What is a 7 Day Grapefruit Diet?
The 7 day grapefruit diet is among many popular fad diets that have been marketed as the secret to quick weight loss. The grapefruit diet has gained so much popularity that some TV doctors and famous social media personalities have gone on to try and convince the public to try it out. However, before you rush to the grocery store or local farmer’s market in search of this fruit, let us discuss if the 7 day grapefruit diet is the miracle you have been waiting for.
The 7 day grapefruit diet is a low-calorie eating plan that requires participants to have half a grapefruit before or during every meal of the day. As the name suggests, people should be on this diet for 7 days, and can push it up to 10 days.
The origins of the grapefruit diet can be traced to as early as the 1920s and 1930s. This eating plan became so popular among famous actresses that it was dubbed as the “The Hollywood Diet” (22). Since then, the 7 day grapefruit diet has made several comebacks in the 1970s, in 2004, and now in 2020, with many people wrongly believing that is endorsed by Mayo Clinic (24).
How to Do the 7 Day Grapefruit Diet?
While it is referred to as the “grapefruit diet”, it is important to note that the 7 day grapefruit diet is unlike the celery juice diet or the cabbage soup diet, as this eating plan does not fall under the juicing or soup diet. It also cannot be referred to as a monotrophic diet (mono-diet/single-food diet (23)) as it consists of having more than grapefruits or grapefruit juice at every meal. Over the years, this eating plan has gained several variations to it. They include:
1. The egg and grapefruit diet
The 7 day egg and grapefruit diet menu requires you to have two eggs and half of this citrus fruit once or twice a day. Followers of this diet tend to have this specific combination for breakfast. All other meals include this fruit or a glass of its juice and more eggs or meat in unspecified amounts.
2. The 3-day grapefruit diet
A shorter very-low-calorie variation of the 7 day grapefruit diet. You must have this fruit at each meal.
3. A 3-day diet with grapefruit
This is a military diet that requires one to have this citrus fruit at breakfast on the first day of the eating plan. You follow the diet for three days and then take four days off, and continue this pattern until you have reached your desired goal (21).
4. The grapefruit and apple cider vinegar diet
This version was popularized by a TV doctor who claimed that it would help women slim down. It requires people to drink a glass of grapefruit juice with 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp of honey before every meal. Like all the above variations, this is a fad diet that can lead to side effects such as teeth loss, dehydration, overall weakness, and headaches (6).
5. The 7 day grapefruit detox diet
This version claims to boost weight loss through nootkatone and fiber found in this citrus fruit. This grapefruit diet 7 day variation requires you to have half of this fruit at each meal and 4 ounces of protein at breakfast and dinner (19).
What Do You Eat on the Grapefruit Diet?
Many versions of this diet are low in carbs and high in protein. Some are also quite low in calories that they do not even go past 800 calories a day (20). We do not recommend this as it could lead to multiple side effects, some that can be life-threatening. Instead, we suggest that you should have a healthy, well-balanced diet even while on this eating plan. This is a diet that (10):
- Emphasizes on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Includes fat-free milk, low-fat milk, and other milk products; vegans and vegetarians should include plant-based milk alternatives in their diet
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars
- Stays within your daily recommended energy needs
Is There Any Protein in Grapefruit?
Yes, this citrus fruit has some protein in it. According to the USDA food database, 1 medium-sized grapefruit has 1.6 g of protein (8), while the juice of one freshly squeezed fruit (196 g) has 0.98 g of protein (7).
How Much Weight Can You Lose on a 7 Day Grapefruit Diet?
It seems like there is no single consensus about how much weight one can lose while following a grapefruit diet menu. Some sources claim that you can lose 9 pounds in 7 days, others say 10 pounds in 12 days (20), while others claim that you could even lose 50 pounds if you followed this eating plan for 10 weeks (24).
