Why Crash Diets Are Harmful

Whether you’re preparing for a tropical vacation, a wedding or a reunion, you may find yourself wanting to quickly shed a few pounds. If the event is short notice or if you’ve put off dieting until the last minute, a crash diet can sound like just the solution. However, these aren’t the best ways to go about losing weight.

What is a Crash Diet?

A crash diet is a type of starvation diet in which the dieter drastically cuts the amount of calories he’s consuming, often to fewer than 1,200 calories a day. This inherently leads to the ingestion of lower levels of healthy nutrients, and sometimes the elimination of entire food groups.

The appeal of crash diets is that they often do lead to the rapid loss of several pounds, but this weight loss is superficial.

Why Aren’t Crash Diets a Solution?

The weight loss from crash diets is typically not actual weight loss, but rather dehydration of the body. The consumption of diuretics, such as tea, or the lack of water-retaining nutrients can lead your body to quickly lose several pounds of fluid. Because you haven’t actually lost any body fat, the weight is quickly regained as soon as you start eating and drinking normally again.

When you drastically reduce your caloric intake, your body kicks into “starvation mode.” In an effort to stay alive, your body frantically stores everything you consume in case it’s deprived again. Once you begin eating again, you’ll regain the weight you shed–and sometimes more.

Once the event has passed, you’ll be so hungry that you’ll end up consuming far more calories than is healthy for your body, and usually not from healthy foods. This kind of dangerous “yo-yo dieting” can hurt your body and permanently slow your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight.

What’s the Healthier Alternative?

Healthy dieting is a long road that requires patience and tenacity. While weight loss of five pounds isn’t uncommon in the first week or two of a new diet and exercise regime, a weight loss of two pounds a week is typically the healthiest progress.

Begin healthier eating habits now to prevent yourself from rushing to lose weight before a significant event. If the date is approaching, continue with healthy eating habits and exercise without starving yourself at the last minute. You’ll look and feel better if you’re well-fed and rested.

Practice healthy dieting and lose weight the healthy way to keep your body functioning properly and you feeling your best.