Grapefruit Diet


Grapefruit is a great natural simple carbohydrate that is high in fiber and vitamin C.  However, some supporters believe that grapefruit has the ability to burn fat and lead to weight loss, thus paving the way for one of the more popular quick-fix fad diets known as the Grapefruit Diet.  Surprisingly, this particular fad diet has withstood the test of time.  Some variation or another of the Grapefruit Diet has been around since the 1930s.


You can lose 10-pounds in 12-days by eating grapefruit and following a specific meal plan.


This is a low-calorie (800 to 1,000/day) diet.  It calls for the eating of a ½ a grapefruit with every meal, and strict adherence to a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein meal plan.

Program Overview

There are several variations of the Grapefruit Diet, including the Mayo Clinic Diet, which has nothing to do with the esteemed Mayo Clinic.  The meal plan suggestion outlined below is but one variation, which suggests you stay on the plan for 12 days, and then come off for 2 days.  

For Breakfast

1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)

2 Eggs (any style)

2 Slices Bacon 


1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)

Meat (any style, any amount)

Salad (any kind of dressing) 


1/2 Grapefruit or 4 oz. Grapefruit Juice (unsweetened)

Meat (any style, any amount) (fish may be substituted for meat)

Vegetables (any green, yellow, or red vegetables cooked in butter or any seasoning) 

Bed Time Snack 

1 glass tomato juice or 1 glass Skim milk 

Participants are allowed to eat a variety of vegetables including red onions, green onions, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, and peas, but should avoid white onions, potatoes, and celery. Other big no-no’s include desserts, bread, sugars, and starches.

Plan Strengths

Dramatic weight loss is likely to occur because of the low level of allowable daily calories allowed.

One limited study was conducted on the Grapefruit Diet, and the results pointed to the benefits of adding grapefruit to a diet.   Dr. Ken Fujioka of the Scripps Clinic carried out a 12-week clinical trial of the Grapefruit Diet and found that “…on average, participants who ate half a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds, while those who drank a serving of grapefruit juice three times a day lost 3.3 pounds. However, many patients in the study lost more than 10 pounds.”  Researchers speculated that the chemical properties of grapefruit worked to reduce insulin levels and encouraged weight loss.   

Another study funded by the Florida Department of Citrus found that the addition of a half grapefruit or 4 ounces of juice with meals resulted in an average weight loss of more than 3 pounds in 12 weeks.  Some participants even lost 10 pounds.

Plan Weaknesses

The Grapefruit Diet is nothing more than a very low-calorie diet plan that throws in grapefruit for good measure.  It simply does not provide enough calories (only 800 a day) for participants to remain healthy.  

The plan lacks variation and its strict adherence to eating only what is laid out in the meal plan means that many participants will not get an adequate supply of needed nutrients.  

Exercise is included as an afterthought in some variations, in others, it does not even figure.  However, given that physical activity IS a proven way to burn fat and lose weight, it should be an important part of any program.

Finally, this approach is simply not sustainable or realistic.  Long-term success cannot occur because it does not bring about an actual lifestyle change.  As soon as participants go off the diet, weight gain will likely occur again.


Grapefruits are a great source of vitamin C and fiber, but they have no mystical fat-burning properties.  Building a diet plan – especially one that is so restrictive in calories – is simply dangerous to one’s health.  One isolated study does not provide enough clinical evidence of this diet’s approach.  However, by all means, enjoy the benefits of grapefruits and incorporate them into your meal plan whenever possible.

The information provided here is for educational or informational purposes only.  Dave DePew does not endorse any of the programs/services reviewed here.  

Additional Resources

Grapefruit Diet, WebMD 

Grapefruit Diet, Wikipedia 

The Grapefruit Diet Plan, Diet Bites