Despite these staggering numbers, it is important to note that none of these results are evidence-based. It is also important to note that most variations are very-low-calorie diets, and that is why they give such high weight loss results. It should be noted that such rapid weight loss is dangerous and can cause side effects such as gallstone, unexplained mood swings, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, dizziness, muscle loss, and menstrual irregularities in women (13).
For effective and sustainable long-term weight loss, it is advisable to try and lose just 1 to 2 pounds a week. This is done through a calorie deficit diet and exercise. A calorie deficit requires you to cut about 500 to 1000 calories a day (3500 to 7000 calories a week) from your typical diet (4).
What are Some 7 Day Grapefruit Diet Snacks?
Many variations of this eating plan do not include snacks in their grapefruit diet menu 7 day plans. They only call for 3 very-low-calorie meals per day. However, as we have established above, this is not the best way to lose weight. Healthy snacks are encouraged in diets because they provide you with energy in the middle of the day, and they help decrease your hunger, which keeps you from overeating at mealtime (17).
As long as they fit within your healthy recommended energy intake for the day, you can enjoy snacks and still lose weight on the 7 day grapefruit diet plan. Some examples of healthy 7 day grapefruit snacks options include (11):
- Mixed nuts and seeds
- Drained and rinsed canned fruit in natural juice or light syrup
- Plain Greek yogurt and mixed berries
- Assorted veggies and hummus
- Fruit or veggie smoothies
- Plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- Frozen or fresh fruits
- Wholegrain crackers or rice cakes
- Unsweetened tea or coffee
- A glass of unsweetened plant-based milk
- Bell pepper slices and zucchini or cucumber circles
Sample of a 7 Day Grapefruit Diet Plan
This grapefruit diet menu 7 day plan will show you that you can still eat healthy, nutritious, and calorie-dense foods while on a 7 day grapefruit diet and still lose weight. You do not need to starve yourself in the hope of shedding a couple of extra pounds.
Meal 1 – Breakfast
2 large eggs, 30 g baby spinach, 1 medium-sized grapefruit, 2 whole wheat bread slices, and 1.5 tsp olive oil
Calories: 443. Fats: 19 g, Proteins: 23 g, Carbs: 50 g
Meal 2 – Courgette Noodles with Meatballs (12)
For the mince – 400 g lean beef mince, 2 tsp dried oregano, 1 large egg, 8 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp rapeseed oil, 1 fennel bulb, 2 carrots, 500 g carton passata, 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 600 ml reduced-salt vegetable broth
For the noodles – 1 tsp rapeseed oil, 2 large courgettes, and 350 g soya beans
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Calories for one serving: 380. Fats: 14 g, Proteins: 37 g, Carbs: 20 g
Meal 3 – Hazelnut-Parsley Roast Tilapia (9)
2 tbsp olive oil, 4-5 ounce tilapia fillets, ⅓ cup finely chopped hazelnuts, 0.25 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, 1 small shallot, 2 tsp lemon zest, ⅛ tsp salt plus ¼ teaspoon, 0.25 teaspoon ground pepper, and 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Calories for one serving: 262.4. Fats: 15 g, Proteins: 30.2 g, Carbs: 3.3 g
Meal 4 – Snack
1 medium-sized grapefruit and 23 almonds
Calories: 199. Fats: 14 g, Proteins: 7 g, Carbs: 16 g
Total intake for the day: Calories: 1284.4. Fats: 62 g, Proteins: 97.2 g, Carbs: 89.3 g
Meal 1 – Smoothie
1 medium-sized grapefruit, 1 cup strawberry halves, 1 medium-sized apple, 15 g ginger, 1 scoop plant-based protein powder, and water
Calories: 348. Fats: 3 g, Proteins: 24 g, Carbs: 61 g
Meal 2 – Sweet Potatoes with Mixed Grains (5)
2 tsp vegetable oil, 2 small sweet potatoes, 1 tbsp chili paste, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 250 g cooked mixed grains, a handful of radishes, ¼ cucumber, ½ red pepper, a small bunch of coriander, and 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
This recipe makes 2 servings.
