The Dangers of Extreme Dieting

Many studies have shown that dieting is a great way to lose excess weight. Unfortunately, some people tend to overdo it because they want to achieve results faster. It is recommended that people take in between 1,200 and 2,600 calories daily depending on various factors like lifestyle, gender and age.

Extreme diets, such as yo-yo diets, fasts and some detox programs, causes people to take in far less calories than what is needed for the proper functioning of their systems. We don’t focus on the adverse effects of these extreme diets because we believe that being overweight is a much worse fate. However this may not be the case. Below are some harmful effects of food deprivation due to extreme dieting.

1. Muscle breakdown

When you take in less food than you should, your muscles will be broken down to provide energy for your bodily functions. You will lose a lot of muscles and this will not do your figure any good. When you do it the proper way, you mostly lose fat, and then a little protein and water.

2. Slow metabolism

Muscles burn more energy than fat when you’re at rest. This means that loss of muscle due to food deprivation will automatically result in a decreased basic metabolic rate. When your metabolism drops too low, you stop losing weight. Also, your brain begins to hang on to whatever calories you take in, also preventing weight loss. This will defeat your purpose of dieting to lose weight.

3. Loss of brain function 

Glucose is the primary source of energy for your brain. When your brain starts running solely on ketones, it is beginning to suffer as a result of a lack of glucose. This might result in loss of memory and the decreased growth of brain cells. Furthermore, when your brain is not getting enough energy, the levels of Corticosterone, a hormone released during periods of stress, increase. This might increase the chances of you becoming depressed.

4. Dehydration

The weight that you think you are losing immediately after starting an extreme diet is probably just excess water weight. This is because before you start losing fat, your body first burns off a form of carbohydrate known as glycogen, which attaches to water molecules and can be found in your muscles and liver. Therefore, as you burn this glycogen, water is also excreted from your body. This can lead to dizziness, constant fatigue and headaches.

image courtesy of: theodysseyonline.com, gymneed.com, indianexpress.com.

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