Here, are six very dangerous strategies you should NOT use to lose weight.
Starvation, Fasting, or Very Low-Calorie Diets
Severely slashing calories leads to weight loss, but the lost weight includes precious muscle mass and poses health risks — and most people end up regaining the weight plus extra pounds.
“Rapid weight loss by critical calorie restriction,” May, the author of Eat What You Love and Love What You Eat, says, “causes water, some fat, and muscle loss, which ultimately decreases metabolism so the body needs fewer calories to survive.” It also causes a shift toward a higher percentage of body fat, which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Don’t cut calories below 1,200 per day. Otherwise, you will struggle to meet nutrient needs, fuel your activity, and satisfy your hunger. Keep in mind that when you lose weight quickly, you tend to pack it back on with more fat and less muscle, which lowers your metabolism and calorie needs even more.
Dubious Supplements and Over-the-Counter Diet Pills That Make Grand Promises
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Diet pills, potions, and concoctions purchased over the counter or ordered on line are unlikely to be effective and are not necessarily safe or capable of delivering on the oft exaggerated promises.
Over-the-counter diet pills may not appear to be dangerous, but they can still cause harm. Diekman, who is director of nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, says, “Most diet pills are nothing more than a quick fix loaded with caffeine and diuretics that can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.”
The FDA does not give supplements the same scrutiny as prescription drugs. Some over-the-counter or Internet products “can be harmful, ineffective, and a waste of money,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Jeannie Gazzaniga-Moloo, PhD, RD.
And remember, the fact a product claims it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe or good for you. Some doctors even dispense risky therapies that are not approved for weight loss from their office. The FDA urges people to report dangerous supplements through its MedWatch program.
The HCG (human chronic gonadotropin) diet is a good example of a plan that is not FDA approved for weight loss. Yet legions of dieters are using it. Weight loss from the HCG Diet, May says, likely has more to do with the 500-calorie restriction and not the HCG obtained from urine of pregnant women. It has the same risks as a very low-calorie diet along with unknown risks associated with long-term use of HCG.
Forget supplements and diet pills. Instead, Gazzaniga-Moloo says, rely on healthy foods to help you lose weight.
Cleanses or Detox Plans
Cleansing for a colonoscopy is necessary for examining your colon. But cleansing to remove toxins from your body is not necessary. At best, cleanses cause weight loss from water and stool weight. But they can be dangerous and carry risks of dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and more.
“Losing lots of fluid without medical supervision is risky, and when it’s combined with fasting, even riskier,” May says. “Your body is uniquely fine-tuned to detoxify and excrete toxins. So cleanses are unnecessary and can lead to serious complications by messing with your body’s finely-tuned system.”
Instead of detoxifying, be more mindful of what you eat. If you want to cleanse or detoxify your body, drink plenty of water and eat lots of high-fiber foods.
All Forms of Purging
Purging includes making yourself vomit, chewing food and spitting it out, and abusing laxatives. “These unhealthy and unsafe behaviors are not uncommon on college campuses, pose serious health problems, and are the first step in the development of eating disorders,” says Diekman, who counsels students with eating disorders at Washington University.
Acid in the stomach is extremely strong. Strong acid is necessary to prepare food for digestion and absorption. But stomach contents are meant to stay in the stomach, not be regurgitated into the esophagus and mouth. “Extremely acidic vomit can cause erosion in the esophagus and mouth and on tooth enamel. This can increase risk for certain cancers, tooth decay, and more when purging becomes a ritual,” Diekman says.
Regular purging by vomiting or abuse of laxatives also causes excess fluid loss that can cause serious dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
All of these forms of weight loss are dangerous, but the most dangerous is the use of syrup of Ipecac, Diekman says. “One dose can trigger cardiac irregularity and can lead to cardiac arrest.”
Purging in all its forms is no way to whittle down the waistline; it is extremely dangerous and not recommended by experts. Eating and drinking responsibly is a much healthier and safer weight loss approach. If you cannot control your behavior, seek medical help.
Obsessive Behaviors Such as Extreme Exercising
Extreme exercise may make for good reality television. But in the real world, it can cause grave problems. It’s physically intense on the body, causes severe wear and tear, increases the risk for injury, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance, and psychologically turns exercise into punishment for eating, May says.
The American Academy of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recommend getting at least 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio exercise five days a week or 20 minutes of vigorously intense cardio exercise 3 days a week and 8 to 10 minutes of strength-training exercises twice a week.
Despite the recommendations from authorities, some people think more is better and go way beyond what’s healthy. Obsessive exercise controls their lives in an unhealthy way.
Engage in regular physical activity for all the health benefits. That includes stress relief because ignoring the stressors in your life can cause the release of hormones, such as cortisol, that increase appetite and fat storage, Gazzaniga-Moloo says.
Legal and Illegal Drugs
Using drugs other than prescription weight loss drugs intended for weight loss is a grim mistake and fraught with all kinds of consequences.
“The potential risks associated with abusing drugs such as cocaine, speed, and meds prescribed for attention deficit disorder, thyroid disorders, or diabetes to lose weight far outweigh any health benefit you may get from weight loss,” Gazzaniga-Moloo says. Just some of the unintended risks include, “physical and psychological addiction, social and financial problems, strain on relationships, anxiety, severe headaches, stroke, and heart, lung, and kidney problems.”
Using illegal drugs for any purpose is strongly discouraged, and using legal drugs for their unintended purpose without medical supervision is dangerous.
For decades, public health officials have discouraged smoking because of its countless health risks. Yet some people — especially young adults — use smoking as a diet strategy.
Nicotine has been shown to be an appetite suppressant, but the risks of smoking vastly outweigh any supposed benefits of cigarette smoking.
Smoking harms nearly every organ of the body; causes cancer as well as cardiovascular, respiratory, and other diseases; reduces the health of smokers in general; and increases the risk of death.
Beyond the numerous health risks, weight gain is often a side effect when smokers try to kick the addictive habit.
Bottom line: Don’t smoke for any reason, least of all to lose weight.
Best Weight Loss Practices
Choose a diet that works for your lifestyle. Studies show the best diet is the one you can stick with long term. Use common sense, listen to your body, be mindful of what you eat, and pass on expensive, risky, and worthless weight loss schemes or products that are unproven.
Seek expert advice from your doctor or a registered dietitian if you are concerned that your weight loss methods may be bordering on extreme or unhealthy.
source: Web MD