The crash diet has been the center of controversy for at least a century. As each decade goes by, we learn more about weight loss and of the dangers of these short-term fads. Still, as each decade goes by, they persist, and many become even more popular.
New research has just added even more evidence to what we’ve already known about why a crash diet is a bad idea. Researchers from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. discovered that crash dieting actually adds belly fat. Moreover, it weakens the muscles.
A Crash Diet Brings the Opposite of Weight Loss
It may feel as though your crash diet is working when you watch the number fall on the scale over a weekend. Unfortunately, what you’re seeing isn’t nearly as good as it seems. For one thing, the odds are that you’re not actually losing fat. Instead, you’re probably losing water, which will only return once you’ve rehydrated.
That said, according to the new research findings, you’re likely also losing muscle. This helps to explain why the number falls on the scale despite the fact that you’re not burning through body fat. This, combined with the fact that it places you at risk of fast weight gain around your middle makes the situation even worse.
Why Crash Dieting Means Weight Gain That is Hard to Stop
Since the researchers found that a crash diet will make you prone to more belly fat and weaker muscles, it means weight problems in your future. The reason is that your muscles are a major part of your body’s fat burning process. In fact, the more lean muscle mass you have on your body, the more calories and fats you’ll burn, regardless of whether you’re active or sedentary.
If you’re looking for healthy weight management, you will want to maintain or even build your muscles. This doesn’t mean you need to become a bodybuilder with huge defined muscles. However, it does mean that boosting your muscle strength will make the process much easier. The weaker your muscles get, the harder it is to burn fat or to prevent weight gain. Since a crash diet weakens your muscles, it means you’re more likely to find it hard to lose weight or to stop it from building on.
Long Term Crash Diet Risks
If the damage to weight loss from a crash diet wasn’t enough, the long term health risks should certainly be considered. This study added to a huge body of evidence underscoring the short-and long-term health risks of extreme dieting. Doing it once may not be life threatening. However, participating in this type of strategy more than once can risk damage to the heart, circulatory system as a whole, and kidneys, among other organs and systems.