Grapefruit diet

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For the "Weird Al" Yankovic song, see Running with Scissors (album).

The grapefruit diet, also known as the Hollywood Diet and erroneously as the Mayo Clinic Diet,[1] is a short-term fad diet that has existed in the United States since at least the 1930s.[2] The diet is based on the claim that grapefruit has a fat-burning enzyme or similar property. The variations of the grapefruit diet that are too low in calories (below 1200 calories a day), too low in carbohydrates, or too low in essential micronutrients are considered unhealthy and potentially dangerous.[3][4] While eating half a grapefruit with every meal may be a good way to incorporate more fruit in the diet of a healthy person, grapefruit and grapefruit juice is harmful if the dieter is taking medicines that can interact with grapefruit juice or is allergic to citruses.[5][6][7]

The grapefruit diet is a low-carb diet. It suggests that grapefruit helps burn body fat when eaten with foods high in dietary fat, which is why the grapefruit diet encourages consumption of meat, eggs, and other foods that are rich in fat and protein. A typical breakfast menu usually includes bacon and eggs. The grapefruit diet restricts consumption of carbohydrates by eliminating sugar, sweet fruits and vegetables, grains, and cereals. The grapefruit diet lasts for 10 to 12 days followed by 2 days off.[8]


Though the grapefruit diet originated in the 1930s, it came to popularity in the 1970s, when it was erroneously propagated through Xeroxlore as "the Mayo Clinic Diet", though the Clinic has no connection to the diet and how the connection started is unclear. The diet significantly limits the amount of fruits and vegetables one eats while encouraging meat intake; the combination of these high-fat, high-cholesterol foods with grapefruit is claimed to burn fat. Although the number of days in the diet varies, it generally involves a set number of days on the diet followed by two "break" days.[1] It was re-popularized in the 1980s and nicknamed the "10-day, 10-pounds-off diet".[9]

A 2004 study funded by The Florida Citrus Department[6] found that participants lost an average of 3–4 pounds over 12 weeks by eating half a grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice with each meal and exercising regularly; many participants lost more than 10 pounds.[10] It was hypothesized that the grapefruit reduced insulin levels, encouraging fat loss.[6] However, the study involved a healthy diet with the addition of grapefruit, in contrast to a normal "grapefruit diet".[5]


Weird Al Yankovic on Yankovic's 1999 album Running with Scissors parodies both the grapefruit diet and the Cherry Poppin' Daddies' song "Zoot Suit Riot" in his song "Grapefruit Diet".[11]


  1. ^ a b Scott, Jennifer R. (2008-11-10). "What You Need to Know About The Mayo Clinic Diet". Weight Loss. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  2. ^ Grieger, Lynn (2007-11-08). "Grapefruit diets". Your Total Health. iVillage. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  3. ^ Asp, Karen. "Grapefruit Diet Review". AOL Health. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  4. ^ "Grapefruit Diet for Weight Loss". Actabit. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  5. ^ a b Grieger, Lynn (2007-11-08). "Grapefruit diets". Your Total Health. iVillage. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  6. ^ a b c Callahan, Maureen. "The Grapefruit Diet". Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  7. ^ Grapefruit diet warning after blood clot scare
  8. ^ "Grapefruit Diet for Weight Loss". Actabit. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  9. ^ Taylor, Keith B.; Anthony (1983). "grapefruit+diet"&dq="grapefruit+diet"&lr=&pgis=1 Clinical Nutrition. Luean E. McGraw-Hill. p. 170. ISBN 0-07-063185-9. Retrieved 2009-03-22. 
  10. ^ Grapefruit and weight loss
  11. ^ "Satire Seesaw Weird Al Waffles; Chris Rock Skewers", New York Daily News, Aug. 1, 1999.

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