I love grapefruit. Some of the sweetest grapefruits I have ever tasted are grown right in my father’s backyard. I’m not sure, but I think they’re called Texas Ruby Reds and boy are they delicious. But despite my personal fondness for the fruit, I had to laugh when I found out about the grapefruit diet.
What I learned is that this diet has had many incarnations, but the original plan was developed in the 1930’s. That’s when this fruit was first touted to be a dieter’s dream. And why not? Grapefruit has no fat, is high in fiber, low in calories and it’s packed full of vitamin C.
So how does the grapefruit diet work? Well, fans of this particular diet claim the fruit contains certain enzymes that, when eaten before meals, help burn off fat. Some even claimed that you could lose up to ten pounds in ten days by simply introducing this minor ritual.
However, before you b-line it to the produce isle of your local grocer, let me lay a few facts down for you, particularly about the diet’s fat-burning claims.
The truth is; grapefruit itself doesn’t burn a drop of fat. Never has…
However, there has been research that does lend some hope to the effectiveness of the grapefruit diet. In one study, people who ate half a grapefruit before meals for 12 weeks lost significantly more weight than those who abstained from consuming any grapefruit products (including grapefruit juice).
My hypothesis is that perhaps the water and fiber contained in grapefruit can help you feel full and as a result, you end up eating less. Or perhaps the ritual of having a small meal (the grapefruit) before having a main course allows enough time for the stomach to signal the brain that it’s full. Either way could be valid, but if you’re someone who still believes that a lowly grapefruit will melt away your fat, well… get ready for disappointment.
Besides, in my opinion, any meal plan that says you can lose 10 pounds in 10 days isn’t just a “fad” diet; it’s just plain unhealthy. For lasting results, it’s much better to lose weight at a slow and steady pace while following a plan you can live with for life.
Personally, I believe you have a better chance of success if you cut portion sizes, ate four or five smaller meals rather than three large ones, and included more exercise into your daily activities.
Most of us don’t get enough exercise as it is, and this is especially true for those of us who have reached middle age and beyond. And while you certainly don’t have to become a gym fanatic, you do need to incorporate a little extra physical activity into your everyday life.
Along the same lines as finding ways to increase physical activity, you can make additional progress toward weight loss by implementing simple changes at mealtimes. Instead of frying your food, try grilling, baking or steaming. Save money and your health by learning how to cook rather than relying on fast foods and prepackaged meals that will add inches to your waistline and eventually clog your arteries.
Choose to eat more fruit and vegetables, too. Yes, include a grapefruit or two if you like, but the point is to eat a variety of produce. Fruits and veggies are high in fiber, low in calories, very filling and provide a cornucopia of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Your skin will glow from all the extra vitamins and minerals you are consuming!
And while I realize the tone of this posting may sound a tad bit harsh or preachy, I really don’t mean to be. All I’m trying to say is this; don’t depend on fad diets if you want real, life changing results. Instead, focus on the little steps that lead to better health. However, if you feel the need to shrink your waistline by using fads like the 12 day grapefruit diet, then who am I to stop you? Just make sure that you really, really like grapefruit – a lot… And don’t be surprised when the weight comes back.