Some people want to lose a lot of weight really fast. To do this, they get on crash diets, which are severely calorie-restricted.
While they may achieve their goals in the short term, they unwittingly do damage to their bodies in the long run. In some cases, it could even endanger their lives.
The least number of calories a woman should consume daily is 1000. If you are on any diet involving 800 calories or less, you could be in the danger zone.
For men, the minimum number of calories is 1,500. Liquid diets, detox diets and meal replacement programs are a few of the many alternatives that involve extreme calorie restriction.
You might be setting yourself up for these failures:
How Severe Calorie restriction is Harming You
1. May Cause Liver Damage
Your liver is responsible for releasing glucose from glycogen. When you need an extra energy boost for a run, for example, the liver converts glycogen to glucose.
Glycogen is the form of blood sugar that is stored by your liver. But when your calories are too restricted, the body will no longer have glycogen to use for energy. It will instead start relying on fat and muscle tissue. This makes the liver weak and dysfunctional.
2. May Jeopardize Heart Function and Lead to Heart Attacks
The other problem with severe calorie restriction is that it affects your heart’s ability to function normally.
When there is an unexpected reduction in calories, the heart muscles take up fat from other body parts.
This means that instead of using sugar as fuel, the heart relies on fat as fuel. In the end, its function is compromised.
If you already have a heart condition, you are likely to experience shortness of breath or heart palpitations. In rare cases, it may trigger a heart attack.
3. It May Cause Dizziness and Fatigue
Most extreme calorie-restricted diets lack carbohydrates, yet your body needs carbohydrates as a source of energy.
The body requires this energy in order to conduct its various functions like thinking, walking or even sleeping. Your muscles, cells, brain, and other internal organs would slow down without enough energy.
The above body parts almost shut down and make you more unfocused. If you constantly feel fatigued or dizzy on a low-calorie diet, it is a sign that your body does not have the fuel it needs to work.
4. May lead to Stress and Depression
People who use severe calorie restriction often battle with emotional eating. They struggle to summon enough willpower to avoid that plate of fries.
The feeling of deprivation makes most extreme dieters extremely anxious. What was initially a source of pleasure is now a source of pain. This causes mental anguish.
Additionally, dramatic weight loss causes hormonal imbalances, which have an effect on a person’s mental health. This may lead to depression.
Finally, if you subject yourself to extreme weight gain and extreme weight loss, you could develop a food disorder like anorexia nervosa, bulimia or binge eating.
5. Menstrual Irregularities
Severely restrictive diets may also lead to amenorrhea, which is a condition in which a woman misses her menses for a period of more than 3 months.
If you take extremely few calories, experience a dramatic loss in weight, exercise too much, or have very few carbs in your meals, you could reduce the hormones in your body.
Some of these hormones are responsible for the onset of the menstrual cycle. They include estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone and progesterone.
Low carbs also minimize the availability of leptin, which interferes with your menstrual cycle. In this study, the girls on a low-calorie diet reported menstrual dysfunction. They were 45% of the entire study population.
6. Slows Your Metabolism
Your body’s metabolic rate refers to the amount of energy that your body uses in every unit of time.
When your basal metabolic rate (energy required for organs to function optimally) is low, your body will not convert a lot of your food to energy.
Therefore, you are not likely to lose weight. If you do a crash diet, you may change the hormones that affect digestion and blood circulation. You are also likely to reduce the efficiency of the cell parts that convert food to energy. Likewise, your energy expenditure may decline and your weight loss in subsequent crash diets will also decline.
Furthermore, slow metabolism promotes weight gain. In this study, it was shown, that metabolic adaptation occurs due to sudden weight loss.
7. Will Ruin Your Mood
The chemical serotonin is responsible for sleep, appetite, and mood. If you get on a crash diet, you’ll constantly feel hungry.
This causes a reduction in serotonin hormone in the brain. The overall result is continuous anger and irritability.
Restricting your calories also increases cortisol. This hormone is responsible for promoting stress and thus dampening your mood.
8. May Induce Constipation
Most calorie-restricted diets are deficient in dietary fiber, which is found in vegetables, fruits and whole grains like bran.
Fiber is critical for digestion, so when you don’t take it, you’re more likely to constipate.
Furthermore, if the crash diet has too much protein, it takes a toll on the amount of water in the body. The liver and kidneys need water to process those excess proteins.
Therefore, your body may become more dehydrated. Consequently, your stool would harden and you would be constipated.
9. You Could Become Malnourished
Your body needs nutrients like minerals, vitamins, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins to function normally.
If you severely minimize the food you eat, you get less of these nutrients. This means that you are likely to have nutritional deficiencies, which may increase the risk of dementia, anemia, osteoporosis, and memory loss.
10. May Weaken You Immune System
When you take a minimum number of calories, you are likely to compromise your immune system. This means that the cells in your blood that are responsible for fighting foreign bodies like viruses and bacteria will be weaker.
Crash diets have few minerals, proteins, and vitamins, yet these are essential for supporting the immune function.
11. May cause hair loss
If you do not have sufficient iron or proteins in your diet, you may experience hair loss. The effect comes from the lack of nutrients or minerals (zinc, vitamin A, C& E, iron) needed to nourish your hair. As a result, some of your hair will fall off or become very thin.
Additionally, it leads to Telogen Effluvism, which is a state of low hair follicle activity signaled by rapid weight loss.
12. Could Lead to Insulin Resistance
Severe calorie restriction can induce diabetes. This happens when your metabolism reduces to starvation levels. The reaction activates insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose from the blood to the cells. After activation, your body’s blood glucose may increase to such a high level that it triggers the diagnosis of diabetes, according to research.
There are no shortcuts to weight loss. It is likely that you did not gain your weight within a short period of time. Likewise, don’t expect to lose it rapidly.
If you choose severe calorie restriction, your body will retaliate through reproductive, digestive, cardiovascular, mental health and physical challenges. Do things the right way and avoid extreme calorie restriction.
You’re better off combining a moderate deficit with a good workout routine. In fact, these 28 stunningly simple home workouts can help you lose up to 15 pounds in a month without making major changes in your diet.