If you have decided to embark on a harsh diet to shed the flab, it's high time that you consulted a good doctor. This is because you might end up doing more harm to your body than good. Harsh diets can help move the needle on the weighing scale in a short time but could take a toll on your health in the long run. Let's explore the impact of harsh diets.
Different types of harsh diets
Crash diet plans can be of two types -- low carb or keto diet, and a very low-calorie diet.
In a low-carb diet, sugary foods are excluded. The keto diet includes 5% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 70% fat. Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and healthy fats are eaten more.
Low-calorie diets usually involve eating very low-calorie foods for a short time. Say, 200 calories on the first day, 400 calories on the second day, 600 calories on the third day, 600 calories on the fourth day, and then fasting. Thus the routine continues.
This type of diet plan is very tempting due to desired weight loss of 1.5 to 2.5 kg per week. Low-calorie foods include eggs, bread, salads, sour yogurt, whole meal bread, soup, potatoes, eggplant, low-fat milk, red spinach and sweet pumpkin.
Low-carb and low-calorie diets are followed by a low-fat diet. Here the diet contains less than 30% of the total calories in fat. Low-fat foods include corn, popcorn, honey, rice, oatmeal, vegetable noodles, vegetable soup, beans, lentils, egg whites and tuna.
Risk of death in strict diet
An uncontrolled harsh diet can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. Furthermore, it can cause death through respiratory damage, kidney failure, and multiple organ damage at the same time.
The ominous impacts of harsh diet have been observed in the media world for ages. The most dangerous of these is anorexia nervosa. This is the final stage of a mental illness that results from excessive weight loss. It is mainly triggered by the intense fear of weight gain.
In 1936, Irene Fenwick, the actress of the American silent film, died at 49 of anorexia nervosa, which was referred to as ‘over-dieting’ at the time.
American singer Karen Carpenter died of heart failure in 1983 at the age of 32. She was on a low-carb hard diet as well as taking extra medication to lose weight.
In 2006, Uruguayan fashion model Luisel Ramos died of excessive fasting at the age of 22. In the wake of Ramos' death, that year Italian fashion designers banned the size zero models for catwalks. And, 2006’s Madrid Fashion Week set BMI 18 as the minimum requirement for all models.
Brazilian fashion model Anna Carolina Reston followed a diet with only apples and tomatoes for years. At the time of her death in 2006, she weighed only 40 kg.
Hila Elmalich, an Israeli fashion model, had to be taken to the hospital frequently due to excess weight loss. At the time of her death in 2007, the 34-year-old model weighed only 27 kg.
French model and actress Isabel Caro (28) suffered from a respiratory illness for almost two weeks before she died in 2010. It is said that she suffered from immunodeficiency due to anorexia.
German Instagram star Josi Maria (24) passed away in 2020. In social media, she shared her experiences regarding anorexia before her death.
On October 2, 2020, Bollywood actress Mishti Mukherjee (27) died due to kidney failure linked to keto diet.
English TV star Nicki Graham (38) died on April 9 in 2021. According to doctors, Nikki's cause of death was Anorexia Nervosa.
The ill-effects of harsh diet
You might experience muscle breakdown as well as fat loss due to a harsh diet. When the fat-to-muscle ratio becomes unstable, muscle breakdown begins resulting a decrease in metabolic rate. Weak muscles make it difficult to carry out daily activities such as carrying groceries or climbing up the stairs.
The primary energy that the body uses when consuming calories or carbs comes from glycogen. It is a form of carbohydrate that is stored in the liver and muscles. Water is present in every gram with it. The fewer carbs or calories you consume, the more water you lose. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.
Imbalance of internal physical activities
Any kind of imbalance in the elements by which our physical activities are conducted becomes a cause of danger. The resulted complicacies may include convulsions, irregular heartbeat, the activity of cells, and formation of cell wall layer. Disruption of every little action might gradually lead the whole body system to collapse.
Eating a low-calorie diet may increase your chances of experiencing hairfall. This is because the lack of adequate nutrition disrupts the normal functioning of your hair cells.
Extreme weight loss deprives your body from the nutrients required for healthy activities. Especially, nutritional deficiencies of vitamin D and calcium can impair the normal development of health. Malnutrition might lead to diverse diseases such as anemia, weakness, loss of consciousness.
Stones in gallbladder
During the formation of gallbladder stones, severe pain is felt in the gallbladder. These stones are formed slowly, when the digestive juices are not excreted in the gallbladder due to a lack of digestive food. Day by day these juices get hardened inside the gallbladder and block the gateway of the gallbladder. It results to indigestion causing pain and discomfort.
Decreased physical strength
Excessive calorie consumption would leave a detrimental effect on your energy. Besides feeling physically tired, your brain activity would be disrupted along with your body performance. Your mood can also be affected. Severe weight loss often leads to constant anger.
Depression and inferiority complex
Most diets fail. And this repeated failure leads to long-term weight loss. Chronic dieters consistently experience guilt, anxiety and frustration, lack of concentration, and fatigue. And, many people even choose to commit suicide because they are mentally depressed due to weight gain.
Above all, to avoid the risk of a harsh diet, it is best to get enough exercise with a natural diet while maintaining your normal lifestyle. If you can get used to proper physical exercises with a balanced diet from a young age, you will benefit.