We live in a weight loss era ruled by fad diets, juice cleanses, keto diets, and High Intensity Interval Training. While there are a lot of dieting practices that have been and documented, others might not be beneficial to health and overall wellness.
"People get so concentrated on weight loss they agree to do unproven and potentially hazardous things that can backfire and trigger significant health problems," claims Michelle May, MD.
How do we know which dieting methods are sustainable and which methods are counterproductive? For your convenience, we have analyzed seven unsafe methods to stay clear of when trying to reduce weight.
1) Malnourishment, Fasting, or Extremely Low-Calorie Diets
Significantly lowering calories may result in weight-loss, but that loss includes valuable muscular tissue and can also lead to reduced metabolism. Radical calorie restriction also causes a shift towards a higher percent of body fat, which is an increased risk factor for Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
Generally, you should never restrict your caloric intake below 1,200 calories unless instructed by your primary care physician. You may see significant results initially due to such a large caloric deficit, but you will also struggle to retain essential nutrients. From a psychological standpoint, you are also much more likely to give in to “cravings” or “binge eating” after long periods of caloric deficit.
2) Supplements That Overpromise but Don’t Deliver
If it sounds too good to be true…it probably is.
With regards to medications, manufactures are required to provide clinical studies that show how effective a particular drug is. However, manufacturers that produce weight loss supplements operate under different regulations and do not have to conduct the same studies. Therefore, just because a particular supplement says it is “proven to promote weight loss” on the bottle, doesn’t mean that it’s been studied in a clinical setting.
The number one way to lose weight will always be a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. There is no such thing as a “magical weight loss pill”. The best way to put together your weight loss strategy is to consult a licensed medical professional and avoid supplements that overpromise results with no delivery.
3) Cleans or Detoxification Plans
Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular over the last decade. However, they should be used in moderation because most of the weight lost during the cleanse is water weight and electrolytes in the fecal matter. If you’re not careful, the cleanse can actually do more harm than good, in the from of severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
"Shedding lots of liquid without medical supervision is risky, especially when it's incorporated with other aggressive weight loss strategies," May states. "Your body is naturally fine-tuned to cleanse and excrete contaminants and toxins. So cleanses are often times unnecessary and can cause serious complications by tinkering your body's natural system."
Instead of being overly dependent on juice cleanses, be much more mindful of what you eat. If you intend to cleanse or purify your body the formula is simple: drink a lot of water and consume lots of high-fiber foods.
“Purging” consists of making yourself throw up, chewing food and spitting it out, and the unregulated use of laxatives.
"These harmful practices are rampant on college campuses, pose significant health problems, and are commonly the primary step in the development of eating disorders," says Connie Diekman. Diekman is the Supervisor of Nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, where she additionally counsels trainees who have eating conditions.
Stomach acid is incredibly strong and volatile. Chronic exposure to stomach acid can lead to esophageal damage/inflammation, and corrosion of the teeth enamel.
Regular purging by vomiting or abuse of laxatives additionally creates excess fluid loss that can create severe dehydration as well as electrolyte discrepancies.
“Every one of these kinds of weight management are dangerous, but one of the most unsafe is the use of Ipecac(syrup), Diekman claims. "One dose can cause heart abnormality and also can cause heart attack."
Purging in all its forms is no chance to trim the waist. Eating as well as drinking healthfully is a much safer fat burning method.
5) Extreme Exercising
Extreme workouts might make great reality tv. However, in the real world, it can potentially have long term complications. Extreme and unregulated workout regiments can enhance the risk for injury, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance. Psychologically, it creates the connotation that working out is a “punishment”. Rule number one for ANY health and wellness strategy: If it makes you feel bad about yourself, it’s probably not the right solution.