyanins—powerful antioxidants most commonly found in pomegranates and blueberries.
While anthocyanins can be poorly absorbed by your digestive tract, that isn’t necessarily bad news, as unabsorbed anthocyanins are used to fuel the healthy bacteria in your gut. Curating the best bacteria in your gut is key for being healthy and losing fat.
10. Cold Cooked Potatoes
Cooking and then cooling potatoes—potato salad, anyone?— leads to the retrograde formation of resistant starch, which can help you lose weight. Resistant starch can help improve insulin sensitivity and enhance satiety, two important factors in optimizing fat loss.
While sweet potatoes hog the spotlight, regular potatoes are healthy, too, providing potassium, Vitamin C, and other nutrients, as well as clean carbs.
It sounds weird but baked, cooled potatoes are tasty right out of the fridge. Pair them with hardboiled eggs for a super quick breakfast.
11. Soy Protein
Again, protein is your best friend for fat loss. It burns more calories to digest than other foods. It fuels muscle growth, which itself can fast-track weight loss. The more lean muscle your body has, the more energy it takes to fuel those muscles, thus increasing metabolism. Protein also helps keep your blood sugar stable.
Soy is one of the best types of clean protein for promoting healthy weight loss. If you’re not big on tofu, try creamy soy milk with coffee or your breakfast cereal.
12. Green Tea
Green tea can help improve metabolism by as much as 4 percent in a 24-hour period. That might not seem like much, but if you have it with breakfast every morning it can keep your metabolism in a higher gear throughout the day.
Green tea is also known to reduce appetite. Learn more about how it can help you lose weight in the article, “Your Expert Guide to Green Tea.”
Variety is the spice of life, but don’t forget to include these weight-loss food standbys. They’re famous for a reason.
While the grapefruit diet is a waste of time, grapefruit itself can be a legitimate addition to a well-rounded weight-loss diet. A study conducted at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic found that eating half a grapefruit with meals accelerated fat loss.
Grapefruit is high in fiber, water, and flavor, and has very few calories (half a grapefruit is only about 40 calories). It’s also a great source of vitamin C and other micronutrients.
Fresh grapefruit is the healthiest option. Try combining half a grapefruit with your breakfast and the other half with your lunch. Make sure to eat the white parts of the grapefruit as well, as this pith contains high amounts of soluble fiber. The next best thing is 100 percent grapefruit juice with no added sugar. Look for a grapefruit juice with a high amount of pulp.
14. Chicken Breast
Unless you’re vegetarian, chicken breast should always be part of your diet. It’s one of the best weight-loss foods you can eat. Chicken is a high-quality protein source that helps you maximize your lean muscle weight and minimize your fat weight.
15. Eggs and Egg Whites
Egg whites are low in calories and high in protein. This equals energy for fat burning and building muscles.
But what you may not know is the yolks are good for you, too. If you’re concerned about keeping your calories low, combine whole eggs with egg whites, or alternate them.
And eggs aren’t just for breakfast! A frittata with plenty of veggies makes a satisfying lunch or dinner.
Almonds offer the satiating trio of fiber, protein, and dietary fat. Research has also shown that almonds have 20 percent fewer calories than was initially thought.
Sprinkle chopped almonds on your (low-sugar) breakfast cereal or oatmeal. They’re also great to keep in your car or gym bag for hunger emergencies.
Whole grains like oats and rice contain an abundance of phytochemicals and antioxidants similar to those in fruits and vegetables. Use them along with potatoes and sweet potatoes to bolster your carb intake.
Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, and fiber—which helps regulate digestion, hunger, and metabolism, keeping extra pounds at bay.
Common whole grains:
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat
- Whole oats
- Whole rye
- Popcorn (yes, popcorn—just skip the butter and cheese flavors)
An easy improvement when you’re trying to lose weight is to replace refined grains (like white flour) with whole grains whenever possible. For instance, swap your sugary breakfast cereal for oatmeal or a less-sweet cereal made with whole grains. Even healthy-sounding cereals can have a lot of sugar, so read the labels.
Among whole grains, oatmeal is one of the healthiest and most convenient to add to your diet. Aside from being easy to cook, oatmeal can help with weight management because it is rich in insoluble and soluble fiber.
Read the label on those pre-measured instant oat packets, though—most of them have lots of sugar. You can make your own instant oatmeal using “quick oats” bought in bulk. Sweeten with fruit or stevia and add a good fat like almond butter to make high-octane oatmeal that will keep you full for hours.
18. Brown Rice
In addition to oats, brown rice is another powerful whole grain for weight loss. Packed with fiber and essential nutrients, its carbs absorb slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you full. You can’t go wrong with this fat-burning complex carbohydrate.
Fat-Burning Meal Plan
Use this diet plan as a guide, but feel free to swap in other healthy foods you like better. Adjust the amounts up or down if needed – the most important thing is that you’re getting plenty of nutrient-rich fuel.
