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What is the grapefruit and egg diet?

Losing weight can be a challenging journey for many people. With so many different diets and weight loss programs out there, it can be difficult to know which one is the most effective. One diet that has garnered attention over the years is the grapefruit and egg diet.

Overview of the Grapefruit and Egg Diet

The grapefruit and egg diet, sometimes referred to as the Hollywood diet or the Mayo Clinic diet, is a short-term fad diet that promises quick weight loss results. As its name implies, the bulk of this diet consists of eating grapefruit, eggs, and other low-calorie foods for a set period of time.

There are a few different variations of the grapefruit and egg diet, but the basic premise is the same. The diet lasts anywhere from 7 to 28 days, during which you eat very specific foods at certain times of the day. The main components of the diet are:

  • Grapefruit – typically eaten at every meal
  • Eggs – usually eaten at breakfast and lunch
  • Meat – allowed at dinner, usually lean protein like chicken or fish
  • Low-calorie vegetables – allowed at certain meals

There is no official grapefruit and egg diet plan, but a sample day may look something like this:

Meal Foods Allowed
Breakfast 1/2 grapefruit, 2 eggs (cooked any style), black coffee/tea
Lunch 1/2 grapefruit, 3 eggs, green salad with low-calorie dressing
Dinner 3-6 oz lean protein (like fish, chicken, or turkey), 1/2 grapefruit, non-starchy veggie

As you can see, food variety is very limited on this diet. Permitted foods either contain very few calories, like grapefruit and vegetables, or are high in protein but low in carbs and fat. Things like bread, pasta, sugar, and high-fat foods are strictly prohibited.

Claims Behind the Grapefruit and Egg Diet

Like many fad diets, the grapefruit and egg diet makes some pretty big claims about the amount of weight you can lose. Some of the purported benefits include:

  • Fast weight loss of 10-15 pounds in 12-28 days
  • Lowered insulin levels which encourages fat burning
  • Reduced appetite and cravings
  • Improved energy levels

There are a few hypothesized reasons why this diet promotes rapid weight loss.

Firstly, it is very low in calories, usually providing between 800-1200 calories per day. This forces your body to use up stored fat for energy since you are not consuming enough from food.

Secondly, grapefruit is claimed to have fat-burning enzymes and properties that boost your metabolism. However, scientific evidence for this is lacking.

Lastly, eating protein foods like eggs helps fill you up and preserves muscle mass as you lose weight.

Does the Grapefruit and Egg Diet Work?

Like most extremely low-calorie diets, the grapefruit and egg diet will likely result in quick initial weight loss. However, most of this weight shed is water weight or lean muscle mass, not body fat.

Once you stop the diet and go back to normal eating, the weight will almost inevitably be regained. Fad diets like this are not sustainable long-term.

While grapefruit does contain some beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, the claims about it being a metabolism or fat-burning superfood are not scientifically proven. No particular food or ingredient can “melt” fat away.

Eggs are a good source of protein which helps curb hunger and maintain muscle mass. But eating only eggs and grapefruit long-term would miss out on many other important food groups.

Here is a table summarizing some pros and cons of the grapefruit and egg diet:

Pros Cons
May produce quick initial weight loss Weight lost is mainly water weight and lean tissue, not fat
Emphasizes protein which helps retain muscle Too low in calories to be sustainable or healthy long-term
Grapefruit provides vitamin C and antioxidants Eliminates many healthy food groups like whole grains
No scientific proof that grapefruit boosts metabolism Can cause nutrient deficiencies if followed long-term
Easy to follow with no calorie counting Likely to regain weight once normal eating resumes

Is the Grapefruit and Egg Diet Healthy?

While the grapefruit and egg diet may lead to fast initial weight loss, there are some concerns regarding its effects on overall health:

  • Nutrient deficiencies – By limiting food variety so extensively, you miss out on many important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed for good health.
  • Loss of lean mass – Very low calorie diets often cause muscle breakdown along with fat loss. This can lower your metabolism.
  • Fatigue – Consuming as little as 800-1200 calories per day can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and low on energy.
  • Hunger – Going for long periods with very limited food and calorie intake can cause intense hunger and cravings.
  • Nutritional imbalances – The diet lacks adequate healthy carbohydrates and fats which are important macronutrients.
  • High in cholesterol – Eating so many eggs significantly boosts cholesterol intake, which may be concerning for some people.

Rapid weight loss and starvation-type diets can also disrupt your blood sugar levels, electrolyte balance, and heart rhythms. Consult a doctor before attempting such a diet.

Healthier and More Sustainable Weight Loss Methods

While the allure of fast weight loss is tempting, shockingly restrictive diets like the grapefruit and egg diet are ultimately not worth it. You may lose weight quickly at first, but are likely to regain it once you stop.

Focus instead on sustainable, healthy habits you can follow for life. Here are some healthier and more realistic weight loss tips:

  • Aim for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week for steady progress.
  • Follow a balanced diet with adequate calories, protein, carbs, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Incorporate regular exercise like cardio, strength training and interval workouts.
  • Fill up on low energy density foods like fruits, veggies and lean proteins.
  • Limit added sugar, fried foods, and empty calorie sources.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Monitor portion sizes and avoid overeating even healthy foods.
  • Get enough sleep and manage stress levels.
  • Be patient – lasting results take time and consistency.

Making healthy lifestyle changes you can actually adhere to long-term is the key to lasting success. Quick fix diets may seem tempting, but are rarely effective or safe.


The grapefruit and egg diet is a short-term, ultra low calorie fad diet that promises rapid weight loss. It focuses mainly on grapefruit, eggs, meat, and some low-calorie vegetables.

While it may deliver fast initial results, this diet is extremely restrictive and deficient in many nutrients. Most of the weight lost is water and lean mass, not body fat.

For healthy, sustainable weight loss aim for a moderate calorie deficit, nutrient rich foods from all groups, and increased physical activity. Consistency with realistic lifestyle changes leads to better long-term success.