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Grapefruit Juice Diet – Does it Work For Weight Loss and My Thoughts

grapefruit diet

The grapefruit juice diet has earned its popularity thanks to Hollywood since the early 20th century. And so this grapefruit juice diet became very popular for a while and some people still strongly believe in it today.

I generally treat every diet plan with caution be it the Atkin’s diet or the Dr Oz’s diet or some “XYZ diet”.

The first question I generally ask for any diet is “Does the Grapefruit Juice Diet work?

YES. It works but it isn’t a diet that I would recommend for reasons that I will explain later on in this article.

How Does The Grapefruit Juice Diet Work?

This is probably your next biggest question. To fully understand how this diet works, you really need to get to know the fruit better.

The grapefruit is a low amounts of calories but has moderate amounts of protein.

This means that if you consume a whole lot of grapefruit, you will get lower amounts of calories, lower amounts of carbohydrate but will feel full enough thanks to the high amounts of fibre and pectin.

People who are familiar with this diet will know that it takes an average of 12 days to notice a weight loss of about 10 pounds. If you want to continue on this diet longer than 12 days, you will need a 2 day break before continuing onto the next cycle.

Since this diet is a low-carb diet, you are permitted to continue eating protein and fat wherever you can source them be it in fish, eggs, meat, bacon or any other source of protein. However, you are not permitted to take any sweet beverages, fruits or foot. Most versions of this diet will only allow you to take a lot of plain water or black coffee or black tea. You can drink milk. Some versions only allow skim milk.

People who go onto this diet will only have on average 1000-1200 calories a day. Any diet that only has that amount of calorie input will definitely loose weight.

The recommended daily calorie intake for men is 2500 calories/day and for women, 2000 calories/day


Learn more about other diets here

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What Other Nutritional Benefits Do I Get From The Grapefruit Juice Diet?

Thankfully, this fruit is not as superficial as the diet. Grapefruits get their colour from an antioxidant called lycopene. It is also rich in Vitamin C and pectin. Its antioxidant properties makes it a favourite ingredient on many juicing and smothie recipes.


What About Its Health Benefits?

Studies have shown that the grapefruit seed extract has potent antifungal, antibiotic and antiparasitic properties when used locally and orally. Grapefruit seed extracts also help maintain bowel health integrity.

One study also showed that pectin has some effects on coronary heart disease. The juice has also been shown to reduce occurence of renal stones and urinary tract infection.

Its juice has also been shown to prevent Irritable Bowel Syndrome and atopic eczema

One thing to note about grapefruit juice is that it is a potent CYP3A4 inhibitor.

This inhibitory effect means that you must exercise caution when you are taking this fruit in any form while taking medications like antiarrhymics, antipsychotics, calcium channel blockers, antibiotics. This means you will have higher concentration of these drugs in your body which may get toxic if you are eating too much grapefruit or on the grapefruit juice diet.


Why I Am Not Recommending The Grapefruit Juice Diet ?

A low carbohydrate / low calorie diet like the Grapefruit juice diet will definitely result in weight loss over a period of 12 days. However, the body has a remarkable way of getting used to it and instead of getting rid carbs, it would convert them into fats and once you convert back to your normal high calorie, high carb diet, you will quickly gain your weight. In some cases, people have reported more significant weight gains than when they were not using this diet.

There is probably a good side to this diet in the sense that it reduces sugar levels, it is high in glycaemic index and is great at making you feel full. I would say that taking grapefruit juice does help with diabetes. However, just like many other fruit that are high in fibre, low in carbs, you still can get the same beneficial effects.

Check out some other great juicing recipe ideas here:


My Personal Opinion / Verdict

At the end of the day, my personal preference would be to go for a diet that is wholesome balance and not lopsided. This grapefruit juice diet is not one that fits into my believe. Although there are nutritional and health benefits, going on this diet is not something I would recommend although I would continue to advocate drinking grapefruit juice or eating grapefruits but in moderation, of course….



  1. Cerda JJ, Robbins FL, Burgin CW, et al, “The Effects of Grapefruit Pectin on Patients at Risk for Coronary Heart Disease Without Altering Diet or Lifestyle,” Clin Cardiol, 1988, 11(9):589-94. [PubMed 3229016]
  2. Ionescu G, Kiehl R, Wichmann-Kunz F, et al, “Oral Citrus Seed Extract in Atopic Eczema: In vitro and In vivo Studies on Intestinal Microflora,” Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 1990, 5:72-3.
  3. Trinchieri A, Lizzano R, Bernardini P, et al, “Effect of Acute Load of Grapefruit Juice on Urinary Excretion of Citrate and Urinary Risk Factors for Renal Stone Formation,” Dig Liver Dis, 2002, 34(Suppl 2):S160-3. [PubMed 12408462]
  4. Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Chief Editors: Ulbricht C, Basch E, Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Reference – Evidence-Based Clinical Reviews, USA: Elsevier/Mosby, 2005.


{ 3 comments… add one }
  • James August 21, 2012, 5:12 pm

    Very interesting, informative, yet still mysterious history about the diet. Do you have any idea who spawned the controversial “Mayo Clinic” diet?
    I personally recommend grapefruit to my training clients for lunch asn along with your mention, it keeps you not overly full however very satisfied.
    Is it the grapefruit that makes the diet or the seed? I use to sell a TON of grapefruit seed extract for a variety of reasons at Vitamin World

    • admin August 26, 2012, 12:12 pm

      Hi James,

      Thanks for your thoughts. Not sure who caused the controversy but it has certainly stirred up the community

  • dodo@lip cancer September 1, 2012, 2:55 pm

    that’s true that we’re getting gain weight easyly after extreme diet. in one of site I read (I forgot the link), our body need much nutrients after much weight loss in short time, so if we’re back to original diet habit, the body will back as before we change the diet.

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