Impact of Extreme Diets on Body

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Looking fit and healthy is something that many desire these days, and they often resort to dieting to achieve impressive results in a short time. Some diets offer a way to lose up to 10kgs in a week while others promise that they can make you look like a supermodel in a month. But, is losing weight so quickly such a good idea? Extreme diets can give you the type of figure you’ve dreamt of but they can also have serious long-term effects on your body. Whether you’re thinking of going on an extreme diet for a wedding you have to attend soon, or have tickets booked to a holiday on the beach, here are some of the effects it can have on your body.

Impact of Extreme Diets

Reduced Metabolism:

Starving yourself by going on an all liquid diet or any other kind of extreme diet creates a calorie deficit in your body. This will slow down your natural metabolism in order to conserve fat and energy to get through the day.

  • As a result, you may lose weight but this weight loss will be the result of muscle loss, not fat loss.
  • Thus, you will get weaker and lose muscle tone.
  • It may even stall your weight loss journey.

Mood Swings:

When you eat less, your body will have fewer raw materials to convert into energy. This can cause a drop in blood sugar levels and result in irritability, fatigue and mood swings. These are often common symptoms experienced by all extreme dieters.

  • The drop in blood sugar levels and mood swings can also make a person crave unhealthy foods and snacking between meals.
  • Indulging in these cravings can stall weight loss and make you put on weight instead of losing weight.

Digestive Trouble:

For the digestive system to function optimally, it requires a well-balanced diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, fibre, water etc. Focusing on only one of the food groups or restricting calories can cause digestive trouble like constipation, bloating, indigestion etc.

  • It can also reduce good cholesterol levels and lead to the formation of gallstones.
  • Curbing your carbohydrate intake drastically can also have toxic effects on your kidneys and liver.

Malnutrition:

Calories aren’t as much of an enemy they’re made out to be. Calories should be viewed as fuel for your body. Cutting back on your calorific intake can deprive your body of the fuel it needs.

  • Having a completely fat-free diet can affect your body’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K.
  • It can also cause a drop in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and other mineral levels.

Brain Fog:

An extreme diet influences not only your physical health but your mental health as well. This can cause brain fog, a common symptom of extreme dieting. It can also decrease your brain growth and spatial-visual memory.

  • A crash diet also increases the levels of corticosteroids being produced. This is a hormone that makes the brain susceptible to stress.
  • High levels of corticosteroids can also cause depression and increase the risk of binge eating. Thus, instead of helping you lose weight, it may cause fat gain.

Dehydration:

Any good dietician will tell you that there are two types of weight; water weight and fat loss. The immediate effects of a crash diet usually involve a loss of water weight.

  • This happens when a person’s calorific intake is reduced, and the body begins to burn glycogen to produce energy.
  • Glycogen is a form of carbohydrate that is attached to water molecules and stored in the muscles and liver.
  • When all the glycogen in the body is used up, the water it is attached to is lost as well.
  • Thus, it can lead to extreme dehydration and associated symptoms such as dizziness, fatigue and headaches.

Heart Trouble:

Losing weight gradually involves a combination of losing fat and losing water and muscle. The muscle loss constitutes for less than 25% of the total weight loss.

  • However, going on an extreme diet can make your body use protein from muscle as an energy source.
  • This can weaken the muscles and make you lose upto 3 times more muscle mass.
  • The heart is made up mostly of muscle and hence losing weight rapidly can weaken the heart muscle. This can lead to ventricular arrhythmias and other heart issues that may even be fatal.

Menstrual Irregularities:

Reducing your calorific intake can put your body under stress. This can make the body sacrifice non-essential functions such as menstruation and fertility.

  • As a result, many women on extreme diets experience scanty menstrual blood flow or in some cases, delayed or absent menstrual periods.
  • It may also influence your hormone levels to a certain extent.

In conclusion, an extreme diet may not always be the best idea. You may get the silhouette you want for a few days but in the long run, it can be very detrimental to your health. So, a better idea is to consult a dietician through Medlife Labs and get checkups done to assess your BMI, body fat content, and then get a practical diet plan which can be sustained in the long run. At Medlife Labs, full body tests can also reveal diseases like thyroid, diabetes or heart ailments, if any. These might also affect your weight loss journey.

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