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The Disadvantages of the Grapefruit Diet

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
The Disadvantages of the Grapefruit Diet
A close-up of eggs, bacon, greens and grapefruit. Photo Credit Barbro Bergfeldt/iStock/Getty Images

The grapefruit diet is a very low calorie diet that was created with the overall goal of helping its followers lose pounds quickly. Although you'll eat more than just grapefruit on the diet, it's a fad diet and isn't necessarily safe or appropriate for long-term weight loss and weight maintenance. If you're trying to lose weight, talk to your doctor about better ways to go about reaching that goal.

Grapefruit Diet Explained

A diet that is centered around grapefruit and grapefruit juice, the grapefruit diet claims to work by requiring participants to eat certain combinations of food with the grapefruit. For example, you'll have grapefruit with bacon and eggs for breakfast and grapefruit with meat and salad for lunch. Other foods you'll likely eat include tomato juice, green, red and yellow vegetables, green onions, radishes, broccoli, leafy greens, carrots and peas. You aren't allowed to eat potatoes, white onions and celery. Desserts, sugary foods, starchy foods and bread are off-limits, as well. You get two days off the plan for every 12 days you're on it, according to the EveryDiet website.

Grapefruit Isn't Magical

Weight-loss study participants who ate fresh grapefruit lost more pounds than participants who took a placebo or who did not eat grapefruit in a study published in the "Journal of Medicinal Food" in 2006. Eating grapefruit, however, isn't a magical weight-loss cure. The premise behind the grapefruit diet claims is that the fruit contains a catalyst that jump-starts the fat-burning process. While there is some potential to adding grapefruit to a weight-loss plan, simply eating grapefruit isn't likely to help participants reach their goals.

Encourages Poor Eating Habits

The grapefruit diet doesn't teach or encourage long-term eating habits that will promote weight loss and healthy weight management. For example, one of the diet instructions is to eat until you're stuffed. This isn't a wise decision because eating the wrong foods until you're stuffed can result in an intake of too many calories and uncomfortable bloating. Even if you're eating low-calorie foods to the point of feeling stuffed, and you do lose weight, it's most likely water weight that you'll regain as soon as you're done with the grapefruit diet.

No Medical Backing

There is no medical or credible research study that suggests that the grapefruit diet is safe and effective, both in the short term and the long term. The diet is a crash diet, which most reputable physicians don't recommend to their patients. You should, however, talk to your doctor about the benefits of adding grapefruit to a healthy weight-loss plan.

Additional Drawbacks

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interfere with certain medications, causing them to work improperly. If you take any kind of medication, don't add grapefruit to your weight-loss plan without talking to your doctor first. While grapefruit is rich in vitamin C, the other foods included in the diet aren't necessarily good for you. For example, participants are encouraged to eat any kind of meat, including bacon, often in as large of a portion as they want. Bacon provides unhealthy amounts of saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol. The same goes for butter, which is encouraged, in any amount, on steamed vegetables.

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