7 Ways In Which Crash Diets Can Harm Your Body

What exactly is crash dieting? And why is it so harmful for your body? Here's what you should know.

Most of the time, I’m approached by clients, especially women who want to lose weight in a specific time limit, either for a wedding or a holiday. I often hear, “I’m ready to crash diet, but please help me lose 5 kg in 2 weeks.”

So, what exactly is crash dieting? Well, it’s a diet intended to help a person lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time by typically reducing the amount of food consumed.

Sounds cool right? I mean, who doesn’t want to lose maximum weight in the minimum time span?

It can reduce your metabolic rate

While a high Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), helps in losing weight, a low BMR reduces your rate of weight loss and crash diets can lower your BMR. BMR is the amount of calories you burn at rest. This means if you burn fewer calories, you lose less weight.

Crash diets can lead to loss of muscle mass

When you starve to lose weight, you lose muscle mass. Why is losing muscle mass such a big deal? Muscles are more expensive to maintain. Your body needs to work harder and therefore use more calories or needs more food to maintain more muscle. When you lose muscle mass, you automatically reduce the body’s efficiency to burn calories.

There is an increase in fat in the body

Lost muscle mass is replaced by fat. The more fat you have in your body, the less efficiently your body will burn calories at rest. For e.g. If your body needs x no of calories to maintain fat, it requires 3x or 3 times more calories to maintain the muscle mass. So the more fat you have, the fewer calories you will burn, and thus your BMR will lower.

Crash diets can lead to dehydration

Have you ever wondered why you lose weight so quickly by crash dieting? That’s because you are losing water weight, which is not ideal for long term weight loss. When you start eating again, the body replenishes the water weight and weight gain follows. One can run at risks of dehydration, leading to headache and dizziness.

Your hair and skin quality suffer

If vanity is your thing, then this might convince you to avoid crash dieting. When we crash diet, we limit the amount of vitamins and nutrients the body absorbs. This in turn affects your physical appearance.

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Your hair might lack luster, look dull, you might have hair fall issues and your skin will look dull, dry, and you might have acne breakouts.

Your energy levels will deplete

While crash diets can lead to instant weight loss, they deplete the water stores in your body, leaving you fatigued and with low energy levels. Also, due to reduction in intake of vitamins and minerals the body is unable to produce energy, leaving you sluggish, fatigued and tired.

Crash diets can make you irritable

No one would like to be grumpy and irritated on a holiday. Crash diets can trigger the release of corticosterone from the brain, which will in turn increase your stress levels, irritability and depression. You may also experience poor concentration and sleep disturbances.

With so many negative pointers, I’m sure crash diets will definitely be off your list. Instead of short term solutions, look for long term lifestyle changes which will aid weight loss and give you permanent results.

This can definitely be achieved by a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet. The results might be slow, but they will be long-lasting. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.

Image Source: By A and N Photography via Canva Pro

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About the Author

dietitian Nilofar

I am a dietitian by profession,blogger by passion. I regularly blog on health,fitness and mental and physical wellbeing.For more such interesting articles watch this space. read more...

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