The Truth About Crash Diets
Which do you prefer: fast weight loss or permanent weight loss?
Both men and women are attracted to weight loss “shortcuts” like crash diets because losing weight can be hard work. The conventional method of losing weight involves a balanced, regulated diet and regular exercise. Not many people can manage the big changes needed to lose weight the healthy way.
Once the target weight has been shed off, you must then continue with a weight maintenance plan to make sure that the pounds you’ve shed don’t creep back.
It can also be tough to stay motivated when you are trying to lose weight because the body normally takes its time in shaving off the excess pounds. Unless you are in a controlled environment with experts monitoring your diet and exercise, results may be slow in coming.
How does crash dieting work?
A crash diet is a type of diet where you drastically reduce your caloric intake for days or weeks.
This is done through the avoidance of the majority of foods that people normally eat (like cereals, beans and meats) or by requiring a person to undergo fasting.
Fasting is almost complete avoidance of food (especially solid food). Some crash diets like the Master Cleanse require people to consume a beverage as a substitute for food during the prolonged fasting.
Other crash diets like the baby food diet require people to shift to completely different food items to attain a weight loss goal. Consuming baby food might be an easy way to create a calorie deficit, but it is considered an unsustainable way of losing weight.
Why do people eventually quit crash diets?
The answer is simple: we naturally want flavor, texture and variety in the food that we eat.
Crash diets like the baby food diet tend to cause a high level of dissatisfaction because it’s repetitive and can easily cause “food boredom.”
This dissatisfaction can turn into “diet relapse” and weight loss can grind to a halt once a person loses the motivation to regulate his food consumption.
The problem of monotonous eating is not limited to the baby food diet. I have seen weight loss systems on the market that make use of low-calorie food items to create an immediate calorie deficit. Diet shakes, high-fiber cookies and even low-calorie protein bars are used as substitutes for entire meals.
These weight loss systems work because consuming a few cookies or a protein shake for dinner will create a big calorie deficit. However, you must consider this question before buying into such weight loss systems: “how long can you continue drinking a protein shake for dinner?”
Why are crash diets potentially dangerous?
Crash diets require extreme caloric reduction which then creates a large gap in a person’s nutrition. At one point, the body depletes its own stores of stored glucose and it begins to consume its own protein stores (muscles) just to continue functioning. In a nutshell, crash dieting equates with malnutrition.
This type of diet is also potentially dangerous to individuals who have metabolic health conditions such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. Due to the large calorie deficits created by a crash diet, your body can go into an emergency state and some organs may cease to function normally.
Like a car engine without fuel, your body will begin to break down as it tries to use meager resources to keep your organs working, including your brain, heart and liver.
Crash dieting that lasts for months can also cause severe fluctuations in your vitamin and mineral reserves, which can then affect your heart function, bone strength and even your skin health.
You will see the pounds drop off like never before…
But at what cost?
Your body needs nourishment and exercise to be healthy. Crash dieting can cause your body to starve. If you are drastically modifying your diet so that your calories are well below your usual caloric intake, you may be putting yourself at risk.
Where can you get help for weight loss?
If you feel that you are not losing weight fast enough despite your best efforts, your better option would be to talk to a weight loss specialist. A weight loss specialist is a doctor who has devoted his career to studying obesity and weight loss.
There are private weight loss clinics around the country that offer consultations to people who wish to lose weight within a set amount of time.
State hospitals also have departments or clinics that can help people who are suffering from obesity. These are your safe havens for weight loss, because you will be under the guiding knowledge of medical professionals.