The grapefruit diet has you eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice at each meal. It first became trendy in 1950. It is also known as the Hollywood diet.

How Is This Diet Supposed to Work?

People on it believe that grapefruit can burn fat. No research supports this.

What’s Involved?

There are many types of this weight loss plan. They all mean you will eat grapefruit with meals. The older versions of it are also restrictive in the foods that are allowed. It is very low in calories.

One version has you eat four meals per day. You must have grapefruit in at least three of these meals. Other foods it has are unlimited black coffee as you want, eggs, and meat. Your day may look like this:

Meal 1

  • ½ grapefruit
  • 3 eggs (any style)
  • 2 slices of bacon

Meal 2

  • ½ grapefruit
  • Any type of meat
  • Salad with any type of dressing

Meal 3

  • Same as meal 2 plus coffee

Meal 4

  • 1 cup of tomato juice or skim milk

A newer version has dieters using a weight loss plan of their choice, but with grapefruit added to their daily meal plans.

What the Research Says

Research doesn't support the belief that grapefruit can burn fat. But a recent study by the Scripps Clinic in California found that adding grapefruit to each meal for 12 weeks resulted in greater weight loss. Because this was a small study and the first of its kind, more research needs to be done to support it.


Most of the grapefruit diet plans are low in calories and don't have enough vitamins and minerals. They are also restrictive in the foods that are allowed. They are not healthy and are unrealistic.

Grapefruit also interacts with some medicines. This can cause side effects. Use the Drug Interaction Database to find out whether it may interact with any of the medicines you take.

Bottom Line

The original grapefruit diet is too restrictive. It isn't a good plan for a person who wants to lose weight in a healthy way. Some versions may be more wise. But they still aren't based on solid research. Most of us should try to eat at least three servings of fruit per day. Grapefruit can be part of these servings. But eating a variety of healthy foods is the key to any healthful diet.