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> 5 Reasons Crash Dieting Is Bad For You - Know How It's Risky

5 Reasons Crash Dieting Is Bad For You - Know How It's Risky

risks of crash dieting

he world is moving at warp speed, and so is; the expectation of people. Easy answers, quick fixes, shortcut routes, fast money, people these days look for shortcut ways to almost everything. Seeing such advances, we believe that it’s not just the quick fix (to save time) that people; of the modern world are looking for, but it seems like; people want to achieve things effortlessly. Well, people can’t be blamed here, when you’re constantly bombarded with advertising that promises you a quick and convenient fix, you’ll begin to think that if something can be done fast and with ease, then why not do it that way? When you think of minimalizing your efforts, shortcuts may seem more appealing to you, but have you ever thought; that if every problem in the world; could be solved with a shortcut, then nobody would ever have problems!

It’s baffling to know how people jump from one fad to the other despite much evidence there is to the contrary.

In this blog, we’ll talk about ‘crash diets’- which is a big fad of modern times…


Also read: Gluten-Free Diet – What Is The Hype All About?


Before we head into the details of a crash diet, let’s start by knowing what diet means.



risks of crash dieting

A diet, means the sum of food consumed by a person daily for health and weight management.

A healthy diet includes macronutrients in appropriate amounts to support energy and physiological needs while also providing sufficient micronutrients and hydration to support the psychological needs of the body.



risks of crash dieting

The incidence of obesity has rapidly risen attributed to factors like urbanization, globalization, rapid lifestyle changes, following unhealthy diets, and sedentary behaviours. People resort to extreme weight loss diets to achieve a rapid weight reduction. Crash diets are one such diet employed by obese people to achieve ideal body weight.

Crash diets are typically modified diets that focus on; intensely cutting back on calories or on; cutting out entire food groups, like carbs and fat. Such types of diets; are undertaken on a short-term basis where you eat very restrictively to achieve rapid weight loss results. Crash diets will expect you to slash your calories right from the start, often to below your basal metabolic rate (amount of calories your body needs to carry out its basic functions).

Crash diets have an imbalanced nutrient composition, and may show weight loss in a short lapse of time but is not sustainable for the long term and is associated with a range of downsides.


Also read: What’s The Role Of Dietary Fiber In Weight Loss?



risks of crash dieting

Nutrient deficiency is one of the most concerning side effects of following a crash diet. A balanced diet includes a range of nutrients, including carbs, protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A crash diet includes low-calorie foods which deprive you of both macro and micronutrients. When you follow the crash diet for an extended period, your body will miss out particularly on micronutrients like iron, sodium, potassium, calcium, copper, selenium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, folic acid, omegas. The micronutrients have an important role in energy production, immune function, bone health, and fluid balance regulation in the body. A deficiency of any of these can cause anemia, weak immune, fatigue, reduced number of RBCs, cognitive impairment, poor growth, fractures, and increased risk of morbidity and mortality.         


Also read: 6 Important Tips To Boost Your Metabolism



risks of crash dieting

Metabolism is a process that turns the food and drinks you consume into the energy your cells can utilize to function. It’s a known fact that metabolism will slow down as you age, but apart from age and an inactive lifestyle, poor nutrient consumption is the major contributing factor to slow metabolism. Micronutrients function as coenzymes, and catalysts for a range of cellular and biochemical functions, mainly the release of energy. Chronic metabolic disruption may occur when the consumption of a micronutrient is below the recommended dietary allowance. When you go on a low caloric diet for extended periods, your body will think it’s the starvation mode and tries to conserve energy by reducing the metabolic rate and burning fewer calories. Moreover, muscle breakdown occurs at a greater rate with extreme dieting, less muscles reduce your metabolic rate.


Also read: 7 Ways To Cut Down Your Calories & Lose Weight



risks of crash dieting

This is the most obvious outcome of consuming a low-calorie diet. When you’re used to eating 2000+ calories daily and suddenly you start consuming half that amount or fewer, your calorie intake drops too much, and to counteract, your body will produce a hormone called ghrelin (which triggers hunger). Under eating will stimulate constant hunger (due to hormonal shifts) to compensate for inadequate calorie and nutrient intake. The increasing hunger will cause one to binge eat and initiate cravings for calorie-rich foods, which ultimately leads to gaining weight.


