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The health risks of crash dieting

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Crash diets are popular for many reasons. Losing weight quickly can seem very appealing.

It is often much easier to think about severely restricting our day-to-day habits for a short period of time than it is to think about long-term, sustainable life changes.

However, rapid weight-loss or crash-dieting can pose many health risks. Risks should always be considered and weighed against any rewards that you are seeking, especially if you want to manage your weight in a healthy manner.

Risks of Crash Dieting

  • Poor Nutrition – When you dramatically reduce what you eat and restrict certain foods, it can be very hard to meet your body’s nutritional requirements for optimal health.
  • Gallstones – Gallstones form when substances in bile crystallize and the crystals grow together. Gallstones can later increase in size to cause pain and illness. Up to 25 percent of individuals who use diets that are very low in calories (800 calories per day or less) develop gallstones. This is also a risk with bariatric surgery.
  • Loss of Lean Body Mass--When someone loses a lot of weight, some part of that weight is always likely to be lean body mass (muscle and bone) rather than fat. Overall, rapid loss of lean body mass is associated with poor health, especially as we age.
  • The Rebound Effect – When you lose weight, one of the hardest things to do is to keep it off!!! After the drastic dieting in crash diets, many will find they regain their weight faster than they lost it!

Keep in Mind…

An important rule of thumb to keep in mind is this: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Crash dieting may seem like a quick and easy way to reach your weight-loss goals, but they are oftentimes dangerous and not sustainable in the long run.            

We tell our patients at Ascension Via Christ Weight Management in Manhattan to set a weight loss goal 5 to 10 percent of your weight within the first six months. We encourage small and healthy lifestyle changes over time for lasting weight loss. This is a marathon, not a race and the winners maintain their weight loss over time!

About Michelle Kennedy

Michelle Kennedy is the Senior Marketing Specialist for Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan, Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg and Wamego Health Center. She is a proud wife and mom and loves cooking, camping and spending time outdoors, her dogs and reading.