Meal 1Oats 1 cupBlueberries 1 cupFlaxseeds 1 tbspWalnuts 1/2 oz.Protein Powder 1 scoop Meal 2Yogurt 1 cupEggs 6 Cranberries 1 tbsp Flaxseeds 1 tbsp Meal 3 Pita Bread 1 pocket Chicken 4 oz. Orange 1 Lettuce 1 serving Tomato 1 serving Almonds 1/2 oz. Mustard to taste Meal 4 Tuna 1 can Garlic 1 Eggs 1 Mustard to taste Quinoa 1/2 cup Orange 1 Meal 5 Spinach 3 cups Turkey Bacon 2 strips Black Beans 1/2 cup Mushrooms 1/2 cup Chicken 3 oz. Carrots 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar 1 serving Meal 6 Cheese 1 oz. Eggs 9 Canadian Bacon 1 strip Apple 1 Pear 1
Meal 1 English Muffins 1 Eggs (yolk) 1 Egg Whites 3 Grapefruit 1 Meal 2 Flaxseeds 1 tbsp Meal 3 Spinach 3 cups Turkey Bacon 2 strips Black Beans 1/2 cup Mushrooms 1/2 cup Carrots 1 cup Chicken (grilled) 3 oz. Balsamic Vinegar 1 serving Meal 4 Apple 1 Peanut Butter 1 tbsp Bell Pepper 1 cup Guacamole 2 tbsp Meal 5 Pita Bread 1 Chicken 4 oz. Bell Pepper 1 cup Guacamole 2 tbsp Meal 6 Yogurt 1 cup Cottage Cheese 1 cup Grapes 1 cup Flaxseeds 2 tbsp
Meal 1 Egg Whites 9 Spinach 3 cups Turkey Bacon 2 strips Garlic 1 Grapefruit 1 Apple 1 Meal 2 Cottage Cheese 1 cup Grapes 1 cup Flaxseeds 2 tbsp Meal 3 Walnuts 1/2 oz. Banana 1 Milk 1 cup Protein Powder 1 scoop Meal 4 Whole-Wheat Tortilla 1 Hummus 1/4 cup Spinach 1 cup Chicken 3 oz. Carrots 1 cup Meal 5 Sweet Potato 1 Pork 3 oz. Asparagus 1 cup Milk 1 cup Meal 6 Cottage Cheese 1 cup Pineapple 1 cup Wheat Germ 2 tbsp Almonds 1/2 oz.
Meal 1 Cottage Cheese 1 cup Blueberries 1 cup Flaxseeds 1 tbsp Cinnamon to taste Meal 2 Protein Shake 1 serving Chocolate Milk 2 cups Meal 3 Orange 1 Apple 1 Almonds 1/2 oz. Yogurt 1 cup Meal 4 Balsamic Vinegar 1 serving Banana 1 Tuna 1 can Black Beans 1/2 cup Meal 5 Green Pepper 1 Steak 3 oz. Barley (cooked) 1 cup Marinara Sauce 1 cup Mushrooms 1/2 cup Meal 6 Meal Replacement Shake 1 Flaxseeds 2 tbsp
Meal 1 Oats 1/2 cup Apple 1 Cottage Cheese 1 cup Walnuts 1 oz. Meal 2 Whole Wheat Bread 2 slices Banana 1/2 Peanut Butter 1 tbsp Protein Powder 1 1/2 scoops Meal 3 Bell Pepper 1/2 cup Eggs (yolk) 1 Egg Whites 6 Broccoli 1 cup Pear 2 Meal 4 Spinach 3 cups Turkey Bacon 2 strips Black Beans 1/2 cup Mushrooms 1/2 cup Chicken (grilled) 3 oz. Carrots 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar 1 serving Meal 5 Burger Patty (turkey) 4 oz. Milk 1 cup Carrots 1 cup Quinoa 1/2 cup Meal 6 Cottage Cheese 1 cup Pineapple 1 cup Flaxseeds 1 tbsp
Meal 1 Yogurt 1/2 cup Cottage Cheese 1 cup Grapes 1 cup Flaxseeds 1 tbsp Meal 2 Egg Whites 8 Garlic 1 Spinach 2 cups Squash 1 cup Apple 1 Orange 1 Meal 3 Oats 1/2 cup Blueberries 1 cup Flaxseeds 1 tbsp Protein Powder 1 scoop Meal 4 Salmon 3 oz. Barley 1/2 cup Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar 1 tsp Meal 5 Sweet Potato 1 Pork 3 oz. Broccoli 1 cup Orange 1 Meal 6 Meal Replacement Shake 1 Flaxseeds 1 tbsp
Meal 1 Oat Bran 1/2 cup Banana 1/2 Eggs (yolks) 2 Egg Whites 6 Meal 2 Yogurt 1/2 cup Cottage Cheese 1 cup Grapes 1 cup Flaxseeds 1 tsp Meal 3 Spinach 3 cups Turkey Bacon 2 strips Black Beans 1/2 cup Mushrooms 1/2 cup Chicken 3 oz. Carrots 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar 1 serving Meal 4 Walnuts 1 oz. Apple 2 Protein Powder 1 scoop Meal 5 Salmon (grilled) 3 oz. Brown Rice 1/4 cup Chard 2 cups Meal 6 Cottage Cheese 1 cup Almonds 1/2 oz. Cherry Tomato 1 cup Spices (basil leaves) 1 serving Balsamic Vinegar 1 serving
Hungry for more healthy foods? Check out these guides:
- 26 Healthy Snacks
- 40 High Protein Foods
- Top 10 Protein Bars
The grapefruit diet has been in and out of dieting trends for the past few decades, but Dr. Oz recently declared that “grapefruit’s back for weight loss, and it’s better than ever!” The renewed excitement around eating grapefruit for weight loss is partly due to natural health expert and The Dr. Oz Show regular Kellyann Petrucci, ND. The nutritionist’s new-and-improved grapefruit diet meal plan turbocharges fat-fighting compounds in the fruit using modern science and a host of other super nutrients.
