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What is so bad about crash diets?

Nutrition Blog

August 7, 2022

crash dietsWhat is a crash diet?

Although there is no medical definition for the term “crash diet.” Some key factors help you identify if you are embarking on a crash diet. The crash diet will expect you to cut calories from the beginning below the required number of calories your body needs to carry out general functions. These diets will make unrealistic promises about the amount of weight you will lose in a short timeframe. The body is designed to naturally remove toxins and therefore does not need a diet to help it do this.

How our body responds to crash diets

For a short time, these crash diets can yield some progress on the scale, but it comes with a price. Your body will begin to feel fatigued, it will affect your mental health, you can become nauseous, and you will not be able to perform to the level you wish. So, if this is the short term, how are we affected in the long term?

Water weight!

The “success” we hear about with crash diets can easily be water weight loss. Water weight loss happens when you restrict calories and carbs, the body’s first source of energy. Moreover, our body burns glycogen, a carb stored in the liver/muscles, which contains upwards of 3 grams of water for every 1 gram of carb. Once the body uses all the glycogen available; and attached water, the body becomes dehydrated.

How can you tell if you are dehydrated? Well, some symptoms include fatigue, confusion, dizziness, and headache.

Slows the metabolism

Crash diets have a reputation for reducing metabolic rates. The body’s job is to ensure all vital organs are functioning to keep it alive. When the calories are restricted, the body will slow down the metabolic rate to save energy. By doing this we burn fewer calories when exercising, we burn less when at rest, and we burn less when talking or living our day-to-day life. Eventually, the body will stop losing weight. When the crash diet ends, the body will retain as many calories as possible to make sure the body will not starve to death.

Disrupt organ function

The heart! Yes, you read that correctly, the heart. Recently studies were done on how a low-calorie diet affects the body. It was determined that there is a rise in the amount of fat in the heart. The increase in fat in the heart can cause complications for those that suffer from heart conditions.

Getting the recommended amount of carbs, fats, proteins, and fiber is essential to keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels steady. Disrupting this normal influx can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar that can have lasting damage to the body.

Some honorable mention

This type of dieting can cause muscle loss, negatively affect your mental health, develop a poor relationship with food, loss of hair (not the hair!), and cause a loss of energy.

At the end of the day, they just don’t work. However, these diets will produce very temporary results with a large price to pay in the long term. We are here for the long term and want to focus on supporting everyone’s long-term health. Paleo Power Meals offers balanced nutritious meals that will get you the results you are looking for.