Health Fitness

History and health effects of the grapefruit diet to help celebrities lose weight

With recent trends in obesity and the expansion of body size, nutrition and weight loss have become popular topics in everyday conversations. The ever-expanding diet industry has spawned numerous wacky nutrition tips and products to capitalize on our growing obsession. Many of these “fad diets” make pseudoscientific claims that appeal to people wanting to lose a few pounds. The focus on a particular food group or secret health food gives many of these diets the mystique of becoming popular. In recent history, one of the most popular fad diets has focused on consuming only grapefruit.

The Grapefruit Diet, also known as the Hollywood Diet, originated in the United States in the 1930s. The diet centers on the claim that grapefruit has extraordinary weight-loss properties, such as a fat-burning enzyme. Most nutritionists consider the grapefruit diet unhealthy due to the absence of essential vitamins and minerals and the low number of calories (less than 1200 calories per day). On the other hand, incorporating a grapefruit at every meal can be beneficial to the diet of a healthy person, as long as the dieter is not allergic to grapefruit or is taking medications that interact with citrus fruits.

The Grapefruit Diet is a low carbohydrate diet that generally occurs in a two week cycle (12 days on diet with 2 days off) that is repeated until the desired body weight is achieved. Proponents of the diet suggest that grapefruit helps burn body fat when consumed with foods high in dietary fat. Consequently, the diet includes the consumption of meat, eggs and fish, while restricting the consumption of sugars, sweet fruits, cereals and other sources of carbohydrates. For best results, the diet requires three meals high in fat and protein, supplemented with a grapefruit and with a daily caloric intake of less than 1,200 calories.

The diet gained popularity in the 1970s after being mistakenly labeled the “Mayo Clinic Diet.” Although the Clinic had no connection to diet, the brand name helped make the diet popular. In the 1980s, the diet was reduced to just 10 days with 2 days off, earning it the nickname “10-Day Diet to Lose 10 Pounds.” A 2004 study from the Florida Department of Citrus looked at whether grapefruit could help you lose weight. Participants were encouraged to eat half a grapefruit with each meal and to exercise regularly. The results were encouraging: Several participants lost more than 10 pounds over 12 weeks. Note that the study focused on adding grapefruit to a healthy diet, not adopting a normal grapefruit diet. However, several people claim that the diet is successful in the short term, but maintaining long-term weight loss still requires the adoption of a healthy lifestyle.

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