Calories for one serving: 483. Fats: 15.8 g, Proteins: 13.8 g, Carbs: 65.4 g
Meal 3 – Salsa-Simmered Fish (14)
2 tbsp olive oil, 4 ¾ inch thick skinless cod fillets, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp kosher salt, ¼ tsp ground black pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves, 16 ounces tomato salsa, 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, and 2 tbsp oregano leaves
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Calories for one serving: 226. Fats: 8.3 g, Proteins: 31.4 g, Carbs: 5.8 g
Meal 4 – Fruit Snack
1 grapefruit and 1 cup watermelon
Calories: 106. Fats: 0 g, Proteins: 2 g, Carbs: 27 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1163. Fats: 27.1 g, Proteins: 71.2 g, Carbs: 159.2 g
Meal 1 – Yogurt Bowl
1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds, ½ cup blueberries, ½ cup protein granola, and 1 tbsp honey
Calories: 434. Fats: 10 g, Proteins: 21 g, Carbs: 70 g
Meal 2 – Snack
1 grapefruit and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Calories: 90. Fats: 3 g, Proteins: 2 g, Carbs: 16 g
Meal 3 – No Bun Burgers (2)
For the burgers– 0.5 kg ground beef, 1 tbsp ghee, and salt & pepper
For the toppings– 1 onion, 1 tbsp ghee, 1 tomato, 1 dill pickle, and 1 head iceberg lettuce
For the sauce– 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp white vinegar, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp coconut aminos, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ¼ cup mayo, and 1 small dill pickle
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Calories for one serving: 498. Fats: 41 g, Proteins: 22 g, Carbs: 10 g
Meal 4 – Egg Sandwich and Fruit
1 large boiled egg, 3 oz Romaine lettuce, 2 slices 60 calorie bread, 1 medium tomato, 1 medium-sized grapefruit, and salt & pepper to taste
Calories: 274. Fats: 9 g, Proteins: 16 g, Carbs: 39 g.
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1296. Fats: 63 g, Proteins: 61 g, Carbs: 135 g
Meal 1 – Egg and Avocado Salad
4 cups mixed greens, 2 boiled eggs, 0.5 medium-sized avocado, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, and 1 grapefruit
Calories: 471. Fats: 27 g. Proteins: 26 g. Carbs: 36 g
Meal 2 – Mixed Greens Salad
1 cup chopped kale, 6 Brussel sprouts, 2 cups raw shredded radicchio, 2 tbsp dried cranberries, 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds, and 226 g boiled chicken
Calories: 441. Fats: 8 g. Proteins: 65 g. Carbs: 37 g
Meal 3 – Kale Salad with Chickpeas (18)
For the salad– 15-ounce can of chickpeas, ½ tsp cayenne pepper, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 3 cups roughly chopped kale, ½ cup shredded carrot, ½ cup red onion, and 1 jalapeno pepper
For the dressing– ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp pure maple syrup, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, and 1 tsp orange zest
This recipe makes 3 servings.
Calories for one serving: 294. Fats: 5 g. Protein: 14 g. Carbs: 52 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1206. Fats: 40 g. Proteins: 105 g. Carbs: 125 g
Meal 1 – Chia Pudding
½ cup oat milk, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp honey, and ¼ cup blueberries
Calories: 243. Fats: 13 g. Proteins: 6 g. Carbs: 35 g
Meal 2 – Snack
5 tbsp hummus, 6 baby carrots, and 1 grapefruit
Calories: 249. Fats: 13 g. Proteins: 6 g. Carbs: 28 g
Meal 3 – Sausage Potato Pie (16)
340 g lean ground sausage, 28 g shredded potatoes, 1 cup shredded cheese, 2 cups shredded kale, 6 eggs, ½ cup milk, 1 and ½ tsp mixed dried herbs, and salt & pepper to taste
Serve with 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk.
Please note that the pie recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.