If you’ve ever tried a restrictive grapefruit diet from the past, you might wince at the idea of putting the words grapefruit and diet together ever again. But unlike ’80s grapefruit diets that included little more than grapefruit and black coffee, “this is a way of doing it that makes sense and is smart,” Dr. Oz insisted. “And we’ve already seen evidence that it works.” So, is grapefruit good to lose weight? Well, when Dr. Oz had folks test Dr. Petrucci’s grapefruit-powered menus, they shed up to nine pounds in just seven days. On top of that, women who have used grapefruit to jumpstart long-term healthy eating report losing up to 30 pounds in 12 weeks. No wonder the grapefruit diet results are winning raves from not only Dr. Oz but also every dieter who tries the plan! But how well will it work for you? We’ve gathered everything you need to know about the new grapefruit diet to find out.
What do you eat on the grapefruit diet?
As you might expect, this plan goes far beyond the common practice of simply eating one grapefruit a day. “The golden rule is to eat half a grapefruit at every meal,” Dr. Oz explained. This “dosage” has proven effective in university research and at Dr. Petrucci’s Pennsylvania clinic. To maximize the benefits of the citrus, Dr. Petrucci has dieters round out meals with unlimited veggies, plus healthy servings of metabolism-boosting protein, anti-inflammatory grains, and hunger-killing natural fats. With her helping hand, it’s pretty easy to learn how to do the grapefruit diet. Just figure out whether you prefer eating grapefruit after meals or before them, and then you’re ready to proceed.
Why the Grapefruit Diet Results Are So Amazing
Exciting preliminary evidence from Japan shows that a compound called nootkatone, which helps create grapefruit’s aroma, may significantly reduce hunger and “can stimulate metabolism and ramp up weight loss,” Dr. Petrucci revealed.
Nootkatone is so promising that it has garnered the attention of pharmaceutical companies. However, Dr. Petrucci says whole grapefruit may offer more benefits than a supplement. Credit goes to a host of slimming compounds, including a hefty dose of vitamin C, which is linked to a 20 percent faster metabolism. Findings also hint that an antioxidant in grapefruit called naringenin may act like lighter fluid in the liver, prompting the organ to burn fat faster. And per the journal Nutrition, lycopene — a pigment in pink and red grapefruit — raises levels of a belly-flattening hormone called adiponectin. Plus, evidence from the famous Scripps Clinic found that nutrients in grapefruit — including all of its antioxidants and fiber — dramatically lower levels of the hormone insulin, helping regular grapefruit eaters lose up to 500 percent more weight than those who skip the fruit, making it essential to any longevity diet.
Is there any protein in grapefruit?
Considering the heavy emphasis on protein in many diets, some folks might be wondering if the nutrient is present in grapefruit. As it turns out, there is a very small amount of protein in one grapefruit. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it’s less than one gram. It’s no wonder why people on the old grapefruit diets never felt full, if they weren’t eating much else! That’s why the new grapefruit diet encourages you to get protein from other healthy sources, such as lean meats and eggs. Instead of thinking of grapefruit as the star of the show, think of it instead as a supporting character.
What Sets the New Grapefruit Diet Apart From Others
Why is grapefruit good for diets? Grapefruit can give any healthy eating plan an edge. But to take it to the next level, Dr. Petrucci uses the fruit to anchor dishes, thus boosting the benefits found in the grapefruit diet meal plan. For example, protein and antioxidant-rich veggies further rev metabolism. Antioxidants and natural fat also help soothe a type of inflammation in our bodies that is linked to slow metabolism.
And Dr. Petrucci has folks get their starch from “ancient grains” — including quinoa, farro, teff, and spelt. “Unlike wheat, corn, and most modern grains, ancient grains haven’t been genetically modified, and I find our bodies respond to them far better,” she explains. One big reason is that they also help prevent blood-sugar spikes and inflammation, which can drive belly-fat storage, cravings, and bloating. The impact on bloat is so great, Dr. Oz said that having ancient grains plus grapefruit at dinner is a new strategy that lets “you wake up with a flatter belly!”
Grapefruit Diet Reviews From Our Readers
So how much weight can you lose on the grapefruit diet? When we asked readers to test Dr. Petrucci’s plan, they offered stellar grapefruit diet reviews afterward. Rosie Mongold, 44, had been struggling with belly fat for more than 20 years. “I lost two inches from my stomach area in a week,” says the West Virginia assistant teacher. “I love grapefruit!” Amy Munshaw, 37, does as well. When she tried a grapefruit diet years ago, “I didn’t get results, and I remember really craving sugar,” says the Alberta mom. “On this version, my cravings disappeared and I was never hungry. Being shorter, my body doesn’t usually let go of excess weight that easily, but I lost nearly a full size. The new grapefruit diet is fast and effective.”
