The Controversial Grapefruit Diet

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In the past couple of centuries at least, our society has become more and more interested in finding diets that lead to weight loss. Although in some parts of the world people still suffer from hunger, most of us managed to get stability for generations, which meant steady or even excessive consumption of food. Today we know that obesity and overeating are the afflictions of our century, and this is actually a crisis because more and more children are found under these signs as well. Nevertheless, whether they had food issues or not, women have always been interested in looking good, which is why they’ve always been willing to try even the most outrageous diets.

This gave way to a number of quacks who pretended to have found a miracle plant or combination of foods which lead to weight loss. The truth is that no food can actually lead to weight loss, but one can combine products and create a diet that can encourage that. One of those controversial diets was the grapefruit diet. Also known as the Hollywood diet, it was first introduced in the United States in the 1930s. It is uncertain who first came with the idea, but the fact is that this diet claimed there were enzymes in grapefruit which actually burned fat. While that may have been true, the way the diet was recommended was definitely not.

There were several versions of the grapefruit diet since then, but the most common one actually encouraged consumption of meats and reduced that of fruits and vegetables. It was claimed that the combination of fatty meat with grapefruit lead to the burning of fat. One was supposed to keep the diet for 10 or 12 days, period in which consumption of cereals, sugar and other foods rich in protein were significantly reduced or completely eliminated. But every nutritionist or doctor will tell you that a diet which eliminates entire food categories from your meals is not a good diet. Therefore, there was no actual proof that this diet had actually the benefits claimed.

The grapefruit diet became truly popular in the 1970s, when someone had the idea to promote it as the “Mayo Clinic diet” when in fact this clinic had nothing to do with the diet. Some people still choose to try this diet, but it is quite drastic so it isn’t recommended. A good weight loss diet still has to contain all the food categories, but combined in such a way and eaten in such a way that the person’s eating habits are changed and the body is encouraged to lose fat. Otherwise, drastic diets often lead to an increase in body mass after it ends, because returning to normal eating habits counteracts everything the body “suffered” during the diet.

However, there have been scientific studies that tried to prove or disprove the grapefruit diet; while indeed subjects treated with the grapefruit diet managed to lose even 10 pounds of fat, this was because they had received a variation of the diet where all food categories were allowed, but in limited amounts. Moreover, the subjects also had to combine the diet with some form of physical exercise. Thus, this was no longer the grapefruit diet that faux-nutritionists tried to convince us to take.

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