Substitute for Grapefruit in the Grapefruit Diet

Ripe grapefruit
Sliced grapefruit on a counter. (Image: homydesign/iStock/Getty Images)

The grapefruit diet involves adding half a grapefruit to every meal. Several versions of this diet are available online, but they are all very similar. The diet is purported to help you lose a significant amount of weight in a time frame ranging from seven to 21 days. The grapefruit diet also is called the Mayo Clinic diet, although the highly regarded medical facility is not actually associated with this eating plan.

Menu

On the Grapefruit Diet you are required to eat 1/2 a grapefruit at breakfast, lunch and dinner,reports the EveryDiet website. In addition, at breakfast eat two eggs and two slices of bacon, and for lunch have any amount of meat or fish along with a salad and any kind of dressing. Dinner also includes any amount of meat or fish along with vegetables. A nighttime snack is recommended, consisting of either a glass of tomato juice or skim milk.

Specifics

Acceptable vegetables on the grapefruit diet include green, red and yellow vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, green and red onions, lettuce, peas, radishes and spinach. Do not eat celery, potatoes, sweet potatoes or white onions. In addition, do not eat bread or desserts. Limit caffeine to one cup of a caffeinated beverage at mealtime, because caffeine is claimed to affect insulin balance and inhibit fat burning, according to EveryDiet.

Substitutions

The only substitute listed for grapefruit on the grapefruit diet is 4 oz. of unsweetened grapefruit juice, indicates EveryDiet. The theory behind this diet involves a specific combination of foods, including grapefruit, for fat-burning effects. It's important not to eliminate anything from the diet or change the combinations of foods.

Expert Insight

A study conducted by the Scripps Clinic of La Jolla, Calif., and published in the Spring 2006 issue of the "Journal of Medicinal Food" found some benefits of grapefruit for weight loss. With a total of 91 obese participants randomized into various groups, those eating 1/2 a fresh grapefruit or drinking 8 oz. of grapefruit juice three times per day lost about 3.5 lbs. within 12 weeks. Those taking a grapefruit capsule with 7 oz. of apple juice three times per day lost about 2.5 lbs., while a group drinking apple juice lost less than 1 lb. on average. The authors note that including grapefruit in a weight-loss diet appears reasonable.

Safety

Some versions of this diet instruct you to eat until you are full, while others keep the calories under 1,000 per day. Very low-calorie diets are effective for significant weight loss, but the Cleveland Clinic discourages their use without medical supervision. Very low-calorie diets and rapid weight loss can cause gallstones. Less serious side effects can include fatigue and digestive issues such as nausea and constipation or diarrhea.

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