The grapefruit diet is a fad that has been around since the 1970s, but how effective and safe is eating pure fruit for nutrition?
Whether a person is obese or only needs to lose a few pounds, fad diets are hard to resist when trying to lose weight. The grapefruit diet received attention in the 1970s and 1980s as a method for quick weight loss. The idea was that grapefruit contained enzymes that burned fat more quickly and increased a dieter’s metabolism. However, medical research has shown that there is no clinical evidence that the grapefruit diet helps a person lose weight from enzymes. Rather, the liquid diet causes weight loss from the reduction in calories and poor nutrition. The grapefruit diet is another fad that promotes weight loss from malnutrition, so it can be dangerous for people who use it long-term.
Weight Loss and the Grapefruit Diet Plan
Healthy diets consist of reducing calories while still maintaining a reasonable caloric consumption to maintain nutrition. However, the grapefruit diet drastically lowers calories from a few thousand a day to only a few hundred calories. Grapefruit has only about 80 calories per serving, and eating a few of this fruit a day leaves the body hungry for meat. The lack of food does not provide the body with energy requirements, so a person who uses the grapefruit diet may feel tired even if weight loss occurs. The grapefruit diet loss of 3-5 pounds a week by a person is usually temporary. Rapid weight loss and unhealthy diet result in excess food and a return of the pounds lost.
Side Effects of the Grapefruit Diet
Aside from the fatigue and lack of energy, the grapefruit diet can lead to future health problems. Liquid diet websites claim that following the grapefruit diet increases metabolism, but researchers at Vanderbilt University claim it actually slows the metabolism and causes the breakdown of muscle. Increased use of the grapefruit diet causes patients to have a more difficult time when trying to lose weight due to poor nutrition and decreased metabolism. Other side effects include anemia, dizziness, muscle cramps and headaches. The loss of muscle includes cardiac tissue, so patients may even damage the heart while on the diet. Finally, the poor nutrition causes an electrolyte balance, which can lead irregular heartbeats.
Before participating in any diet plan, consult a physician. Liquid diets like the grapefruit diet have side effects that are severe. The fad may help a patient lose weight quickly, but the chances of the weight returning are increased since the body is forced to starve. Healthy eating and exercise are the best ways to shed pounds and keep them off permanently.