Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The prospect of quick weight loss by following a crash diet is tempting and many fall for it due to its promise of an instant result. Crash dieting or yo-yo dieting is basically a very low-calorie diet that helps you lose weight in a short period of time.
Quite popular among brides-to-be or those who want immediate results in weight loss, the diet can play havoc with your metabolism and cause nutritional deficiencies. This is apart from the fact that the ‘reduced weight’ in most of the cases comes back. In some cases, people may end up gaining weight in long term.
“There’s no magic pill that can make you healthy without any efforts, you have to make a lifestyle change if you wish to see the long-term results,” says nutritionist Anupama Menon.
If you wish to lose weight, experts advise you to do it in sustainable fashion by eating a balanced meal and working out religiously.
“A ‘slow and steady’ wins the race approach will be the best option to honour your body. You have to give your body some time to adapt to changes. Maintaining a healthy weight requires a lifestyle change and not a magic pill,” adds Menon.
She also explains the concept of crash dieting and why it’s bad for you on her Instagram page.
What is crash dieting?
“Crash dieting or yo-yo dieting, also known as “weight cycling”, describes the pattern of losing weight, regaining it and then dieting again. The person is usually successful in the beginning to lose weight and see the results but fails in maintaining it in the long term. Eventually, the lost kilos come back again, and the dieter again seeks to lose the regained weight, and the cycle begins again,” says Menon.
Here are harmful effects of crash dieting:
Increases your appetite
During dieting, fat loss leads to decreased levels of the hormone leptin, which normally helps you feel full. This leads to increased appetite as the body tries to resupply depleted energy stores. At last, you end up eating more than your calorie requirements. So, the followers of quick fixes (short-term diet plans) tend to regain the lost weight, says Menon.
It can lead to muscle loss
“The rapid weight loss because of crash diets or yo-yo dieting results in muscle loss. Extreme calorie restriction may cause your body to break down muscle for the needed energy and fuel to run your body. Because fat is regained more easily than muscle after weight loss, this can lead to more loss of muscle over time,” says the nutritionist.
Muscle mass is also responsible for metabolism. Thus, when you lose muscle mass you burn fewer calories. Extreme diets can put you in starvation mode and your metabolism will slow down to conserve energy and your body will hang on to more fat. This later becomes the reason for weight gain and leads to more muscle loss over time, explains Menon.
Causes nutritional deficiency
The purpose of the diet is not holistic health but weight loss. “These diets are restrictive and can sometimes cut out important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. The lack of important nutrients can decrease your energy, immunity, and can cause extreme fatigue,” says the expert.
It can be frustrating
The up-down on the scale will be extremely frustrating and sometimes you’ll end up losing your motivation also. Most of the diets will tell you to avoid so many things that you’ll end up with a few options. And if your diet doesn’t allow you to enjoy your favourite dishes even on weekends, then it’s time to change your diet,” says Menon.
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