For many of us, it’s easier to think about severely restricting what we do to achieve quick wins in a short time, than to think about making long-term, lasting life changes. But rapid weight loss – especially the type of diet commonly referred to as “draconian” – is not without its risks, which must be weighed against the possible benefits.
Here are some of the risks of crash diets:
The gallbladder is a small organ located under the liver. It stores a liquid substance called bile that helps you break down fats when you eat them. Gallstones appear as a result of the crystallization of substances contained in the bile and the agglutination of these crystals. Sometimes they are very small (like sand), but they can become very large (like golf balls).
Large stones are likely to cause severe pain and illness. Rapid weight loss can greatly increase the risk of gallstone formation. Up to 25% of people who eat a very low calorie diet (800 or less) develop gallstones. Experts believe this is due to changes in fat metabolism that occur with very rapid weight loss. The weight cycle – repeatedly losing and regaining weight – also increases the risk of gallstone formation.
Loss of lean body mass.
When a person loses a lot of weight, some of that weight is still likely to be lean mass (muscle and bone) rather than fat. Following strict dietary protocols under the supervision of a medical professional can help minimize this phenomenon and it is partly for this reason that the supervision of a doctor is important for anyone who is serious about dieting at very high speeds. low in calories.
Without intervention, a low-calorie diet can lead to a loss of more than 25% of lean body mass. This is important for multiple reasons, including because loss of bone tissue can contribute to frailty in older people, and loss of muscle impairs metabolism and strength. Overall lean mass loss is associated with poor health, especially with age.
A poor diet.
Our nutrition (proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc.) comes from the foods we eat. For an important set of nutrients (those we call essential), we need to get them in minimal amounts every day (or at least very regularly) to be healthy.
When you drastically reduce what you eat, it can be very difficult to meet your nutritional needs. Additionally, some crash diets can severely restrict the types of foods eaten (no carbs, no fats, no dairy, etc.), making it even more difficult to eat a full diet. Although most of us have sufficient nutrient reserves to go for very short periods without all of our essential nutrients, we cannot do so for long.
The rebound effect.
When you lose weight, one of the hardest things to do is keep it off. In a study on the very low calorie diet, 40% of participants regained more weight than they lost. When you drastically cut calories, even though you need to lose weight, your body thinks you’re starving. As a protective mechanism, your body slows down your metabolism, but this makes it more difficult to continue losing weight. Many people find that they regain more quickly than they lost after this type of crash dieting.
Other possible side effects of very rapid weight loss include electrolyte imbalances, abnormal heart rate and rhythm, low blood sugar, dehydration, acute gout, hair loss, weakness, constipation , etc.
While it may be tempting to commit to rapid and dramatic weight loss, it’s hardly a practice to do on your own. Medically supervised diets can provide the right safety measures to protect you while you lose weight, monitor your health for side effects, and help keep you safe. If you’re considering trying to lose weight fast on your own, it’s important to consider the possible risks and talk to your doctor if you have any health concerns.