A crash diet isn't a good weight loss solution, as crash diets carry a number of health risks, not to mention you're almost guaranteed to gain back all the weight you lost once you go off the diet. Here are some reasons why fad diets, starvations diets and other crash diet plans are a bad idea, even if they really do help you lose weight fast.
How Crash Diets Work
Crash diets often appear to be working after only a few days. These fad diets shock your body, sending it into starvation mode. You'll experience rapid weight loss, but you're not actually losing any fat; instead, you're using your body's stored supply of the carbohydrate glycogen. As your body burns glycogen, you lose water as well, making it seem as though you're losing a lot of weight.
Emotional Side Effects of Crash Diets
Crash dieting tends to make dieters moody. You'll feel irritable, tired and lethargic, because your body isn't getting the nutrients it needs to make energy. You'll also have food cravings because you won't be getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function. Crash dieting can even lead to depression and eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.
Crash diet plans might claim that special combinations of foods can help you lose weight. The truth is, no special combination of food can raise your metabolism to help you lose weight. Only exercise can raise your metabolism to help you burn more calories.
Health Risks of Crash Diets
Crash diets carry both long and short term health risks. The most common short term risk is nutritional deficiency. Long term risks include osteoporosis, as your body leaches calcium from your bones to make up for calcium deficiencies in your crash diet plan. Other long term risks include damage to the brain, kidney, heart and other vital organs.
When you go on a very low calorie crash diet, your vital organs can't get the energy they need to function, and your body begins to burn the tissues of your heart, liver, kidneys, brain and other organs. In the long term, this can lead to heart attack, stroke, or liver and kidney failure.
The Yo-Yo Effect
Your body's own metabolism causes the yo-yo effect. When you go on a crash diet, your body thinks you're starving. It responds by lowering your metabolism to burn fewer calories. When you start eating again, you'll gain weight even more easily, and it could take months or years for your body to readjust.
When you participate in multiple cycles of crash dieting, your body begins to break down muscle faster than fat. The more weight you lose on a starvation diet, the more your metabolism slows. The slower your metabolism, the more weight you gain when you start eating again. Crash dieting can easily become a never-ending cycle of rapid weight loss followed by rapid weight gain.
A Healthy Solution
You should look at weight loss as a long term plan. Try to lose weight slowly, at a rate of two to three pounds per week. Increase your activity level and eat healthy meals and snacks.