There are two times a year when people decide that losing weight is imperative...immediately. One of those times is coming up next month, when the unofficial start of summer kicks off with a wave of crash diets, detox diets and whole-body cleanses. The swimsuit season is second only to New Year’s as a time when otherwise healthy, intelligent people put themselves through crazy restriction diets and extreme exercise programs. What they don’t realize is that crash dieting doesn’t work, and it may do some serious damage to your health. So to answer the headline question, yes, crash diets are bad for you.
Slow DownHardcore dieting is often more dangerous than fruitful. That message gets lost amidst the daily headlines covering rising obesity rates and the associated health risks. To be sure, being overweight is not good for your health, but restricting your nutrient intake in the hopes of shedding 10 pounds in a week can be even worse.
There are several well-known weight loss programs that fall under the “crash diet” umbrella: the Master Cleanse, the cabbage soup diet and the generic lemonade fast. The premise behind such diets or cleanses is that your body needs help eliminating excess toxic waste that is dragging you down and keeping you fat. To accomplish this goal, these restrictive diets limit your daily caloric intake, often to just 1,000 or fewer per day.
Hidden Dangers of Rapid Weight LossCardiologist Isadore Rosenfeld, MD, a professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York City, says the idea that your body needs help eliminating waste is false. He warns that repeated low-calorie dieting (yo-yo dieting) can actually end up causing a whole host of health problems, including a weakened immune system and increased risk of dehydration, heart palpitations and cardiac stress.
"A crash diet once won't hurt your heart," Dr. Rosenfeld says. "But crash dieting repeatedly increases the risk of heart attacks."
Research has also repeatedly shown that losing weight too quickly will mess up your metabolism, which only leads to the almost certainty of future weight gain (hence the yo-yo diet name). With the low-calorie diets, your body is also missing out on significant nutrition that it needs to function properly.
The best way to lose weight will always be to eat sensibly and exercise regularly. Healthy weight loss is slow weight loss, unfortunately, so plan accordingly. Just 1-2 pounds is all you should be losing per week. The best advice is to skip the yo-yo effect altogether and maintain a healthy routine of exercise and eating a balanced diet all year round. Then, there’ll be no surprises, no stress and no anxiety when swimsuit season swings around.
Posted by Ben