The Grapefruit Diet: New and Improved

woman-eating-grapefruitThe Grapefruit Diet: New and Improved

The original Grapefruit Diet dates back to the 1930s. Now there’s new  interest in eating the citrus fruit to whittle your middle based on a new study that found that US women who ate grapefruit where thinner and had smaller waistlines than those who didn’t eat the fruit.

In another study, Vanderbilt University researchers put obese men and women on a diet that included grapefruit or grapefruit juice. The obese participants lost, on average, 15 pounds during the study.

Bottom line: Eating grapefruit before meals helps fill you up so you eat fewer calories for that meal.

The Original Grapefruit Dietgrapefruit

In case you are too young to remember the hoopla over the Grapefruit Diet, here’s the gist of it:

Rules of the Old Grapefruit Diet

  • Eat half a grapefruit or 4 oz. 100% grapefruit juice before each meal.
  • Eat two eggs and two slices of bacon for breakfast each day.
  • Eat protein of your choice with salad and dressing for lunch.
  • Dinner is meat, fish with vegetables.
  • At bedtime, you have a glass of skim milk or tomato juice.

Sample “Old” Grapefruit Diet Meal Plan

Breakfast: 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, black coffee, 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces grapefruit juice

Lunch: Salad with salad dressing, unlimited meat, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces grapefruit juice

Dinner: Red or green vegetables (except starchy ones such as peas, beans, corn, sweet potatoes) or salad, unlimited meat or fish, and 1/2 grapefruit or 8 ounces grapefruit juice

Bedtime snack: 8 ounces skim milk or tomato juice

grapefruit_diet_menuThe Grapefruit Diet: New and Improved

I developed a new and improved Grapefruit Diet that includes eating half a grapefruit with a high-protein breakfast each day. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day for hunger management, adding both fruit and protein is an optimal combination for feeling fuller on fewer calories.

For lunch and dinner, eat other fruit, soup or beverages that are also known to fill you up, not out.

The New Rules:

  • Eat half a grapefruit as part of a calorie-controlled (up to 400 calorie) high-protein breakfast every day. Use the suggestions below that all deliver at least 20 grams protein and are less than 400 calories.  (If you can’t stomach grapefruit, have a medium orange, apple, 2 kiwifruit or ½ a medium banana instead)
  • Eat a serving of fresh fruit or a cup of a broth-based soup or tomato/vegetable juice or 16 ounces water before both lunch and dinner
  • Enjoy a mid-am and afternoon snack of fruit and/or veggies
  • Eat a balanced lunch and dinner

 7 New Grapefruit Diet High-Protein Breakfasts

Egg, Tomato & Arugula Sandwich

2 eggs + 2 whites scrambled served with 1 toasted Thomas’ whole-wheat Light English muffin with arugula, sliced tomato and 2 tsp. reduced fat mayonnaise

½ fresh grapefruit

Coffee or tea

Protein Pancakes with

½ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt and

½ fresh grapefruit

Coffee or tea

Skinny Bacon and Egg Sandwich

1 OroWeat Toasted Multi-Grain Sandwich Thins with

1 soft-boiled egg with 2 slices Canadian Bacon and 1 oz low-fat cheese and slice of tomato with

½ fresh grapefruit

Coffee or tea

Cottage Cheese & Fruit

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese with

1 Toasted Thomas’ Light Whole Wheat English Muffin with 2 tsp. light spread and

½ fresh Grapefruit

Coffee or tea

Veggie Omelet

2 whole eggs and 2 whites whisked together with 1 Tbs. water

with 1 oz. shredded low-fat Feta cheese, salsa fresco and mushrooms and/or bell peppers

1 OroWeat Multi-Grain Sandwich thin

½ fresh Grapefruit

Coffee or tea

High Protein Cereal

1 cup high-protein cold cereal (ie Kashi GoLean) with 1/2 cup skim or 1% low-fat milk and

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 hard-boiled egg

1/2 fresh grapefruit

Coffee or tea

Breakfast Biscuits and Yogurt

1 Package Belvita Breakfast Biscuits with 8 oz nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 fresh grapefruit

Coffee or tea


–Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD




  1. Dan says

    All diets follow the same structure. Caloric deficit + no junk food and voila, you’re slimming down.
    Have you ever noticed when buying a “fat loss” product that, for the most part, they come with a exercise and meal plan consisting of a low calorie + low carb diet? Some pills make you even pee a lot so it appears as if you’re loosing fat. HA HA! Focus on body fat reduction and not weight loss in general.

    Don’t get me wrong, the grapefurit diet seems like a good diet, Even the new version includes some carbs and better nutrition compared to the old retro one (which is basically nothing but another atkins/protein/no-no-carb diet).

  2. elephant4life says

    I have used the diet a couple of times over the years to get rid of creeping weight increase since turning forty. It is the only one that works (for me), and here are my thoughts on why:

    1. I am not limited on how much I can eat, so I’m not running around starving and ravenous all day long.

    2. Grapefruit somehow tricks the body into utilizing insulin more effectively and efficiently.

    3. The instructions I got long ago (now lost through a move) included the following notes, and if you can’t remember anything else about the diet’s do’s and don’ts, remembering just these few will help your food choices:

    a. Fat burns fat without sugars and starches. This means the fat you ingest AND the fat on your body.
    b. The grapefruit contains an enzyme which starts the fat-burning process.
    c. Don’t eliminate the bacon in the morning. It is the combination of foods that makes it effective.
    d. Eat any red or green vegetable, or any squash. Avoid ALL white vegetables, including cauliflower. (For some reason celery was not permitted, either, although I would also avoid, peas, lima beans, corn, beets, and sweet potatoes/yams, because they are high in sugars and starches).
    e. Avoid all breads, pastas, cakes, cookies, and ice cream.
    f. Except for breakfast, quantities are not limited. At any meal, you may eat enough that you don’t leave the table still hungry.
    g. Go easy on coffee. Limit yourself to two cups per day.
    h Alcohol is discouraged. Alcohol contains massive amounts of sugar, and the body will burn this first; plus, it impairs the function of organs which are critical to food processing, such as the stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and intestines.
    i. Do not follow the diet for more than twelve days straight. The two-day break during which you can eat anything you like is vital to avoid feelings of deprivation and boredom. After the break you do another twelve days, then two days off, etc., until you’ve lost the amount you need.
    j.Drink water! Water helps to flush the metabolic waste from fat-burning and keep your kidneys healthy.

    The weight loss is predicted to go like this: You will lose no weight the first four days. On the fifth day you will lose five pounds, and one pound every two days afterwards.

    I can attest that it works. I lost 25 pounds the first time over about eight weeks, and fifteen pounds the second time over about a month.

  3. says

    To: elephant4life, you are the only one that got this diet right, I used this diet many years ago, but lost the original paper work, some are saying you can eat bread at breakfast and other wrong additives to the diet. It all came back to me after reading your instructions, these comments were on the original diet paper I had. Thanks again, I needed a refresher on the diet.


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