Your Grapefruit Detox Diet Menu
Our nutrition team used the same guidelines Dr. Petrucci shared with Dr. Oz to create this special version of a new grapefruit diet menu. To help you get noticeable grapefruit diet results quickly, the plan keeps calories low — but it also provides lots of nutrients from grapefruit and other foods to keep hunger and cravings down, so you’ll barely notice you’re eating less. Because these meals skip inflammatory foods (like sugar, wheat, and processed foods) and load you up on anti-inflammatory nutrients, you should eliminate a good bit of bloat, too. While using this plan, be sure to drink plenty of water. Add other low-cal extras (spices, vinegar, zero-cal sweetener) as desired. Always get a doctor’s OK to try a new plan, including this grapefruit anti-inflammatory plan.
Breakfast (Choose One Daily)
Two hard-cooked eggs or three links of organic chicken breakfast sausage (such as Amylu’s or Aidells brands), or 4 oz. nitrate-free ham
Overnight chia protein pudding: In jar with lid, mix 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 scoop no sugar-added protein powder (any flavor), plus stevia and spices/extract to taste. Shake vigorously, chill overnight, and enjoy. Serves two people.
Lunch (Choose One Daily)
Grapefruit and avocado salad: Place segments of 1/2 grapefruit and 1/3 diced avocado over unlimited baby spinach or kale, top with a squeeze of grapefruit or lemon juice for dressing, and add 1 Tbsp. toasted almonds, if desired.
1/2 grapefruit spicy peanut zoodles: Whisk 1 Tbs. water, juice of 1/4 lime, 1/2 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1/4 tsp. soy sauce, 1/4 tsp. rice wine vinegar, minced garlic, ginger, red chili, and stevia to taste. Toss with spiraled zucchini and any other veggies desired, and drizzle with 1 tsp. sesame oil.
Unlimited chopped veggies and fresh herbs simmered in 2 cups reduced-sodium or bone broth. Serve drizzled with 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Dinner (Choose One Daily)
4 oz. chicken, fish, lean beef, or eggs; unlimited veggies sautéed in olive oil spray; unlimited veggies with Walden Farms zero-cal dressing; 1 cup cooked ancient grains such as quinoa, faro, freekeh, or spelt; top with herbs and optional 1 tsp. olive oil
Grapefruit power protein bowl: Mix 4 oz. grilled chicken, segments from 1/2 grapefruit, and 1 cup cooked quinoa over unlimited leafy greens, red onions, and bell peppers. Dress with a squeeze of grapefruit juice, optional 1 tsp. olive oil, and herbs to taste.
Summer shrimp bowl: Sauté unlimited tomato and zucchini in olive oil spray, toss with 4 oz. cooked shrimp, 1 cup cooked spelt or quinoa, juice of 1/4 lemon, optional 1 tsp. olive oil, and oregano to taste.
1/2 grapefruit, broiled to add sweetness
Make Your Own Grapefruit Diet Menu
At each meal, enjoy one-half grapefruit and unlimited non-starchy veggies. At breakfast, add a serving of a protein rich in natural fat, such as eggs or chia. At lunch, stick to veggies and healthy fat. At dinner, mix protein, veggies, fat, and one cup cooked quinoa, farro, freekeh, spelt, or teff. After one to two weeks, add an extra 8 oz. of protein, 2 Tbsp. of fat and 1 to 2 cups of an ancient grain each day. Continue enjoying one-half grapefruit at most meals. Find more tips at DrKellyAnn.com.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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What’s the truth?
Of course, if you’re only going to have half a grapefruit for breakfast in place of a fry up, then you’re going to lose weight.
It’s not actually anything to do with the citrus fruit; it’s just that you’re substituting high-calorie for low-calorie options.
The American Dietetic Association has reviewed the evidence and concluded that this “long-held myth is wishful thinking” and that grape-fruit doesn’t help people lose weight or burn fat.
So there’s no hope?
The only way to lose weight is to expend more energy than you consume. That means watching what you eat, counting calories if necessary and taking regular exercise.
Grapefruit is full of vitamins and nutrients that the body needs, so is a good food to include in your diet—but it’s not going to make the pounds drop off magically.
The other thing to remember about grapefruit is that you shouldn’t eat it or drink it as a juice if you’re taking statins.
Read more: The ultimate guide to weight loss
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Superfoods and Atkins
Most likely you have heard of superfoods—everyone’s talking about foods that have such wondrous health properties that they literally deserve to be called “superstars”. These foods help fight disease, help you stay young, strengthen your heart and brain, help control blood sugar and—as an added bonus—are key to managing your weight!
What’s interesting is how many of the foods that show up on everybody’s lists are mainstays of Atkins. “The best diet for humans are foods that our Paleolithic ancestors could have hunted, fished, gathered or plucked”, says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, author of The Healthiest Meals on Earth. “These foods are loaded with nutrients and will help to maintain your energy, vitality and waistline”
Here are just a few of the many foods that you’ll regularly enjoy when following Atkins. “The foods on the Atkins Diet are truly nutrition powerhouses that are sure to help you in your quest to become healthier, prevent disease, and to look and feel better,” Bowden says.
