General Health Sunday December 4, 2011

The harmful effects of crash dieting

Everyone knows that the only way to lose weight healthily is to do so slowly but surely, by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. The problem arises, however, when people want to lose weight quickly. In many cases, such people risk their health by following a crash diet - often influenced by stories of celebrity diets discussed in the media - without proper medical supervision. The affect on your health can be very severe, with complications including a weakened immune system and cardiac problems.

Crash diets, which take the form of low-calorie diet plans, are a common subject in the media, with new celebrities and gurus seemingly advocating a new type every week. An example is The Master Cleanse, which involves consuming nothing but a mixed formula of lemon juice, water, cayenne pepper and maple syrup for a number of days. Other examples include the cabbage soup diet and the grapefruit diet. In these cases particularly, the extremely limited diet fails to provide the adequate calories and nutrients your body needs to survive, which is why such diets lead to serious health complications.

Research shows that fad diets such as those listed above can cause your immune system to become weaker. You will also be at a greater risk of experiencing cardiac stress and heart palpitations. Dehydration is also a possibility. These problems are particularly likely for those who try several crash diets. Following such programs designed to cut calories over a long-term period weakens the heart and damages blood vessels.

If this is not convincing enough, you should also be aware that depriving your body of the necessary amounts of calories actually slows down your metabolism, which is part of the reason many crash dieters put the weight back on after they stop following the diet. This means that, though you may lose weight very quickly, the effect will not be long-term.

The only way to lose weight safely and permanently is it to follow a careful, balanced diet - lots of fruits and vegetables; foods with low levels of sugar and saturated fat; whole grains; lean meats; fish etc -and to exercise regularly. Experts tend to recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day. You should aim to be losing one or two pounds per week. If you have a BMI of over 30 then you may find the prescription medication Xenical helpful.

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