This Could Be Why The Grapefruit Diet Became So Popular

Let's travel back through the ages — past wars, fashion trends, and political movements — to the free and easy days of the '70s. These wild times were full of faded colors, crazy hair, and fashion trends that may not look so unfamiliar nowadays (the kids call it retro). Amongst the chaos of bell bottoms, cold war sentiments, hippies, and disco arose one singular fruit meant to deliver the world's people from unwanted fat: the grapefruit.

According to Vanderbilt University, the grapefruit diet was an urban myth diet that exploded into pop culture during the 1970s in the United States and took hold fast. Even today, people gush about the health benefits of eating grapefruit and the supposed miracle weight loss that regularly eating them can induce. The diet and its many variants require that people eat a grapefruit with every meal or even consume only grapefruit for several days, but is there any truth to it?

Not a miracle, but still a good idea

The diets took hold mostly because people believed that grapefruit contained some sort of "fat-melting enzyme" that accelerated the weight loss process. This has been found to be untrue; per Vanderbilt University, there is no such enzyme in grapefruit. However, studies have shown that people who consumed lots of grapefruit were better at losing weight than those who did not. How can this be?

The answers don't come down to miracle molecules but simple dietary science. According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, grapefruits contain many essential vitamins and nutrients that a healthy body needs. Eating healthy tends to slim you down; grapefruits are approximately 88% water, which helps fill the stomach and make you feel fuller and thus eat less. Eating less means fewer calories consumed, which makes it easier for people to achieve a caloric deficit, which results in weight loss. It may be a bit boring compared to that crazy enzyme idea, but eating lots of grapefruit is still a pretty great idea.