The White Grapefruit Diet
Image by Ichibanto via Flickr
The white grapefruit diet was both a blessing and a curse for the grapefruit in America. Also known as the Hollywood diet, it was a favorite of young starlets in the 1930's. Fortunately, the diet didn't become popular with the public until years later. But before we discuss the recrudescence of the diet, let us talk a bit about the history of the white grapefruit.
The grapefruit is one of the newest additions to the citrus family of fruits. First documented in 1750 on the island of Barbados, the grapefruit is actually a hybrid fruit–a cross between an Indonesian pomelo and a Jamaican sweet orange.
For decades, the grapefruit remained an island delicacy until a traveling Spanish count decided to bring some seeds with him to America. It was 1823 when the grapefruit arrived in Florida. And though some had high hopes for the new tropical fruit, the timing couldn't have been worse.
You see, centuries earlier the orange had come to Florida. And by the time the grapefruit arrived, the commercial orange industry was beginning to gain steam. Not to mention the fact that sugar was hard to come by and most locals found the white grapefruit much too bitter to eat.
Decades later, the grapefruit finally found success in Texas. Was this due to the grapefruit diet? Well, in part it was. Remember, the diet was still a bit of an underground thing. However, when the grapefruit diet reemerged in the 1970's, it most certainly had an effect upon the entire industry.
In fact, grapefruit and grapefruit juice sales have never been higher than they were in the late nineteen-seventies to early nineteen-eighties. Why did it happen? Like most diet crazes or fads, the popularity of the grapefruit diet was based almost entirely on a rumor. And the rumor was that the white grapefruit had fat fighting enzymes that could peel off the pounds in a matter of days. Of course, this was not the case.
While the grapefruit is most assuredly good for you, there is little evidence that it can help dieters slough off the pounds in short order. The truth was that it was the diet and not the food of choice that was primarily responsible for rapid weight loss. In particular, it was the fact that the diet required cutting daily caloric intake by two-thirds. That's right. The original grapefruit diet asked dieters to consume just 800 calories a day, mostly of white grapefruit.
Now, it doesn't take a nutritionist to see that cutting calories by two-thirds can be dangerous, no matter what you eat. So, when people started complaining about lack of energy, passing out and even dying, doctors condemned the white grapefruit diet as hazardous to the health.