One basic truth in nutrition is this: There are no bad vegetables. These three represent a small sample of all the great vegetables you’ll be able to enjoy while on Atkins:
•Kale: Bowden calls this the superstar of all vegetables because it comes out on top in the USDA rankings of antioxidant capacity of vegetables (slightly outranking spinach!) A member of the cabbage family, it’s loaded with cancer fighting compounds called indoles, not to mention calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K. And a mere two cups contain 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber! Try it with some pine nuts and a few dried cranberries, suggests Bowden.
•Sweet peppers (red, green, orange, yellow): “The riper the pepper the greater its nutritional value and the better its flavor”, says Dr. Bowden. Peppers are low in calories, add color, texture and flavor to almost any vegetable or protein dish, and, eaten raw, are a great snack food. Peppers blend with anything, and are an excellent source of vitamin C, beta-carotene and potassium.
•Baby broccoli: Though everyone knows the incredible health benefits of broccoli, not as many people are aware that its baby brother has a completely different taste and texture profile, and offers almost the same nutritional benefits! It’s crunchy, not nearly as bitter as it’s older brother, loaded with nutrients, very low in calories, and tastes particularly amazing when stir fried in coconut or olive oil with some fresh garlic and slivered almonds. A perfect addition to your shopping list.
•More vegetables: Add these vegetables to your diet for the variety and the nutrition:
You can enjoy a variety of fruits starting in Phase 2 of Atkins. These fruits are low in sugar, high in fiber and absolutely loaded with nutrients:
•Apples: A half apple only has ten grams of carbs, and is loaded with fiber, vitamin C and a bone-building mineral called boron. Best of all, they contain compounds, which—according to studies at both the Mayo Clinic and Cornell University—help to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
•Cherries: Cherries are a great source of both the anti-inflammatory flavonoid quercetin, as well as a powerful cancer-fighting plant compound called ellagic acid. The compounds that give cherries their red color are called anthocyanins, natural COX-2 inhibitors, which are highly anti-inflammatory and are responsible for cherries’ well-deserved reputation as an excellent food “treatment” for gout. (In one study, anthocyanins worked as well as ibuprofen and naproxen.) Plus, they’re low in both calories and sugar.
•Grapefruit: A study at the Scripps Clinic found that eating grapefruit before every meal increased weight loss as well as improving insulin resistance. And a study in Israel found that red grapefruits were effective in lowering triglycerides, a significant risk factor for heart disease. Plus, grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
•Blueberries: If you want to keep your waistline slim and your memory sharp, blueberries are the perfect fruit. In a series of studies at the USDA, blueberries were found to help neurons in the brain communicate more effectively with one another. Bowden calls them “the ultimate memory food”. They’re loaded with anti-oxidants and natural anti-inflammatories, low in calories and sugar and high in fiber.
Protein is satiating. Because you’re less hungry after you eat it, you’re less likely to overeat later on, making it easy to stay on the Atkins Diet. And because it doesn’t send your blood sugar and insulin levels skyrocketing, you’ll have sustained energy and be able to burn fat throughout the day. Here are a few terrific protein choices for all four stages of the Atkins diet.
•Grass-fed beef: According to Bowden, grass-fed meat is much higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3s, lower in inflammatory omega-6s, and higher in the cancer-fighting fat called CLA (conjugated linolenic acid), which has also been shown to reduce abdominal fat. It’s loaded with B vitamins and is a great source of iron and immune-enhancing zinc. Grass-fed beef has all of these benefits and tastes great, too.
•Wild salmon: Wild salmon is loaded with a potent antioxidant called astaxathin. Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3s on the planet—it’s a superb source of low-calorie, fabulous tasting protein that can be prepared in countless mouth-watering ways.
•Alaskan King Crab legs: Crab legs are a healthy source of high-quality protein, yet are low in fat and calories. This delicious food adds variety and a lot of good nutrition to your diet—like zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B6, folate and, of course, omega-3s.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a nutritional bonanza containing protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Studies show that people who eat nuts regularly have lower body mass index and are less likely to have heart disease. Nuts and seeds were a big part of the original caveman diet; they should be a big part of your program as well.
•Almonds: An ounce of almonds contains 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
•Brazil nuts: One of the best sources of cancer-fighting mineral selenium.
•Macadamia nuts: These nuts are one of our favorite snacks, with 80% heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
•Pecans: These nuts are loaded with potassium, vitamin E, phytosterols and fiber.
•Walnuts: These nuts are loaded with omega-3’s.
•Pumpkin seeds: A rich source of minerals plus healthful plant compounds known as phytosterols.
•Sesame seeds: Contain compounds called lignans, which can enhance fat burning.
•Sunflower seeds: Contain selenium, vitamin E and betaine, a substance that may lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Let’s be clear. Fat doesn’t make you fat, and it doesn’t make you sick. According to Walter Willett, M.D., M.Ph, Chairman of the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health, the percentage of fat in the diet has no relationship to any major health outcome (but the type of fat—and the type of carbohydrate—does!) As long as you eat the right fats, (which means a healthy balance of omega-3s, omega-6s and saturated fats from whole foods like eggs and butter, while avoiding trans-fats) you’ll be fine!
