using grapefruit diet for weight loss

There have been several adaptations of the use of grapefruits in diets that have been referred to as the "grapefruit diet" since the early 1930s when the application of grapefruits for weight loss started gaining popularity. Their popularity was at its peak in the 1980s.

So far, there have been about three different types of grapefruit-related diets circulating which have been referred to as the grapefruit diet. The first two adaptations (a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) and a high-protein diet) are considered fad diets while the third is the regular use of grapefruit or grapefruit juice as part of a wholesome method of weight reduction.

The earliest adaptations of the grapefruit diet were promoted as very low-calorie diet (VLCD) with the most popular being referred to as the "Hollywood diet". There were two different regimens of the diet – the 7-day and the 21-day version. These very low-calorie diet versions of the grapefruit diet essentially involved the consumption of small amounts of salad and lean meat along with the intake of black coffee and half a grapefruit at every meal.

Breakfast in a general very low-calorie diet (VLCD) version of the grapefruit diet included 1/2 grapefruit, 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, and either black coffee (with no sugar) or unsweetened tea.

For lunch dieters were to have 1/2 grapefruit, 8 ounces of either lean chicken, lean meat, or fish, and either black coffee (no sugar) or unsweetened tea.

Dinner consisted of 1/2 grapefruit, sufficient amount of salad using low-calorie dressing, 8 ounces of either lean chicken, lean meat, or fish, and black coffee (no sugar) or unsweetened tea.

Dieters are also not allowed to eat any snacks and to use only herbs in seasoning their meat and fish as no soy sauce is allowed. The diet is intended to be used for 12 days with the dieter taking the following two days off. This dieter is meant to use this 2-week dieting pattern indefinitely.

Another version of the "Hollywood diet" surfaced around 2007 but this time as a 24- or 48-hour juice fast that was promoted to help detoxify a dieter’s body and also achieve rapid weight loss. The detoxification diet was based on two ideas: (a) that the use of cider vinegar and grapefruits help to "flush the system of impurities" and (b) that the fiber in grapefruit eases constipation as well as fastens the passage of food through the intestine.

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There is equally a high-protein version of the grapefruit diet that began circulating in the 1970s and that keeps resurfacing every once in a while. Though some forms of this diet claim that they work because grapefruits contain special "fat-burning" enzymes, cross-examination of most of the diets have made people simply describe them as "just plain weird". For example, how weird would you consider a recommendation by one of these diets telling you to eat until you are stuffed because the more you eat, the more weight you will lose?

The third version of the grapefruit diet has received huge attention of recent because of a 2004 publication of a 12-week study carried out by Dr. Ken Fujioka and his team of scientists at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center of the Scripps Clinic in California in 2003.

The 91 overweight participants in the study were divided into four different groups by adding varying combinations of placebo capsules, grapefruit capsules, grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruits to their diets. Other than the recommendation to take a 30-minute walk three times a week, the participants were instructed not to make any other change in their eating habits.

The study found that three of the groups that had been placed on some form of grapefruit had lost a lot more significant weight than the control group that was place on only placebo. The group that was placed on the fresh grapefruit lost the most weight during the study.

Eating half a "fresh grapefruit" before every meal and engaging in regular daily exercise, according to the study, can help dieters lose about 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks. Also, the same study asserts that drinking a glass of "grapefruit juice" before every meal combined with regular exercise for a 12-week period can help dieters to lose approximately 3.3 pounds.

While this study effectively puts to rest most of the criticisms of experts about the effectiveness of grapefruit and grapefruit juice in weight reduction, the study itself however did not use grapefruit in the context of a "grapefruit diet". The study, titled "The Effects of Grapefruit on Weight and Insulin Resistance: Relationship to the Metabolic Syndrome" was designed to actually measure the effectiveness of grapefruit and grapefruit products such as juices and capsules in treating insulin resistance and thus weight reduction.

If according to the study, grapefruit is effective in helping the body reduce and regulate blood glucose levels and consequently, insulin levels; it therefore becomes a little clearer why weight loss would be one of the natural effects on the human body.

Insulin is a hormone that is usually secreted by the pancreas into the bloodstream whenever there is an abnormal increase in blood glucose levels. The secretion of insulin signals body cells to absorb the excess glucose in the bloodstream and store it as glycogen in liver and muscle cells and as fat in adipose tissues (fat cells).

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Insulin sensitivity can however be seriously hampered by overeating either as a "conditioned response" (a learned habit) or an "emotional eating" habit. Overeating generally results in excessive insulin secretion which over time causes the insulin receptors on the cells to become "numbed" or "de-sensitized" to the effect of insulin. This condition has been shown to encourage the excessive storage of glucose more as fat in adipose tissues (fat cells) due to the limited storage capacity of liver and muscle cells.

Insulin resistance leads to people becoming overweight therefore increasing their risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Insulin resistance is generally considered a precursor of Type 2 diabetes, which has a 90 percent prevalence rate among people with diabetes.

In simplistic terms, once insulin levels remain constant, the body becomes more effective in fat burning as there is practically no avenue for fat storage. Eating or drinking grapefruit while hungry and just before meals essentially reduces the body’s insulin level and stimulates the body’s fat burning mechanism in such a way as to burn the subsequently ingested foods for energy rather than storing them as fat after every meal.

The process is however a bit more complex because of certain issues. First, the particular ingredient or compound in grapefruit that causes these effects is yet unknown and secondly, there is the fact that the precise working mechanism of how grapefruit and its derivatives assist in restoring insulin sensitivity and thus weight reduction are not fully understood at the moment.

Nonetheless, the study has categorically proven that – regardless of what precise compound(s) in grapefruit is responsible for its effectiveness and thus how it works – grapefruit does in one way or the other effectively help people lose weight. Combining the weight reduction ability of the grapefruit with a sustainable diet plan and regular exercise is a guaranteed way to achieve a sustainable healthy body weight.