Crash diets can do more harm than good

Such diets can aggravate symptoms in those with heart problems

New Delhi, February 06,2018: Crash unsupervised internet and WhatsApp based diets can harm heart function and reduce its ability to pump blood, according to a recent study. It is important for those with heart disease to seek medical advice before adopting a very low-calorie diet.

In people with existing heart disease such a diet might aggravate heart failure symptoms like shortness of breath or increase the risk of arrhythmias.

A crash diet is a diet for losing weight by limiting calories in a very short period of time. Although it helps in quick weight reduction, it is bad for health. Examples of some such diets include the cabbage soup diet, the protein diet, three-day diet, Grapefruit diet, Detox diet, Chicken soup diet, Water fast diet, and Fresh juice crash diet.


Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Rapid weight loss not only slows down metabolism but also leads to future weight gain, thus depriving your body of essential nutrients. Crash diets can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk of dehydration, heart palpitations, and cardiac stress. Also, called yo-yo diets, these can damage blood vessels. Such shrinking and growing causes micro tears that create a setup for atherosclerosis and other types of heart disease.”

Some possible causes of arrhythmias in crash dieters include deficiency of potassium, magnesium, and copper. They also experience a decrease in blood pressure and sodium depletion.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor of IJCP, said, “While it may seem very tempting to follow a diet that helps you to lose weight quickly, it is better to have a proper plan of action to lose weight instead. Medically supervised diets can provide the appropriate safety measures to protect you while you lose weight, monitor your health for side effects, and help to assure your safety. It is important, thus, to consider all the side effects of any diet before adopting it.”

Some tips to lose weight in a healthy manner are as follows.

  • Cut back on sugar and sugary foods: Such foods stimulate the secretion of insulin, which in turn helps in storing fat. Eat more of proteins and simple carbohydrates.
  • Aim at getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. An active lifestyle forms the basis of regulating weight and burning unwanted calories.
  • Eat less and eat slow: The key is to eat several small meals a day rather than eating larger and unhealthy portions.
  • Use a smaller plate as this will ensure you cut out on large amounts of servings.

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