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The Dangers of Crash Dieting

Aug 17, 2007
Perhaps in your thinking of losing weight, you have come across several probable methods. Aside from proper exercise techniques that require quite some time and effort, you may have encountered several diets which would seem beneficial but hard to do. Because of these difficulties, maybe the only option for you is to resort to crash dieting.

What is crash dieting?

Crash dieting is basically a quick solution many people come up with to lose weight. People may look at a mirror and notice their unwanted figure, so they think that by not eating literally starving themselves, they will lose the extra pounds. It's a quick solution because it usually occurs for only a few days (usually less than a week), afterwards it's back to regular meals.

Difference from other diets

The main difference between crash dieting and other forms of diet (e.g. Atkins, South Beach, etc.) is that crash diets are usually short-term. Most diets are programs that are designed to help you lose weight and keep it off, encouraging you to make that particular diet a lifestyle instead of simply a weight loss method. If in crash dieting you are avoiding food (or eating very little), diet programs have specific foods to eat and to avoid, which you are expected to act on for the duration of the program, normally for the rest of your life.

Is it a healthy way to lose weight?

If you're asking yourself this same question, the answer is a flat-out NO. There are many different reasons why crash dieting is unhealthy, while there are few to no experts who believe that there are health benefits. Basically, if you are looking to lose weight, crash dieting is not a good way to do it, and here are several reasons why.

One, by not eating, or drastically cutting down on your food intake, you deprive your own body of natural nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, etc. We all know what will happen when the human body lacks nutrients, the risks of getting ill are higher. This is aside from generally feeling weak throughout the crash diet period.

Two, in crash dieting, you are slowing down your body metabolism, which is what allows you to burn fat and calories effectively and efficiently. You are doing the exact opposite of what you set out to do. You may not be gaining weight, but you aren't burning fat and calories either. When you eat normally again, you will most probably gain some weight since your metabolism is already slow.

Third, you might notice that you are becoming skinnier as the time passes in your crash diet period, but don't take it as burning fat, you are actually losing some muscle mass. This is not a good thing as this is what makes your body a fat burning machine.

Because you lost muscle mass, the next time you eat is going to be worse, you will gain back the weight plus more pounds.

To sum it up, crash dieting will make you lose some pounds, but not those unwanted ones, which are excess fat and calories. It's an unhealthy way of losing weight and is the start of the "yo-yo" process (lose weight, gain more, lose again, and so on). For the benefit of your health, crash dieting should not be taken into consideration.

What are the alternatives to lose weight?

The best possible way to lose weight, as suggested by both nutritionists and fitness experts, is a combination of a healthy diet and exercise. Exercising while not having the proper diet will lead to inefficiency in weight loss, while diet without exercise will prevent you from gaining weight, but will not do as much in terms of losing it. By integrating the benefits of both a healthy diet and exercise into your lifestyle, you will turn your body into a fat burning machine, allowing you to lose weight and keep it off.

The next time you take a look at the mirror and frown at what you see, don't worry too much, there are various ways to beat the battle of the bulge. Crash dieting is certainly not one of them, as this presents more potential risks than benefits. A healthy, proper diet, combined with exercise is the best way to go about it.
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