Many of us long to be skinny. We diet, skip meals and exercise in a desperate attempt to be the thinnest we can be. But is it worth the risks? Some people go as far as doing a crash or extreme dieting. Extreme dieting is a consequence of dieting improperly and pushing the limits of your body well beyond its capabilities. All diets usually begin the same way. A person has noticed and been bothered for quite some time by their weight gain. Finally, it gets to be too much, and said person decides to lose some pounds by going on a diet. There is a healthy way to diet and an unhealthy way also. The unhealthy way of dieting is extreme dieting, which can also be called crash dieting or, in really extreme cases, all-out fasting. Extreme dieting is not something to try,
The truth is, being on an extreme or crash diet can permanently damage your health - or even cost you your life. Here's how crash dieting affects your body.
1. It Can Cause Fatigue and Mood Changes
The first symptoms dieters on low calorie diets may experience are a lack of energy and mood changes. As you cut calories, your body will have less food to convert to energy. The levels of sugar in your blood will typically drop, and this can lead to fatigue, irritability, and even food cravings. Some people who plan to cut back on food actually find themselves cheating on their diet because of the strong cravings for unhealthy foods that can result from extreme hunger.
2. It Slows Down Your Metabolism
As your body experiences a calorie deficit and energy levels drop, your metabolism will naturally slow in order to conserve energy. This can actually stall weight loss and lead to the loss of muscle tone. Your body will conserve fat deposits and produce muscle-wasting; if your goal is to slim down and tone up, you may find that you retain almost the same body fat levels but experience a loss of muscle tone.
3. It Can Bring Changes in Digestion and Gallstones
Proper digestion requires sufficient fiber and water, which your body obtains from a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. When you restrict calories and food groups, it can lead to slowed digestion, constipation, and even bloating. In addition, gallbladder function can be adversely affected by lowered calories and decreases in cholesterol levels, and this can lead to the formation of gallstones.
4. It Causes Poor Vitamin Absorption
Eating a diet too low in fat can interfere with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Because these nutrients are fat soluble, your body needs dietary fat to utilize them. These vitamins are stored mostly in the liver and fat tissue and are important in bodily functions such as growth, immunity, cell repair and blood clotting. If you're not eating enough fat to bring these vitamins into your body, they will be excreted, and you may be at risk for a vitamin deficiency.
5. It Can Also Cause Depression
A diet that's too low in fat—especially essential fatty acids, which your body can only get from food might hurt your mental health. Both omega-3s and omega-6s play roles in mood and behavior. They are the precursor to many hormones and chemicals produced in the brain. One study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders has linked low and abnormal essential fatty acid intake to depressive symptoms. Other research shows that, because fatty acids help to insulate nerve cells in the brain, allowing these nerve cells to better communicate with one another. People who are deficient in omega-3s may suffer from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and ADHD.
6. It can also Increase the Risk of Cancer
Colon, breast, and prostate cancers have all been correlated with low intakes of essential fatty acids. Research has shown that a high intake of omega-3s slows prostate tumor and cancer cell growth, too. If your diet lacks healthy fats, you could be increasing your risk of cancer.
7. It may Increase Cholesterol and Heart Disease
Low-fat diets also play a role in cholesterol levels and heart disease. When your diet is too low in fat, your body's level of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) goes down. This is problematic because you want your HDL level to be high to help protect against heart disease. HDL collects "bad" cholesterol from the blood and transports it to the liver for excretion. When those ratios are out of balance—and when your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) level gets too high, you face cholesterol problems and an increased risk of heart disease. Essential fatty acids, especially Omega-3s, can elevate HDL, improve cholesterol levels and protect the heart.
8. It can Create Imbalance of Nutrients, Especially Carbohydrates
If you're not eating enough, then you're likely getting too much of other things, namely carbs and/or protein. This affects the overall balance of your diet, which could lead to health problems. A carbohydrate-rich diet can inflate appetite and girth and increases your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. On the flip side, a high-protein diet taxes the kidneys and liver and can lead to osteoporosis. Both cases can result in nutrient deficiencies. The key is to balance all three macronutrients—fat, carbs and protein, to ensure optimal nutrition and disease prevention.
9. It can Promote Overeating
If you're always choosing low-fat or fat-free foods at the grocery store, you could be shortchanging your weight-loss efforts. Many of these processed foods contain added sugars to enhance taste; often they're similar in calories to the original full-fat product. Research has shown that people tend to believe these foods are "freebies" and will even overeat them, thinking they're healthy or low in calories. Plus, fat helps carry flavor in our foods. It leads to fullness and satiety, which means you can get by longer on a meal or snack that provides fat without feeling the need to eat again soon.