•Coconut: Early studies on the Trobriand Islanders—who get the majority of their calories from coconut products—showed low levels of heart disease. The fat in coconut is mostly MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), immune-system stimulating fat, which the body likes to use for energy rather than storage. And ½ cup of coconut meat has less than 3 grams of sugar, not to mention almost 4 grams of fiber, plus potassium and magnesium.
•Avocados: Avocados are technically a fruit, and, according to Bowden, they’re also a superfood. Avocados are loaded with the same heart-healthy fat (oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid) found in olive oil. In one study, volunteers who ate avocados every day for a week had an average of a 17% drop in their blood cholesterol. They’re also a very high-fiber food (11 to 17 grams per avocado!) and are high in lutein, a superstar nutrient for eye health.
•Extra-virgin olive oil: The research on olive oil was compelling enough to convince the FDA to allow a health claim benefit on the label. Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat and very high in antioxidant compounds called phenols. In one study, olive oil decreased blood pressure by a significant amount. Make sure to get the extra-virgin kind—it’s the least processed and has the highest amount of good stuff in it!
•Other fats: And don’t forget butter, macadamia nut oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and sesame oil.
Are Grapefruits Keto-Friendly?
Grapefruit is one of those fruit that you either love or you hate. It has an extremely sour, tangy taste that takes some getting used to. There is no doubt, however, that the grapefruit is a nutritional powerhouse with a lot of benefits for the human body. But how does the grapefruit stack up to the keto diet? In this article, we’ll find the definitive answer to that question.
The ketogenic diet is built around a high fat, medium protein and low carbohydrate macronutrient profile. Many people who go on the keto diet do a great job of cutting out sugary carbs from their diet. However, it is easy to overlook the healthy food options that are out there. Citrus fruit is in that category. It contains natural sugars that are known as fructose. If taken in too large a quantity, fructose can boost your blood sugar level to the point that you kick yourself out of ketosis and blow your diet.
The key take-away here is that you cannot just assume that healthy foods like grapefruits are compatible with the ketogenic diet. Eating grapefruit may benefit your overall health, but if it contains too many sugars it doesn’t belong on a keto diet.
When you begin to follow the keto diet for weight loss, you need to go beneath the surface of the foods you are eating and check out its nutritional profile with an emphasis on its macronutrient count to make sure it matches up to your diet. Here’s what you need to need to know about the grapefruit:
Grapefruit Macronutrient Profile (Per 100 grams)
- 42 calories
- 0.1 grams Fat
- 11 grams Carbs
- 0.8 grams Protein
Grapefruit juice has the following macronutrient profile:
- 97 calories
- 0.3 grams Fat
- 25 grams Carbs
- 1.8 grams Protein
A half of a grapefruit will provide you with:
- 119% of Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin C
- 35% of Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin A
- 5% of Recommended Daily Allowance for Calcium
- 55% of Recommended Daily Allowance for Magnesium
Grapefruit has long been known as the fruit of the Gods. It is a round fruit with yellow-orange colored fleshy pulp inside. In different grapefruit varieties, the flesh may be white, pink or red. The sweetness varies with the color. Deeper colored grapefruit pulp is sweeter than lighter pulp. You should also know that the deeper the color of the grapefruit, the richer it is in lycopene. Lycopene is a well established cancer prevention nutrient.
A typical grapefruit weighs between 42 and 100 grams. It is a low calorie fruit that is ideal for a weight loss diet. The grapefruit is also an effective food to help you to curb your hunger pangs. Grapefruits are at their best during the winter months. However, it is one of the most conveniently available fruits that can be easily sourced year round. Whether taken whole or in juice form, the grapefruit provides a whole host of healthy benefits.
Grapefruit provides an excellent source of the following essential nutrients to supplement your diet:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
Grapefruit seed extract is an extremely potent immune booster. At present, it is considered to be effective in the fight against over 800 viral and bacterial strains, 100 fungi strains and a growing number of parasites. Additionally, Grapefruit extract offers natural antioxidant properties, which allow this supplement to kill bacteria in the intestines and reduce the effects of gastrointestinal disorders.
The grapefruit has also been discovered to be very helpful in the treatment of acne and scars. This is largely due to its alkaline boosting properties. Grapefruit seed extract is also beneficial in the treatment of yeast infections as well as other fungal infections such as thrush and athletes foot. Furthermore, this incredible extract has been found to be active against streptococcus, staphylococcus, helicobacter pylori, bacterial infections from salmonella, E. coli, and other viruses.
Grapefruit seed extract consumption has a natural alkalizing effect on the body. By assisting the body to maintain an ideal pH level of 7, grapefruit also helps to defeat the aging process.
Grapefruit seed contains vitamin C, E and bioflavonoid. These are antioxidants which help to fight against the free radicals and allow proper metabolism in the body. Grapefruit seed extract can also be of great benefit in managing many diseases conditions such as colds and flu, sore throat, digestive disturbances and candida infection. Grapefruit has also been shown to help treat such conditions as athletes’ foot, ringworm, intestinal amebiasis and giardiasis, herpes, chicken pox and cold sores, ear infection and sinusitis, urinary tract infections, pyorrhea and other gum disorders.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is recommended by many health care professionals as an anti-diarrheal for travelers.
Both grapefruit and grapefruit juice have both received the heart health tick from the American Heart Association.
