Extreme diets: Are they safe and do they work?
A few years ago, Randeep Hooda had reportedly lost about 18kgs within a month by surviving on a diet of coffee and water, and very little food for Sarbjit. Amazed, I wanted to verify from a doctor if people should apply this method to lose weight. Firstly, the nutritionist was shocked to hear about the diet, and then she was against anyone trying it.
Here is what our expert says
Extreme diets create a metabolic state of starvation by restricting one of the major food groups deliberately. While these will help in reducing body weight in the short term, in the long term these diets create stress at the cellular level. Particular studies have shown injury to the inner lining of blood vessels, which increase the likelihood of blood clots and heart attacks.
Fad diets might lead to severe side-effects
We have come across several fad diets which claim to help you lose weight. Every new diet has its own theory of how you'll shed extra kilos, but none speak about the terrifying after-effects of extreme dieting on your body. Australian cricketer Shane Warne, who passed away due to a heart attack, was also known to follow extreme diets regularly.
Are extreme diets beneficial for losing weight?
"Extreme diets can lead to short term weight loss but over the long term, they are not healthy. These diets should not be continued on a regular basis to avoid malnourishment," says Dr. Akanksha Saxena. According to research, quick weight loss can slow down your metabolism. These extreme diets can also weaken your immune system and heighten the risk of dehydration, and cardiac stress.
What happens if people rely too much on extreme diets?
Dr. Saxena says, "Those who take part in extreme diets are at risk of various minerals and vitamin deficiency along with malnourishment." There are some negative side effects of crash diets. The hormone leptin which helps in making you feel satiated after a meal decreases with fat loss and eventually leads to increased appetite, and you eat more than you need to.
The healthy way of losing weight
If these diets are unsafe, what would a doctor recommend to do to lose weight? "A balanced diet with a regular exercise where a calorie deficit can be created is recommended for weight loss," replies Dr. Saxena. This takes us back to--there's no shortcut to success. It is torturing your body to alternatively survive on unhealthy foods and then extremely healthy foods.