The “Hollywood” or “Grapefruit” diet has been around since at least the 1930s, and it was a big fad in the 1980s, when it was known as the “10-day, 10-pounds-off diet.”
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It generally involves eating a tangy, sweet grapefruit with each meal for at least ten days in a row, although there are some unhealthy versions out there that encourage eating grapefruit only and/or involve a calorie tally that is too low.
While you don’t have to go to those extremes, the reason why grapefruit has been an enduring diet item is because it’s loaded with benefits, including Vitamin C and lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Grapefruit’s versatility allows it to move beyond breakfast, and it’s held as food that can rev your metabolism and help you ward off illness. Check out the following five reasons why grapefruit can give your weight loss a boost.
1. You’ll Stay Full For A Longer Period Of Time
One of the hardest things about losing weight is eating less, but it’s a necessary evil. As reported by the New York Times, multiple studies have confirmed that eating less is more beneficial when it comes to dropping pounds than exercise. While exercise is great and has a lot of health benefits, if you want to fit into your old jeans, eating less food is the most significant key.
One of the “cheats” for staying full longer is fiber. Unlike other carbs, fiber isn’t broken down into sugar molecules and passes through your body undigested, per the Harvard School of Public Health.
Fiber also helps your body regulate how it uses sugar, which in turn keeps your blood sugar and hunger levels in check. Grapefruit, as it happens, is full of fiber, with one serving offering two grams of the hunger-busting carb with only 53 calories to boot.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food also found that people who ate a half of fresh grapefruit before each meal lost more weight than those who didn’t. In the study, 91 overweight patients received one of the following: placebo capsules, grapefruit capsules, grapefruit juice or a half of fresh grapefruit. Those who received the half of grapefruit before each meal lost the most weight over 12 weeks, averaging a loss of about three pounds. The placebo group only lost about a half a pound on average.
You don’t have to eat grapefruit multiple times a day. Aim for eating it before the meal after which you tend to snack. For example, if you’re a night time snacker, go for a fresh grapefruit half before dinner to see if that helps you curb your eating at night.
2. You Can Use It To Cure Sugar Cravings
Sugar is a harsh mistress. After all, we all crave something sweet every once and awhile, and it always seems worse if you’re actively trying to give sugar up. But that makes sense once you realize how addictive sugar actually is and how often you’re eating it. As reported by the New York Times, multiple studies have found that sugar lights up the brain in the same manner as addictive drugs, and it’s now being added to around 75 percent of all packaged foods in the U.S. Even if you’re trying to avoid sugar at all costs, you may find it impossible simply because your local food selection is so full of it.
There is sugar in grapefruit, but it’s natural sugar, which is a little easier on the body than the processed sugars found in products across grocery shelves everywhere. It’s also not nearly as high in sugar as your favorite candy bar or other sweet snack.
Grapefruit is pretty versatile, so think outside the box and use it to reduce your sugar intake. Use slices of it in your salads to add a sweet tang or have a bag of dried slices around for when you’re hit by a sugar craving. You can use it in some dinner recipes, too—for example, it goes great with jerk-style chicken. It’s also becoming a popular ingredient in some desserts, such as sorbets and marmalade.
3. You’re Giving Your Liver A Boost
Ever wonder why grapefruit is bitter? The answer is naringenin, an antioxidant present in the fruit that helps the liver break down fatty acids in the foods you eat. As reported by Science Daily, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem discovered that naringenin acts in ways that are similar to anti-diabetes medications.
Incorporate grapefruit into your diet as often as you can to reap these benefits. The way naringenin works, in theory, could help prevent your insulin and blood sugar levels from shooting up after you eat. Low insulin levels allow your body to more readily access food for energy instead of trying to store it in the form of fat. Spikes in blood sugar can tire you out and result in you craving food, so it’s best to try to keep your blood sugar as level as possible for weight loss.
4. You Will Feel Better
A grapefruit contains many things that can help your body be and stay healthy, and the better you feel, the more likely you are to exercise and avoid eating out of stress or boredom. The fruit contains Vitamins A and C, both of which help boost your immune system, and lycopene, a strong antioxidant that helps prevent damage from free radicals in your body.
If you’re struggling to think of ways to add grapefruit to your diet, you can try the substitution method. Replace one “bad” thing you eat per day or relatively often with a half of grapefruit instead. For instance, if you’ve got to have a bagel every morning, you could switch that out with a grapefruit half instead. It won’t be easy at first, but once it becomes part of your routine, you’ll find yourself including it in your diet without a second thought.
5. You Can Juice It Instead
Grapefruit juice is another alternative. While it may not be as beneficial as the plain fruit, it does have many of the same properties, just in smaller amounts. The same 2006 study that found grapefruit eaters lost the most weight put the grapefruit juice drinkers in second place, with an average loss of around three pounds.
Be careful when you’re shopping for juice. Many brands add extra sugar to it, and others are more water than actual juice. Look for as close to 100 percent juice content as you can get when you’re shopping for a bottle.
If you do decide to go the fresh grapefruit route, remember the riper, the better. Also, although it may be tempting, avoid the common ritual of adding sugar to a slice to make it sweeter. That might taste pretty good, but it certainly won’t help with your weight loss goals.