Grapefruit also has a high water count. With the majority of people not getting enough water, this is another advantage of this food.
On the negative side, both grapefruit and grapefruit juice are known to interact with a number of medications. Researchers are not sure, but they believe that the compound within the grapefruit that causes the problem is furanocoumarin. This compound binds itself to an enzyme in your intestines, in a track known as CYP3A4. This reduces the body’s ability to absorb certain medications. As a result the medication will pass directly through the gut and into the bloodstream.
Grapefruit & Weight Loss
Grapefruit has been shown in a large number of studies to promote weight loss. In one 2006 study, a group of volunteers was given half a grapefruit before every meal. A control group did not consume any grapefruit. The results showed that the group who had the grapefruit prior to eating their meals had a weight loss that was twice as much as the control group.
The thing that makes grapefruit such a good weight loss stimulant is the ability that it has to control the release of insulin. By balancing out insulin release, blood sugar levels are stabilized. This helps to control a person’s appetite. In addition to promoting dangerous fluctuations in blood glucose levels, insulin is a fat depositing hormone. Controlling its release will help to avoid the storage of calories as body fat.
Another thing that makes grapefruit so good when it comes to weight loss is that it contains an enzyme called AMPK. This has been shown to boost the metabolism so that you burn more calories all day long. The effect of AMPK is similar to that of working out. The ability of this fruit to promote weight loss has even led to the creation of a grapefruit diet.
Grapefruit has also been shown to be a great aid in controlling blood pressure. This benefit is due to the high amount of potassium contained in grapefruit, which has been shown to negate the bad effects of sodium. One effect of this is the lowering of systolic blood pressure. Research has shown that taking half a grapefruit each day can lower systolic blood pressure by 5 points!
Another ingredient of grapefruit that can help to lower blood pressure is pectin. This a form of fiber that has also been seen to bring down systolic blood pressure, while also helping to alleviate the hardening of the arteries.
As we have already mentioned, grapefruit can interfere with some medications. This is true of blood pressure medications. So, if you are taking any blood pressure medication, then you should not consume grapefruit.
The grapefruit is low on the glycemic index, with a rating of 25. This makes it one of the lowest rated glycemic index fruit. That tends to somewhat mitigate the high carb count of the fruit. In addition, the grapefruit is very low in calories. A very filling grapefruit will only add one hundred calories to your daily nutrition total.
For general health and wellbeing benefits, the recommended daily intake is half a grapefruit each day.
Is Grapefruit Keto Friendly?
There is no doubt that the grapefruit has a whole lot of nutritional benefit. However, when it comes to the ketogenic diet, we must focus on just one thing – it’s macronutrient profile. When you are on the keto diet, you will be following a macro profile that is similar to the following:
- 70% Fat
- 25% Protein
- 5% Carbohydrate
Unfortunately the macronutrient profile for grapefruit doesn’t even come close to this. Here is a reminder of the macro breakdown for a 100 gram portion of this fruit . . .
- 0.1 grams Fat
- 11 grams Carbohydrates
- 0.8 grams Protein
On a percentage basis, that would look something like this . . .
- 0.001% Fat
- 92.999% Carbohydrates
- 7% Protein
That means that the grapefruit is not your friend when you are trying to get and stay in a state of ketosis. When you are on the keto diet, your goal is keep your carbohydrates down to between 20 and 50 grams, depending on what particular form of ketogenic nutrition you are following. So, one piece of this fruit could take up your entire carbohydrate count for the day!
As a general rule, then, you should keep grapefruits out of your keto nutrition plan. However, there may be times on a keto diet when you strategically carb load. This could be after 5 days of going strictly keto or it could be after you have completed a workout. Exercise will use up your glycogen levels and so you need to take in some carbs post workout in order to restore glycogen levels in your muscle cells. At these times, you should consider taking in half a grapefruit in order to benefit from the many positive aspects that we have laid out here.
What fruits can I eat on a keto diet?
Now that we have identified that grapefruit is not a good fit for the keto diet, what about other fruit? Is all fruit on the no-go list? Not necessarily.
It all depends on the carb count of the fruit in question.
Although grapefruit is considered to be exceptionally high in its carb count, many fruit, especially citrus fruit, are relatively low in their carb count. But they also contain many healthy ingredients. These include fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system as well as helping with weight loss. Here are the 8 best low carb fruits that you can enjoy on the keto diet . . .
Not only is the avocado one of the best fruits you can eat on the keto diet, it is one of the best nutrition positive foods you can eat on keto full stop! That is because it completely reverses the macro count that you get with a fruits like grapefruit. Half an avocado will provide you with 15 grams of fat and just 2 grams of carbohydrates.
Avocadoes provide you with a ton of health benefits. They will also deliver mono-unsaturated fats that will easily break down into ketones to promote weight loss. use avocado as a spread, add it to salads or just snack on avocado cubes when you feel a little hungry.
Avocadoes are also rich in phytonutrients, such as lutein, which are very good for your immune system, lowering blood sugar and having an anti-inflammatory effect. In addition, they provide you with more potassium than bananas.
