Scott & White Dietitians Debunk Grapefruit Diet as Extremely Unhealthy Way to Lose Weight
It's making the rounds via copy machines and faxes. Everybody is talking about it in cafes, over bridge tables and during business hours. And it is leaving a sour taste with Scott & White health professionals concerned about good nutrition.
It's the notorious grapefruit diet, now circulating throughout Central Texas, erroneously titled as "the Scott & White Diet."
This diet is not nutritious, not healthy and definitely not from Scott & White. "This diet is definitely not one that Scott & White recommends, because it is an extremely unhealthy way to lose weight," said David Smith, M.D., family practice physician at the Scott & White Clinic, Brownwood and professor with the Texas A&M University Health Science Center College of Medicine.
The diet claims that a person should lose 52 pounds in two and a half months by following its regimen which includes frequent meals with grapefruit. "That's about 5 pounds per week, and health professionals encourage no more than a half-pound weight loss per week," Dr. Smith emphasized. "The diet seems to be finding its way all over Central Texas these days, and we are getting phone calls and people walking in asking about the diet."
The diet is high in protein and fat and very low in carbohydrates. It encourages people to eat large portions, use high-fat cooking methods such as frying. It also advocates the use of calorie-laden sauces.
"This hoax contains only one-fourth of the carbohydrates a normal person needs every day. It is very low in fiber, vitamins and minerals -- other important building blocks in good nutrition. This so-called "diet" is also very high in saturated fat, which a person doesn't need because it adds calories and could lead to higher cholesterol levels," Dr. Smith added.
The diet even states, "Eat until you are stuffed, the more you eat of the proper combinations of the foods, the more you will lose."
"No healthy meal plan will encourage a person to overeat," Dr. Smith said. "We recommend that persons eat moderately sized portions of balanced meals based on the food pyramid, including fat (less than 30 percent of total calories), moderate protein, high carbohydrates, especially the high fiber varieties, fruits and vegetables and to exercise."
Food combinations do not burn fat. Reducing calories and increasing physical activity will reduce fat. "Even a reduction of 500 calories per day for seven days should promote a one-pound per week weight loss. Any calories in excess of what your body cannot burn as energy will be converted to its storage form, which is fat," he added.
So, what's the secret to losing weight?
"A low-fat food plan with lots of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates with six to seven ounces of lean meat, drinking 1 percent or skim milk, moderate use of fats and sweets, and a reasonable exercise program is what most people need to promote a gradual, long-term weight loss," Dr. Smith said. "Persons wanting to lose weight should first consult their primary-care physicians."