One of the biggest health challenges we face today is losing weight. When asked what the best way to lose weight is, most people would tell you “cut back on calories,” or, “just eat less!” There however are many negative side effects of very low calorie diets!
As a result of this logic, many women are eating low calorie or restricted diets.
While you might think it’s the right thing to do, very low calorie diets are actually one of the worst things you can do, not only for weight loss but for overall health.
One of the first things to keep in mind is the body needs a minimum number of calories to function efficiently. For the average woman, the absolute minimum is approximately 1200 calories per day.
Not counting occasional fasting, eating less than 1200 calories per day on a consistent basis can be hazardous to your health.
Here are a few potential dangers of low calorie diets:
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Heart problems
- Loss of lean muscle mass
Would you associate these symptoms with a low calorie diet? I wouldn’t either!
So here are some reasons why you should avoid very low calorie diets, and some things you can do instead.
LOW CALORIE DIETS = WEIGHT GAIN?
In addition to the health issues described above, did you know low calorie diets can do the one thing people are trying to avoid: cause weight gain?
It sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. If we eat less than 1200 calories per day, every day, our bodies will soon go into “starvation mode.” Our metabolisms will slow down and will hold onto every calorie it receives. This means instead of losing weight, we could actually gain weight… even on fewer calories!
Another problem to watch out for is yo-yo dieting and binge eating.
Drastically cutting calories could cause us to crave our favourite foods even more, prompting us to binge eat when we finally give in to the cravings. Once the binge is over, we try cut calories again, only to fall off the wagon and go on another binge eating frenzy a short time later. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends, which often results in more calories consumed and weight gained.
While it’s important to eat, we must remember that not all food is created equal. In other words, the quality of the food is critical.
For example, many people like to eat crackers or popcorn when they are trying to cut calories. These foods (and many others) are labeled as low calorie, but they are not the best options because they have very little nutritional value. Without getting the proper nutrients, we set ourselves up for even more health issues. Opt for foods that are healthy and high in nutrients instead.
Many nutrient dense foods are also low in calories. Here are a few to try:
- Romaine lettuce
- Brown rice
- Nuts & seeds
Eating these and other healthy low calorie foods can help with weight loss while giving your body the nutrients it needs.
A FEW EXTRA TIPS
Instead of focusing on super low calorie diets, try these healthy eating tips to lose weight naturally and keep it off:
AVOID FOODS THAT COME IN A BOX
Many of these foods are full of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives. They also have little nutritional value.
DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Water helps increase feelings of fullness, which can help decrease the amount of food consumed naturally. Drinking more water that also means we’re not drinking as much soda or other beverages that are high in sugar and calories.
DON’T STARVE YOURSELF
“Food” is not a four letter word. We need to eat to survive. They key is to focus on eating the proper foods, which means eating less junk food and more fruits, veggies and lean meats.
GO FOR A WALK
Walking for just thirty minutes per day is a great way to burn excess calories.
Low calorie diets can do more harm than good. Change your diet and you can change your life.