Dont do crash diet!

May 1, 2007

First, what is crash diet?

A crash diet is one of the most restrictive types of weight loss plans that you can follow. It involves drastically cutting back on the amount of calories and fat that you take in on a daily basis. Similar to a starvation diet, a crash diet is often paired with other weight loss “fixes”, including extreme exercise routines and the use of diuretics or diet pills. Thousands of men and women follow crash diets every year in the hopes that they will lose a significant amount of weight in a very short period of time. However, crash diets are recognized by health care professionals and dieticians as being a very dangerous way of trying to lose the excess pounds.

But, why it is dangerous? Here’s a summary of what happens to your body when you follow a low-calorie diet:

  • First, your body uses up carbohydrate stores (known as glycogen) in the liver and muscles. Water is stored with glycogen in the body, and as this is used up you may lose several pounds in water weight.
  • Once all the stored carbs have been used up, your body enters a kind of starvation mode, and protein in the muscles is used as the main source of energy. As a result, toxic compounds called ketones are produced that make you feel fatigued and headachy.
  • As you begin to lose weight, you also lose muscle mass (because the protein from your muscles is being used for energy), and your metabolism begins to slow down to conserve the small number of calories you’re now consuming. Your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories) is directly related to the amount of muscle you have, so the more muscle you have, the faster you burn calories.
  • If you lose a lot of weight initially on the diet, you’ll also lose a lot of muscle. So, even though you’re eating fewer calories, your body is burning calories at a slower rate than before you went on the diet, because you now have less muscle mass.
  • Once you return to your pre-diet habits (which is inevitable), you’ll regain the weight that you initially lost, and potentially more. This is because your slow metabolism can’t process the amount of incoming calories and, therefore, stores them as fat.
  • A low-carb, high protein diet may also cause dehydration, weakness, nausea and, in severe cases, gout, kidney problems and an increased risk of heart disease.

That’s why if you really want to lose those extra pounds, do follow a healthy and balanced diet coupled with a moderate exercise plan. 

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