What Is Crash Dieting And What Are Some Tips To Stopping It?
What is crash dieting, and how harmful is it? If you’re considering going on a quick, crash diet to lose weight fast, then you might want to think again.
What Is Crash Dieting?
According to Merriam Webster, crash dieting is “a way of losing a lot of weight very quickly by limiting how much one eats.” It’s a quick way to lose a lot of weight in a relatively short time.
Typically, what is crash dieting involves removing certain foods or food groups from your diet, thus putting yourself on a low-calorie intake for a short period of time. It may also involve eating only certain foods or going on a detox or cleanse.
Many people on crash diets lose two pounds or more each week. However, it’s not sustainable and you are likely to gain back the weight you lost and more because crash diets slow your metabolism.
Popular crash diets include:
- Juice dieting
- 7-day detox
- Military diet
- Keto diet
- The 21 Day Fix
What Are The Causes of Crash Dieting?
Many people looking for a quick-fix diet, or an easy way to lose weight fast will turn to crash dieting. It can be tempting if you have a specific event or goal in mind, to get there quickly. Especially if you have the pressure of an upcoming event or see peers going on such a diet, it can be very attractive to try a crash diet.
However, crash diets are worth all the weight loss hype. They can actually be quite dangerous and damage your health.
Is Crash Diet Effective For Weight Loss?
While in the short term you may lose several pounds quickly, crash diets are not sustainable, and you are likely to gain the weight back. Additionally, you are likely to lose mostly muscle and water weight, not body fat, on a crash diet according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Additionally, crash diets advertise a quick fix without exercise. Any diet that promises weight loss without movement should be a red flag. Exercise helps you lose weight and build muscle and overall helps you maintain weight loss.
In fact, your overall health can be negatively impacted by a crash diet.
Dangers Of Crash Dieting
Crash dieting can be bad for your health. Crash diets can slow your metabolism down which can cause weight gain in the future. They also weaken your immune system.
Here are the top dangers of crash dieting:
- Reduce your metabolic rate
- Weaken your immune system
- Cause dehydration
- Lead to heart issues
- Lead to irregular or inconsistent bowel movements
- Drain your energy
- Your hormones will be out of balance, leading to a long-lasting ‘hungry’ feeling
Additionally, by avoiding specific foods you are likely to be dehydrated and malnourished. You will be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals and can even end up with heart problems.
According to what a Cardiologist and professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York City, told CNN, “A crash diet once won’t hurt your heart,” Dr. Rosenfeld says. But he also warns of the inherent risks of increased heart attacks that crash dieting can lead.
If you end up on what is considered crash dieting repeatedly, your body may become dependent on them to lose weight and you can end up with an eating disorder. But even after a few days of a crash diet you can lose electrolytes, become drained of energy and have side effects such as light-headedness, dehydration and arrhythmias.
7 Tips To Stop Crash Dieting
If you’re ready to break out of what is crash dieting and work on long-term, sustainable health patterns, here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Don’t skip breakfast:
Eating a filling breakfast can help you start the day right. If you feel very snacky at night, it’s likely because you didn’t get enough food during the day. Start your day with breakfast to help your metabolism get going after sleeping and keep your energy high.
2. Get plenty of sleep:
Sleep can impact your metabolism and keep you healthy. Aim for 8 hours each night, ideally going to bed before midnight.
3. Eat plenty of protein:
Proteins like chicken, egg and dairy can help support muscles and keep you feeling full. Some studies show that protein can increase your metabolic rate by 15-30%, which is a much larger impact than carbs or fats.
4. Eat enough probiotic-rich foods or take a probiotic supplement:
Probiotics are essential to balance your gut bacteria. If that balance of gut bacteria is off, it can lead to sugar cravings, blood sugar swings and weight gain. You can get probiotics in foods like Greek yogurt or try a probiotics supplement.
5. Exercise regularly:
Exercise is a great pair with weight loss because it can help you lose fat rather than muscle. Studies show that exercise can also increase your metabolism. One study found that 45 minutes of cardio can increase your metabolism for up to 14 hours after the workout.
6. Stay hydrated:
One of the worst side effects of crash diets is dehydration. To combat this, drink plenty of water each day. If you swap out sugary drinks for water to reduce your calorie intake in a healthy way, the odds of losing weight and keeping it off will increase. Studies show that water can also help you feel full.
7. Stay consistent:
At the end of the day, it is critical that with whatever health choices you make you are consistent over time. the best diets for weight loss are the ones that are sustainable and will fit in your lifestyle.
What is crash dieting in diet culture is not beneficial to weight loss or your overall health in the long term. There are healthier ways to lose weight, and in the long run there is no quick-fix, easy weight loss solution. Everyone’s bodies are different and weight loss and health are about finding what works for you, and what makes you feel good.
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