Trends diets : a danger to our health

The increase in obesity is a real public health problem. Diet trends are partially responsible for this increase. Many of these trends are extremely restrictive and promise an rapid weight loss. But the regular practice of these dieting trends can actually pose a threat to personal health which can have serious consequences.


1. Nutritional imbalance

When following restrictive dieting plan, there tend to be low calorie counts that leave the diet unbalanced and lacking in nutritional diversity. Trying to lose weight in this manner can result in many nutrient deficiencies that minimize intake of essential vitamins and minerals. Such deficiencies can be very harmful to the body resulting in dizziness, fatigue, heart conditions, digestive disorders and more.

2. The cyclical Yo-Yo effect

Why do these regimens lead to weight gain in 80% of cases?

Basal metabolism is the energy necessary for the proper functioning of our body while resting. Metabolic processes can vary by sex, age, height, weight and other variables. If one consumes more calories than the calories burned by the basal metabolic rate, then they are likely to gain excess weight. On the contrary, if our basal metabolic rate exceeds our daily caloric intake then weight loss is imminent.

With overly restrictive diets, the number of calories burned by the body decreases as does our weight and basal metabolism. These are the beginning stages of the yo-yo effect.
Once we complete a dieting regimen, we tend to resume normal eating habits. However, in many cases, extensive dieting can invoke frustrations that can lead us to eat twice as much as before. The issue with this is that our basal metabolism has decreased due to the dieting regimen and the excess calories consumed by reacquiring our normal eating habits exceeds the new basal metabolic rate. As a result, our bodies will gain weight much faster than before and before we know it, we will meet or surpass our initial weight.

Moreover, our body can become accustomed to these changes quite fast. The more we practice restrictive dieting, the lower our metabolic rate and consequently our body will struggle to lose weight.
Overtime, restrictive dieting contributes to weight problems and obesity.

3. Hormonal consequences

There are two primary hormones that can affect our diet. Ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, and leptin, which does the opposite.
Restrictive diet can disrupt hormonal levels causing appetites to fluctuate. As leptin decreases, ghrelin will increase and our appetite will grow; pushing us to eat more.
Even at the end of the diet, leptin levels remain low while ghrelin levels stay high; making it even harder to avoid weight gain!

4. Psychological and behavioral consequences

The aftermath of the yoyo effect, which involves weight gain, can cause extreme frustration. For many, continuous failures are difficult to cope with and can lead to depression and lack of self-esteem.

5. Loss of muscle mass

Slimming regimens promise quick and rapid weight-loss, but they also lead to a decrease in muscle mass rather than just a loss of body fat. In these circumstances, you will not only lose weight quickly but your body will also lose strength and tone.

6. Slow growth and pubertal development

When children or adolescents engage in restrictive dieting it may slow growth as well as cause a delay in puberty.

7. Cardiovascular risk factor

Extremely restrictive diets, combined with physical activity, is also dangerous for your health. Such a combination can increase the risk of issues related to cardiovascular disease, especially in those that are sedentary for extensive periods of time, as well as malaise, and other disorders. This is because restrictive diets have such low caloric intake that the body is incapable of producing enough energy to engage in physical activities.

8. Increased oxidative stress

Drastic attempts to lose weight can leave our bodies fragile and susceptible to stress related issues due to the nutrient deprivations. It can disrupt our body’s natural rhythm of function and can cause cells to oxidize. Cell oxidation is extremely harmful and will induce premature aging of the skin, cramps and digestive disorders.


No miracle method exists!
Weight loss is possible but it takes time and patience.

Safe and sustainable weight loss must be achieved in a controlled and progressive manner. Ideally, you should aim to lose 500g to 1kg maximum per week (about 4 kilos per month).

An effective weight loss regimen involves nothing more than combining a well-balanced and diverse diet with regular physical activity. You must ensure that your daily intake does not exceed recommended daily.

Rebalancing your diet is most effective over a period of time and it will help you develop good eating habits that will last long after the regimen is finished.

Forget the highly restrictive diets that promise quick and rapid weight loss. All they do is damage your body and leave you with extreme frustration. Do yourself a favor and aim for balanced diet to progressively lose weight without harming yourself!

Source :
Article written by Amélie Vincent, dietitian

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