The grapefruit diet does work, according to new research. Well, not the traditional, eat-fewer-than-1,000-calorie, fad diet version. That works too for short term weight loss, but ultimately restricting your caloric intake that much will lead to weight gain.
However, simply eating a grapefruit, or drinking a glass of grapefruit juice before each meal, may help you not only lose weight but also lower your cholesterol. It may seem silly but according to a recent study, having something in your stomach before a meal, called meal preloading, can actually lead to eating less, even if that something is a non-calorie liquid. Other research found that drinking two glasses of water before meals also helps dieters lose weight.
In the study, participants were put on a calorie-restricted diet and given water, grapefruit juice or half a grapefruit to eat before each meal. They found that when given the premeal snack, they actually ate less at each meal, and subsequently lost more weight. Indeed the preloading dieters lost almost 10 percent more (both those in the water group and the grapefruit groups). They reported feeling satisfied, even though they had consumed fewer calories. More interestingly, “the level of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) increased by 6.2 percent with grapefruit preload and by 8.2 percent with grapefruit juice preload.”
Having a small snack about 20 minutes before a meal is a smart technique to keep your weight loss goals on track, and here are some suggestions:
- Popcorn: A few handfuls of popcorn are a filling low-calorie, high-fiber snack. Choose the unsalted, non-butter variety.
- Water: The liquid fills your stomach, leaving less room for the food. Try drinking a full 8 oz. glass before your meal.
- Fruit is also high in fiber and low in calories: the perfect recipe for curbing hunger. A handful of grapes or a small apple is smart options.
- Yogurt is make sure it’s reduced fat without added sugars
Really, anyone can tailor this strategy to their specific food preferences. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep the snack low in fat and under 100 calories.