the grapefruit diet

The grapefruit diet has been circulating around in various forms since the early 1930s and has mostly been regarded as fad diet. However, it is important to note that there are actually three different types of grapefruit-related diets that have been circulating.

The first two of these diets are in and of themselves, just fad diets. They were generally circulated as either very low-calorie diets or high-protein diets that made the consumption of grapefruits the main stay of the diets. The third form of the diet in and of itself cannot really be considered a "grapefruit diet" literally as it would be a misnomer.

The third form can best be described as the use of grapefruit or grapefruit derivatives as part of an overall strategy to weight reduction. This form of the grapefruit diet has recently received huge publicity and increased interest from dieters after a publication in 2004 clinically proved that the use grapefruit does have some significant positive impact on weight loss.

The publication was the outcome of a study conducted by Dr. Ken Fujioka of the Scripps Clinic in California in San Diego and which was later published in an article titled "The Effects of Grapefruit on Weight and Insulin Resistance: Relationship to the Metabolic Syndrome" in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

91 overweight individuals participated in the study and were divided into four different groups. Each group was given a combination made up of a placebo capsule, a grapefruit capsule, grapefruit juice or fresh grapefruit. The participants during the 12-week of the study were instructed to engage in a 30-minute walks three times in a week and also not to make any changes in their eating habits.

After the 12-week period, three out of the four groups with some form of grapefruit included in their combination showed more significant weight loss than the control group which had only placebo. However, those placed on the fresh grapefruit lost the most significant amount of weight.

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The study thereafter asserted that dieters who consume 1/2 a grapefruit before each meal will be able to lose about 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks while those who drink a glass of grapefruit juice before each meal can expect to lose about 3.3 pounds within the same 12 weeks period. The study claims this can be achieved with little or no modification to ones current diet provided that the dieter engages in regular physical exercise.

According to the study, it appears that the effect grapefruit has on weight reduction is partly due to its ability to reduce blood glucose levels. The study was actually aimed at measuring the effectiveness of grapefruit and grapefruit derivatives in treating insulin resistance and also in lowering weight in the participants who took part in the study. The participants were in no way attempting to diet but still lost the weight without making any extra dieting effort except for the added grapefruit and the recommended 30-minute walk.

This new dimension brought into a dieting phenomenon that has mostly been characterized by unbalanced and dangerous fad dieting regimens suddenly has given the term "grapefruit diet" a new perspective. It sure appears a nice strategy to adopt for those who need to shed some extra weight by making necessary adjustments to incorporate the idea into their current weight loss approach.

The main feature of any grapefruit diet is the general recommendation to have a daily drink of some amount of grapefruit juice in the morning while the dieter is still hungry and most importantly to have this before breakfast. This is believed to help adjust the body’s glucose level and therefore automatically also adjust its insulin levels. It is also supposed to jolt and consequently increase the body’s metabolism.

Dieters using a grapefruit based diet are essentially required to either eat half a fresh grapefruit or have a glass of unsweetened and natural grapefruit juice before each meal. Most meals advocated with the very low-calorie diets and high-protein diet are actually aimed at achieving fast weight loss and with the way they are structured makes for an unhealthy eating regime and frankly cannot be sustained by an averagely active person.

However, using grapefruit as a supplement to a balanced weight reduction diet by either eating half a fresh grapefruit or having one serving of grapefruit juice before meals appears to be a more proactive way of using this wonderful fruit in achieving ones weight loss goals. Grapefruit is known to reduce hunger due to the fact that its fiber content makes it relatively filling. The fiber content also helps to prevent constipation.

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Grapefruit also has a low glycemic index (GI) of 25, which is basically a measurement of the rate at which ingested carbohydrate-containing foods are absorbed into the bloodstream to affect blood glucose level within two hours of their consumption. Grapefruit’s low GI allows it to move slowly through the digestive tract thus helping to prevent sudden changes in the blood glucose levels.

Apart from grapefruit being a low-calorie food (half a standard grapefruit has about 41 calories), it is also rich in flavonoids that are helpful in lowering the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Grapefruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C (44 mg) while also serving as a good source of pectin (a soluble fiber that helps lower blood cholesterol levels).

The pink- and red-fleshed varieties of grapefruit tend to have more antioxidants and other life-saving compounds and are known to contain Vitamin A (a beta-carotene) and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant believed to slow down the aging of skin as well as connective tissues. Lycopene also plays important role in preventing chronic diseases such as prostate cancer and heart disease.

On the flip side, grapefruit is known to contain some compounds that interact with various types of medications in the digestive tract. While there are several drugs that can be "potentiated" (making their effect stronger) by taking them with grapefruit or grapefruit juice, there are also others whose effectiveness is greatly hampered when taken together with grapefruit. Grapefruit does not however interact with drugs taken by injection.

Grapefruit is equally known to interact with chemicals in herbs such as herbal teas, herbal compounds associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Ayurveda, as well as other western herbal preparations. Also, people who have low blood pressure should be careful with the use of grapefruit because grapefruit have been shown by studies to reduce blood pressure levels.

While most interactions between grapefruit juice and prescription drugs are generally not that serious, others can however have fatal effects. It is therefore recommended that dieters should consult with their doctors or pharmacists before beginning a grapefruit diet to avoid any possible adverse interaction with medications.

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Apart from the concern over the interaction of grapefruit with prescription medications, nutritionists generally consider grapefruit a healthful fruit to include in a well-balanced diet especially for those who want to healthily lose excess body fat.

Losing approximately 1 pound per month without making any necessary changes to your current eating habit can in all honesty be considered an appreciable impact of grapefruit application in weight reduction. However, if you are really serious about losing weight, it would be advisable to "up the ante" and make some simple but necessary lifestyle and dieting changes to take advantage of the weight reduction effectiveness of grapefruit.

For instance, you can try incorporating grapefruit as a supplement to a low-calorie diet that provides you with about 1,500 to 1,700 calories per day. Combining this dieting regimen with at least the 30-minute walk three times a week recommended by the study can help to fast track your weight loss efforts.

Putting all these facts about grapefruit and its derivatives together, it becomes obvious that grapefruit and grapefruit products apart from helping people healthily lose weight adds a very potent punch of other health-related benefits to improve people’s general wellbeing.

Conclusively, even if weight loss is not a serious issue you are contending with, there is no harm in frequently making use of grapefruit and grapefruit products to spice up and give yourself some extra grapefruit-related healthy punches.