What Are Crash Diets And How Do They Work?

crash-diet-300x237Crash diets or fad diets are the most resorted to form of dieting by people looking for a quick fix weight loss remedy. It is neither healthy nor does it succeed in long term and permanent weight loss. When following crash diets, a person drastically cuts down on the calorie intake and is deprived of essential nutrients. As a result, it is not possible to continue on crash diets for more than a few weeks.

Though in the initial days of following crash diets, weight loss happens, it is temporary; once you move out of such diets, you are bound to regain the lost weight. Crash diets are typically yo-yo diets. People follow it and exhibit weight loss as long as they are on with the crash dieting plan. But are out of it after a few weeks only to regain the weight. Then to lose weight, they again get on to crash dieting. The end result you will be held in the vicious grip of ailments caused as a result of nutritional deficiencies. Some of the effects of crash dieting include electrolyte imbalances, malnutrition, lethargy, nausea, diarrhea, dehydration and headaches.

Some of the popularly followed crash diets are cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, blood type diet and master cleansing diet. While following cabbage soup crash diet, dieters eat nothing other than cabbage soup for continuous period of 7 days. While cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and helps in calorie burn, you are eliminating other food groups as a result of which you are besieged by nutritional deficiencies.

Working principle of crash diets

Crash diets are followed for quick weight loss. These diets drastically reduce your calorie intake. If your average calorie need is 1500 calories per day, these diets cut down on almost 1000 calories. With the result of the calorie deficit, the glycogen reserves and the protein stores are the first to be used up as energy. As protein stores are lost, there is accompanying loss in water weight. Then the triglycerides from the fat stores are used up.

In the initial days of following the crash diets, you find a significant amount of weight loss as the body reacts immediately to the depleted energy stores. But as you continue on the same method of drastic calorie restriction, the metabolism slows down and your rate of weight loss slows down gradually taking you to a weight loss plateau.

As you reach a dead end and do not experience any weight loss, you lose the motivation to continue with the plan. It is also neither practical nor medically recommended to continue on crash diets beyond a few weeks. You revert back to your old diet pattern. Now you start to gain back the lost weight at a faster pace. With your metabolism getting sluggish, it gets difficult to burn away the calories from your regular diet and you will again get caught in the vicious circle of moving in and out of crash diets which is very unhealthy.

If weight loss is your goal, follow a healthy and balanced diet supported by a regular workout schedule. Weight loss thus attained will be permanent and keep you fit and healthy.