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Extreme Dieting Has Some Serious Lessons to Teach. Are You Listening?

Everyone knows that you ought to eat more fruits and vegetables, but you crave for a creative approach or a gimmick as we Americans love a good fad diet yo lose the excess weight, say experts from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But such diets suggest close adherence to rules about what to eat and what to avoid that aren’t strictly backed by science and historically have rotated in villainizing either proteins, carbohydrates or fats.

With a lot of these diets, you tend to cut out a food group or go very low /high with any of the macronutrients, you could be missing key nutrients in the diet. Before depriving yourself, here are some lessons learned from people who have tried and tested complicated diets to lose weight.

Food becomes an adversary

If you unnecessarily demonize certain foods or macronutrients by adopting a very low-carb diet or severe calorie restriction, experts say you become fixated on what you can’t have, rather than nourishing your body, and that changes your relationship with food in negative ways. With fad diets, food becomes an enemy or something to be manipulated, rather than being nourishment for our bodies and a joyful part of life.

It doesn’t lead to sustained weight loss

Before changing your food habits to shed weight, consider how quickly you propose to lose that weight. A safe rate of weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Any diet promising faster weight loss rates than that is a red flag. Increasingly, some experts, including many dietitians, view any dieting in the traditional sense as extreme, and to be avoided. That reflects a shift to focusing on eating patterns rather than strict adherence to dietary programs. Food is but one factor as exercise, sleep and stress; all affect weight and overall health.

You might be jeopardizing your health

Highly restrictive programs like the keto diet, which slashes carbs and forces your body to burn fat, have drawn much criticism from dietitians. If you follow these extreme diets, they may alter the metabolism, like in the case of the keto diet that mimics starvation. Another worrisome fad is the water fasting, which some people do to reduce weight fast. Consuming only water and just not eating for extended periods of time, like 24 hours or more, can drastically alter metabolism and lead to dangerous drops in blood sugar or blood pressure, heart arrhythmias or loss of consciousness.

You feel exhausted, day and night

Athletes always pay attention to what they eat, when migrating from sensible steps like limiting sugar to drastically cutting caloric intake, especially carbohydrates; they feel absolutely drained and exhausted all the time. But that changes since a shift to a much more sensible approach. They realize that they actually needed much more calories and many more carbohydrates, and a lot more protein, before and after the cross-country races.  Many athletes confess that their best races are possible only after they have eaten more healthy food than when on a starvation diet.

You’re antisocial

Sometimes close adherence to a diet is critical for managing diabetes, and eating out with friends requires more planning. Though healthy dietary changes raise social challenges, when tired and miserable because your body is starved of the nourishment it needs, you may not be in the mood to socialize even if connected with friends and family. For others social isolation is a serious health issue and any changes that make a person more antisocial, can be problematic.

You don’t think straight

Among other symptoms, restrictive and very low-carb diets like keto, can cause confusion or mental fog. It’s not being distracted or befuddled by what you’re supposed to eat that is at issue, either, though that can take up precious mental bandwidth as well, dietitians say. Glucose is the primary fuel source of your brain say nutritionists.  Many doctors are worried that starving the brain of its primary energy source may be harmful in the long term for people who eat the keto diet for medical reasons.

It increases your cravings

The simplest way is like the big red button phenomenon, where the second you tell yourself you can’t have something that is what your body craves for. Not only can unnecessary dietary restrictions fuel an unhealthy relationship with food, when a person does “give in,” it may lead to overeating, experts say. The point, experts say, is to strike a balance: emphasizing things like fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans and nuts, like with the traditional Mediterranean diet, instead of hard-and-fast exclusions.

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