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People Claim the 'Grapefruit Diet' Can Help You Lose 10+ Pounds—But Is It Legit?

If you love grapefruit, a dietitian shares everything to know about this popular weight-loss trend.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

The Grapefruit Diet has been a popular weight-loss trend for decades, promising rapid weight loss of 10+ pounds in just a few weeks. The diet calls for consuming grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice as part of each meal. Advocates of this diet claim that the fruit's unique enzymes help burn fat, while others believe its high fiber content helps curb appetite.

Despite its enduring popularity, many experts question its effectiveness and sustainability. In this article, we'll explore the Grapefruit Diet's origins, how it works, and what science says about its potential benefits and drawbacks.

What is the Grapefruit Diet?

grapefruit and grapefruit juice

Imagine a diet where you could indulge in a sweet yet tangy fruit while shedding pounds. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Enter the Grapefruit Diet, a weight-loss plan that reportedly dates back to the 1920s and 30s, which revolves around—you guessed it—grapefruits!

The idea is simple: Eat a low-carb and high-protein diet, and consume half a grapefruit (or a glass of grapefruit juice) before each meal to supposedly help you burn fat and lose weight.

Some versions of the diet also restrict calories or focus on specific food combinations. While it may sound like a juicy deal, the Grapefruit Diet has its skeptics. Critics argue that any weight loss is likely due to the diet's overall calorie restriction rather than any magical powers of grapefruits. Plus, eating grapefruits with every meal can get pretty old pretty fast.

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The benefits of the Grapefruit Diet:


Grapefruit is so good for you and tastes so amazing first thing in the AM 😋😊 #animalsreact #showerthoughts #wellness

♬ adore you by harry styles – 👿

The health benefits of the Grapefruit Diet, touted by its advocates, include that grapefruits are low in calories but high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied while consuming fewer calories. They are also packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports a healthy immune system.

Some proponents of the Grapefruit Diet believe that the fruit's enzymes can help burn fat, although more research is needed to confirm this claim. One study, in particular, found that obese individuals who consumed half a fresh grapefruit prior to meals lost a substantial amount of weight.

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People who have tried a version of the diet or consume grapefruit regularly have spoken out on TikTok about this fruit's potential benefits. One user, Mona Vand, Dr. of Pharmacy, shared in a video, "Healthy girl habit #7: Eat 1/2 a grapefruit a day! [They contain] an enzyme known to break down cellulite [and help] boost collagen."

Another TikToker, @Iam_A.marie, shared in a clip, "I've noticed less bloating when I drink a shot of grapefruit juice in the morning; it helps get rid of belly fat." The TikToker revealed this grapefruit juice habit helped her drop 14 pounds.

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The risks of the Grapefruit Diet:

holding grapefruit

While the Grapefruit Diet may seem like a sweet deal, it comes with its risks. One major concern is that grapefruit can interact with certain medications, including some statins and anti-anxiety drugs, leading to dangerous side effects.

Grapefruit contains compounds that can interfere with the enzymes responsible for breaking down certain medications in your digestive system. When this happens, the medication may not be broken down properly, leading to higher levels of the drug in your bloodstream than intended. This can increase the risk of experiencing serious side effects.

It's crucial to check with your healthcare provider before adding grapefruit to your diet if you're taking medications, especially statins for cholesterol or certain anti-anxiety medications, to avoid these potential interactions.

Additionally, the rapid weight loss promised by this diet is often unsustainable and can result in muscle loss instead of fat loss. This is because the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy when it's not getting enough calories and nutrients from food.

Losing muscle mass can harm your metabolism, as muscle burns more calories at rest than fat. Therefore, rapid weight loss diets can lead to a slower metabolism in the long term, making it easier to regain weight once normal eating patterns resume.

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Is the Grapefruit Diet effective?

eating grapefruit

While some people may experience weight loss on this diet, it's important to consider the bigger picture.

The weight loss is likely due to the diet's severe calorie restriction rather than any magical properties of grapefruit. Such rapid weight loss is often unsustainable and can lead to muscle loss, nutrient deficiencies, and a slowed metabolism in the long run.

Additionally, any weight loss is often regained once normal eating patterns resume. So, while the Grapefruit Diet may show short-term results, its effectiveness and long-term sustainability are questionable.

Moral of the grapefruit story?


In conclusion, while the Grapefruit Diet may offer some initial weight loss, its long-term effectiveness and sustainability are questionable. The diet's restrictive nature and potential for muscle loss and the risks of grapefruit-medication interactions raise concerns among health experts.

Instead of relying on fad diets like the Grapefruit Diet, it's best to focus on balanced, sustainable eating habits and regular physical activity for lasting weight loss and overall health. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, especially if you're taking medications.

Kristen Carli, MS, RD
Kristen Carli is the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. Read more about Kristen
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