Olives are another keto diet friendly food. You will get 3 grams of fat with 10 olives, for a cost of just 1.5 grams of carbohydrates. You also get a good amount of sodium, which is a definite bonus when you’re on the keto diet. That’s because you will naturally excrete more sodium while on keto.
Olives are very high in dietary antioxidants. They have also been shown to reduce blood pressure by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in the blood. This makes them a powerful food to help combat heart disease. The high levels of Vitamin E in olives also makes them great for brain health and as a defensive against the oxidative stress that is caused by free radical damage.
You probably already know that coconuts are a keto favorite. A half cup of shredded meat will provide you with 13 grams of fat and just 2.5 grams of carbohydrates. Just be sure that, when you’re buying it off the shelf, there is no sugar added!
Coconuts are a great source of dietary fiber, in addition to magnesium, Vitamin B6, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium. A large portion of the fatty acids contained in coconuts is lauric acid, which has many benefits for the body. One of them is that is increases the amount of healthy HDL cholesterol.
Because they are very low in carbohydrates, berries are a very popular fruit option on the keto diet. Among the most loved are blackberries, not only do they taste great, they also provide you with two grams of fiber and only 1.5 grams of net carbs in a quarter of a cup of blackberries.
Blackberries are very high in Vitamin C, giving you more of it than oranges. In fact, one cup of blackberries with provide half of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin C. Also high in Vitamin K and manganese, blackberries are an effective fighter against inflammation, and heart disease.
Raspberries are another keto diet friendly berry. They have about the same number of carbohydrates as blackberries, with 1.5 grams. One of the great things about the keto diet is that you can use whipped cream to your heart’s delight. That means that you can indulge in berries and whipped cream whenever you get the urge. However, don’t get too carried way with the amount of berries that you put into your mouth – even their small number of carbs can quickly add up!
Raspberries are an especially good way to get antioxidants, including Vitamin C, quercetin and gallic acid. It also contains ellagic acid, which has been shown to be beneficial in the fight against cancer.
Strawberries have slightly more net carbs than blackberries and raspberries, at 2 net grams per quarter cup. Strawberries are rich in manganese, potassium, they are high in fiber and rich in polyphenols.
Yes, tomatoes are a fruit – and they happen to be one that is keto friendly. Half a cup of tomatoes will provide you with just two net grams of carbs. Cherry tomatoes are a great addition to the keto diet and can be used in all sorts of keto friendly recipes. Tomatoes contain a key antioxidant called lycopene, which has been seen to have many health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health.
Tomatoes are also a rich in potassium, folate, Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
Few people enjoy chewing on a lemon, but they do make a good addition to salads, water, or sour tea. Squeeze a wedge of lemon into your water, and you are adding just half gram of carbs to your diet.
Limes are a citrus fruit that is compatible with keto nutrition. They are high in Vitamin C, are an aid to digestion and are able to improve cardiovascular health. Limes also have a good mount of water in them.
Bell Peppers are a low calorie, low carb fruit that can be used as either fruit or a vegetable. As well as being high in Vitamin C, they also contain a lot of carotenoids and antioxidants. These will improve your immunity, and boost your vision.
Plums contain high levels of Vitamins A, C and K as well as providing high levels of such minerals as potassium, copper and manganese. You will get twice as many polyphenols in plums than in virtually any other fruit out there. Finally, plums are rich in antioxidants to fight inflammation in the body.
What About Citrus Fruits?
Citrus fruits will have more carbs in them than other types of fruit, so you need to be careful about your consumption of them on a keto diet. Here is a list of fruits with the number of carbohydrates they contain per 100 grams. If you are on a strict keto diet, then you will probably want to avoid anything that contains more thn 7 grams of carbs per 100 grams of weight.
- Peaches – 8
- Oranges – 9
- Clementine – 10
- Plum -10
- Cherries – 10
- Kiwifruit – 12
- Apples – 12
- Pears – 12
- Mangos – 13
- Grapes – 16
- Bananas – 20
Fructose and Keto
The type of sugar that is primarily found in fruit is called fructose. This is one of the three main types of sugar, the other two being glucose and sucrose. Because they contain just one sugar molecule, glucose and fructose are known as simple sugars. Sucrose is a complex sugar, being made up of both glucose and fructose.
Carbohydrates are a fast acting energy provider for the body. However, fructose differs in that it must first be converted into glucose by the liver before it can be used for energy. One of the good things about fructose in terms of weight loss is that it does not raise your insulin levels as much as glucose. However there is a downside to fructose. It is not as filling as either glucose or sucrose and can lead to fat storage. Too much fructose can also lead to . . .
- Increased LDL cholesterol levels
- Fat storage in the liver
- Free radical activity
The fact that the liver has to metabolize fructose makes it especially bad news for people who are on the keto diet. Immediately the liver turns fructose into glucose, it will send it to your muscle cells in order to replenish your glycogen stores. This could be enough to knock you out of keto.
The Bottom Line
Grapefruits contain a lot of health benefits and are high in water content. If you are not on keto, we suggest following the recommended daily intake of half a grapefruit each day. However, because of its relatively high carb count, the grapefruit is a food that should not be eaten when you are on a low carb diet such as keto. However, you can benefit from the health giving ingredients of the grapefruit at times when you cycle out of keto or immediately following a gym workout in order to replenish your muscle cell’s glycogen stores.