Also read: Top 10 Anti-Anxiety Foods – To Ease Stress & Anxiety



risks of crash dieting

If it is true that your mood can be boosted with a nutrient-dense, healthy diet, the opposite of it is also true. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and consumption of diets low in carbs will reduce the production of feel-good hormones like serotonin and tryptophan. Foods low in fiber can increase the risk of constipation, which causes dysbiosis that could lead to mental illnesses like anxiety and irritability. Deficiencies in neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine are associated with mood disorders, depression, and poor sleep quality. If you reduce the variety of foods in your diet or skip your meals, especially breakfast, it can lead to low blood sugar, leaving you feeling weak, sluggish, and tired. Severely restricting calories can trigger elevated levels of stress hormones which causes headaches, anxiety, depression, and can negatively impact sleep quality and appetite.


Also read: How To Start Eating Healthy? 6 Tips For Healthy Eating



risks of crash dieting

Extreme calorie-restricted diet with poor protein induces a decrease in muscle mass due to reducing muscle protein synthesis, increased muscle breakdown, or both. A healthy, gradual weight loss plan, which includes resistance training and a good amount of protein intake will attenuate or even prevent the weight loss-induced loss of muscle mass. Crash diets are focused on slashing calories which is more likely to make you lose muscle mass, the loss of muscle mass harms both metabolism and strength. Such types of diets will cause your body to burn lean muscle mass for energy instead of fat.


NOTE: It is advised to consult a dietitian and follow their recommendation on a calorie-controlled diet to achieve healthy weight.


Also read: How To Lose Weight Without Losing Muscles?



risks of crash dieting

Generally, the recommended daily calorie intake for men is 2500 calories a day and for women, it is 2000 calories. The basic principle of weight loss is that weight loss occurs if a negative energy balance is maintained (which happens when energy expenditure exceeds the intake). Genetics although plays a role in the etiology of overweight, genetics cannot be held responsible for the increasing rate of obesity. The behavioural and environmental factors induce individuals to engage in too little physical activity or eat too much relative to their body weight ultimately leading to obesity.

According to WHO, a body mass index greater than or equal to 25 is overweight and a body mass index greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.

Your weight loss diet should create an energy deficit of 500 to 1000 Kcals/day.


Also read: Obese Can Lose Weight With 10 Brilliant No Equipment Exercises



risks of crash dieting
  • Your weight loss diet should allow for nutritional adequacy and compliance, while slowly promoting weight loss.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, eat a variety of whole grains from foods like whole wheat products, brown rice, and quinoa, and have foods rich in fibers.

  • Eat lean proteins from foods like fish, poultry, meat, soy, and beans

  • Eat healthy fats from foods like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds

  • Drink plenty of water, limit sugary foods and processed foods

  • Practice strength training which helps you to build muscle, prevents muscle loss and increases body fat loss and metabolic rate (as a consequence of preserving the muscle mass).

  • Self-monitor your dietary intake and physical activity.

  • Structure your environment (home, office, etc) to include only healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and foods with high nutritional value.

  • Practice mindful eating, limit snacking, use a smaller plate, read food labels, and eat regular meals.

Crash diets are not scientifically backed and are almost harmful in the long run…A good way to lose weight is to reduce your daily calories by a manageable amount…


Don’t forget, nutrition is the prerequisite to sustaining life, and the key to sustainable weight loss is patience, time, and self-love, keep in mind our AS-IT-IS mantra, #no shortcuts to fitness…


Also Read: Intermittent Fasting Is On The Rise – Does It Work For Weight Loss?

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Shankar - August 3, 2022

Truly professionally written. This very well explains not to choose “FAD-to-FAB” approach (fad diet for fabulous look). Also explains the health slogan “Eat Right; Live Right”

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