Weight loss is a billion dollar industry, that is constantly coming up with a new diet or fad that is guaranteed to conquer the battle of the bulge. Diets can range from the sensible to the downright dangerous and leave dieters with a spinning head and an empty or wallet…or worse. Although some diets are unlikely to cause harm because the dieter cannot stay on the program long enough to suffer any long-term damage, others weight loss diets are harmful and should never be used.
Arizona-based weight loss management doctor, Michelle May, expressed her concern over today’s weight-loss mania, stating dieters are so focused on their goal to loss weight, they forget about researching to see if the diet is safe. Many diet plans today have serious health risks that people are unaware of. These potentially hazardous conditions of the diet can backfire causing far more harm than good.
Connie Diekman, RD, eating disorder specialist said extreme yo-yo dieting can significantly raise the risk of eating disorders developing later on as the dieter continues with an unhealthy eating program.
Here is a list of harmful weight loss diets that should never be used.
Fasting, Starvation or Drastically Low-Calorie Diets
While weight loss consists of burning more calories than what is eaten, therefore, severely cutting calories will lead to weight loss. However the weight that is lost is the worst kind. When calories are severely cut, the body needs to burn something for the energy it needs to carry out the most basic bodily functions like: breathing, cardiac functions, filtering blood impurities. When the body does not have energy to burn in the form of calories from food, it will break down muscle mass. Muscles are the powder keg for metabolism; they burn off fat while they rev up the metabolism engine. When muscle mass is burned, weight loss slows down and weight gain can be the result.
May, author of Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat, stated, quick weight loss by severe calorie restriction results in some fat loss coupled with a loss of water and muscle mass that ultimately slows down the metabolism, resetting the amount of calories the body needs to survive. It also increase the percentage of fat in the body, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Never cut calories below 1,200 a day, which is the minimum needed to maintain a healthy level of activity, meet nutritional needs and satisfy hunger.
Supplements and Diet Pills with Grand Promises
Remember the adage, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, this applies to diet pills and supplements. The over the counter wonder drugs are very unlikely to do anything except help dieters lose their money. Not only are they ineffective, they may be dangerous as well.
According to Diekman, Director of Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, many of the over the counter diet pills and supplements are filled with caffeine and diuretics that can result in electrolyte imbalance and dehydration. An electrolyte imbalance can result in dizziness, weakness and muscle cramping.
Supplements and over the counter diet pills are not given the same intense scrutiny by the FDA as prescription drugs. They can be dangerous, ineffective and a waste of money, according to Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo PhD, RD, American Dietetic Association spokeswoman.
The FDA has urged dieters to keep in mind that just because a supplement is advertised as being natural does not mean it is not harmful. Some doctors dispense questionable therapies for weight loss.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Diet (HCG)
The hcg diet took the planet by storm, toting a quick, guaranteed weight loss if the dieter followed the drastically restricted calorie diet plan followed by the hcg drops. Thousands of dieters jumped on-board, hoping to see dramatic results.
Weight loss on the hcg diet plan, according to May, was more likely due to the restricted 500 calorie a day intake and not from the hcg taken from the urine of pregnant women. Hcg has the same health risks as starvation, fasting or a low-calorie diet.
Gazzaniga-Moloo states, forget about supplements and diet pills that promise grand results, instead depend on healthy foods and exercise to promote weight loss instead of harmful diets that should never be used.
By Deborah Baran