We all know that crash diets are bad but do you know the details behind the “why?” From teens to adult women, many have tried a crash diet at one time or another. Even the strongest of us can fall prone to crash dieting in an effort to lose pounds quickly, but once educated about the harm they can do to the body, you’ll think twice about pursuing this method.
Crash diets are used when someone wants to quickly lose pounds. This diet alternative often comes into play around summertime, when everyone is trying to look their best in a swimsuit. But what you may think is a quick fix can quickly become harmful to your body and your health if you get caught up. By definition, a crash diet is a diet that involves extreme methods to achieve instant weight loss - usually in a few days to a week. Such methods vary but the common goal is to deprive the body of food in order to drastically reduce one’s calorie intake. Some actually starve themselves down to their ideal weight, while others limit themselves to how much and how often they eat.
Crash diets are intended for short-term use, but can quickly become habit forming. The scariest part about doing a crash diet is that you actually aren’t losing weight. Even though the scale may say you are a few pounds lighter, in reality your body is suffering. Instead of losing fat - which is the common goal for crash dieters - your body has exhausted its supply of glycogen, which is a type of carbohydrate. When this happens, water loss also occurs. The end result is a change in your weight when you step on the scale.
There are a number of health risks you can make yourself prone to if you do a crash diet. Once your body’s glycogen levels are completely used up, you’ll start losing weight from your body’s tissues. The longer the crash diet is, the more areas your body will target and destroy in the process of searching for energy. Denying your body the proper daily amounts of vitamins and minerals, even if only a few times, puts your health in jeopardy and can cause you to become susceptible to illness and disease.
While most people use crash diets for only a few days or a week, once the weight comes back, the urge to do another crash diet comes into play. Pretty soon this develops into a behavior known as the “yo-yo” effect. This type of dieting is terrible for the human body because the metabolism gets thrown off whack and is not able to recover long enough to become stable and healthy. Yo-yo dieting also makes you more at risk for harmful levels of cholesterol in the blood, increasing your odds for developing heart problems and arterial disease. Crash diets leave your body with more fat and less protein so when you start to see the pounds add back up, going back on the crash diet will only feed into the yo-yo diet behavior.
Not only is crash dieting bad for your body and your health, it can eventually affect you mentally as well. It is not uncommon for those doing a crash diet to be extremely moody, irritable, tired, lethargic and prone to extreme food cravings.
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