Calories for one serving: 342. Fat: 14.4 g, Proteins: 28 g, Carbs: 21.8 g
Meal 4 – Yogurt Bowl
340 g plain yogurt, ½ medium-sized grapefruit, ¼ mango, and 4 tbsp protein granola
Calories: 375. Fats: 3 g. Proteins: 42 g. Carbs: 48 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1209. Fats: 40.4 g. Proteins: 83 g. Carbs: 132.8 g
Meal 1 – Avocado Toast and Fruit
2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 tbsp chopped red onion, ½ avocado, 5 cherry tomatoes, and 1 grapefruit
Calories: 383. Fats: 13 g. Proteins: 11 g. Carbs: 63 g
Meal 2 – Tuna, Egg, and Asparagus Salad
1 large egg, 100 g asparagus, 80 g tuna packed in water, ½ small red onion, 62.5 g cannellini beans, juice and zest from ¼ lemon (half if you like lemons), 1 tsp chopped dill, and ½ tsp olive oil
Calories: 279. Fat: 10 g, Proteins: 33 g, Carbs: 12 g
Meal 3 – Brown Rice and Beans
1.2 cups brown rice, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 small onion, 1 medium bell pepper, 3 garlic cloves, 450 g vegetable broth, 425 g canned tomatoes, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp chili powder, and 2 cups kidney beans
This recipe makes 3 servings. 1 serving = 1.5 cups
Calories: 495. Fats: 6 g. Protein: 17 g. Carbs: 95 g
Meal 4 – Snack
Calories: 60. Fats: 0 g. Protein: 1 g. Carbs: 15 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1217. Fats: 29 g. Protein: 62 g. Carbs: 185 g
Meal 1 – Cinnamon Protein Pancakes (3)
For the pancakes– ¾ cup oat flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ¼ cup vanilla protein powder, 4 packets stevia, ⅓ cup plain low-fat yogurt, and 2 large egg whites
For the swirl– 4 packets of stevia, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ cup vanilla protein powder, and 2 tbsp water
1 serving = 2 pancakes
Calories: 282. Fats: 3 g. Protein: 34 g. Carbs: 28 g
Meal 2 – Grapefruit Salad
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1 medium-sized grapefruit, 1 cup baby spinach, ½ medium-sized avocado, and 1 tsp honey
Calories: 280. Fats: 13 g. Protein: 17 g. Carbs: 28 g
Meal 3 – Balsamic Lentils with Pork Fillet (1)
olive oil, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery, rosemary sprigs, 400 g pork tenderloin, 500 g cooked lentils, 2 heads of Little Gem lettuce, juice of half a lemon, 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and ½ flat-leaf parsley pack
This makes 4 servings.
Calories for one serving: 490. Fats: 20.9 g. Protein: 26.8 g. Carbs: 44.3 g
Meal 4 – Salmon Black Bean Salad (15)
4-ounce smoked salmon, 15-ounce can black beans, ½ medium avocado, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp olive oil, ¼ tsp ground cumin, and ⅛ tsp kosher salt
This makes about 3 cups.
Calories for one serving: 185. Fats: 6.4 g. Protein: 12.3 g. Carbs: 21 g
Meal 5 – Snack
1 medium-sized grapefruit and 10 almonds
Calories: 108. Fats: 6 g. Protein: 3 g. Carbs: 13 g
Total Intake for the Day: Calories: 1345. Fats: 49.3 g. Protein: 93.1 g. Carbs: 134.3 g
The Bottom Line
If you are trying to lose weight, the 7 day grapefruit diet could be the answer to your problems, but only if it is done in the right way. Picking very-low-calorie alternatives of this eating plan that also limit the consumption of certain food groups may lead to weight loss, but it is unhealthy, and all the weight is bound to come back.
For sustainable and effective weight loss, opt for a healthy and well-balanced calorie deficit diet, and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. If you choose to try the above diet, please speak to a doctor or dietitian for advice. Supplement your diet with some exercise to double your results.