Weight Loss

4 Diets That Do More Harm than Good 

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A majority of the world’s population, whether male or female, has probably “dieted” at least once in their life. Did you know however that a lot of these diets can cause more harm than good?

Read on below to find out why and how.

1. Single Food Type Diets

We’ve all heard about these diets before. Eat only grapefruit for a week, eat only cabbage for 3 days or eat only bananas for a month and you are guaranteed to lose 60 pounds in no time!

While there are those of us you have found success using this method (IF you go through a whole week of eating only grapefruit), this type of dieting is detrimental to our health. Sure you will lose weight, as eating only grapefruit for 7 days will put you under a great caloric deficit but while grapefruits are highly nutritious, consuming any fruit for long periods of time without consuming anything else can lead to a nutritional deficiency.

The grapefruit diet touted extreme weight loss and “detoxification” which is why it was so popular for a while.

We’d hate to burst your bubble but what you’re excreting when you’re on this diet are not really “toxins and chemicals” but side effects of a digestive system that has been overloaded with fluids and sugar but is lacking solid food to digest. Such obsessive and low caloric consumption could also exacerbate eating disorders. 

2. hCG Diet

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that is naturally produced by the female body during pregnancy. The claim for this diet is that if you inject hCG or take it orally, you can live on 500 calories a day without going hungry, lose weight and “reset” your metabolism, whatever that means. What’s worse, you’re supposed to complete this whole diet for a length of 8 weeks.

The shots themselves are legal, and are often prescribed to treat fertility issues, but it has not been approved by the FDA for weight loss purposes. The FDA has sent warning letters to several companies who have been advertising hCG as a weight loss supplement.

Aside from having to follow a very strict 500-calorie diet there are several food restrictions. One of the rules is that you aren’t allowed to eat fatty fish (like salmon or herring), butter, and oil and are only allowed some select fruits and vegetables.

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The only way this diet works is because any diet consisting of 500-calories per day, regardless of supplements like hCG, is bound to make you lose tremendous amounts of weight.

3. Drastically Cutting Calories

This is probably the most common way that people lose weight and what’s a little alarming is that most of us would consider this kind of dieting as not only acceptable but healthy!

New unprofessional research showing how healthy calorie restriction can be, and how it can help you live longer, is partly to be blamed for this belief.

People who use this method will typically eat around 25% less than what they (based on body weight, gender and weight) might need. While many doctors will encourage this method for obese and overweight patients, most of the people who undergo this diet are none of the above mentioned, and have not even consulted a doctor. So a person who needs 1,600 calories to function for the day might go as low as 1,050 calories in order to lose weight. For any height or weight, going anywhere below 1,200 calories a day is highly discouraged.

Despite the verdict still being out on the low calorie diet, many people are going for it and eating at dangerously low caloric deficits.

Eating very little calories everyday can result to bone loss, digestive problems, your body holding on to fat and loss of muscle mass. These factors in return can slow down your metabolism in the long run.

4. Diets That Eliminate Entire Food Groups

Low-carb and high-protein, no gluten and low-fat diets are all examples of very unbalanced diets. Of course, having too much of anything (be it carbs or protein) is bound to make you gain weight but let me assure you that cutting out an entire food group is not the way to go about losing weight.

All food groups are important.

Carbohydrates are a good source of accessible energy for our body, dietary protein is an important source of essential amino acids, fiber helps regulate sugar levels and cleans out our digestive systems, and fat is important for strengthening our hair, skin, nails and cellular membranes. Fat is even great for the brain!

And yet we insist on demonizing any (or all!) of these food groups, leaving us to wonder how we can ever find anything to eat.

Eliminating a food group from our diets is a surefire way to develop a nutritional deficiency, just ask any vegan who hasn’t figured out meal planning around plant based protein yet.

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