The Dangers of Low Calorie Diets

May 11, 2010

One of the most common mistakes people make to lose weight is to drastically cut back on the amount of calories they consume.

People this thinking that if they cut back on lots of calories, the body will be forced to take fat from the body and use it for energy. Then all you do is eat hardly any food for a few weeks and presto! you will have a new slim body. Wrong.

It would be really nice if that’s how weight loss really worked but it doesn’t. First of all, cutting back on calories too much can actually be quite dangerous and unhealthy. One of the reasons being that you may be depriving your body of the essential nutrients that it needs to function properly which can lead to chronic deficiencies and the problems associated with them.

Other problems that can occur are imbalances in the minerals that control the balance of certain fluids in the body which allow muscles and nerves to function properly. Also, osteoporosis is another danger, especially for women. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and eggs are usually cut out of low calorie diets which can lead to a severe calcium deficiency leading to bone mass loss.

What also happens is that if you cut back on too many calories for a few days, your metabolism will slow down significantly which means your body will start to adjust itself so that it can operate with less calories. You will end up burning much less calories during the day and it makes weight loss even harder.

Not only will your metabolism slow down, but you will have less energy, feel tired and depressed and your body will also start to break down muscle and bone tissues to feed itself rather than burning up it’s fat supplies because muscle tissue burns calories, so the less muscle you have the less calories you need.

Your body does not know that you only want to lose weight, it thinks that there is a food shortage or famine and it will do everything it can to make sure you survive as long as possible.

When you start to eat normally again, your body will be burning calories at a slower rate than it did before you started the diet because you have less muscle mass and your body will still not be sure how long abundant food will be available for.

The failure rate of these type of diets are extremely high, as much as 95% as stated by some researchers. Calorie reduced diets also create what is known as the “Yo-Yo” dieting effect.

To compensate for the lack of food during the diet when you do start eating normally again, your appetite increases causing you to eat more food than usual which will eventually cause you to put back all of the weight you lost while dieting. Many people also experience an actual increase in weight several months after dieting because of this Yo-Yo effect.

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