- Diet & Weight Loss
Risks of Weight-Loss Programs
The promise of fast weight loss is hard to ignore. That's why over $30 million is spent every year in the diet industry.
But rapid and substantial weight loss is usually an illusion. And the programs that claim to deliver often pose unnecessary health risks.
Is Rapid Weight Loss Safe?
Health in the body comes from the right balance of eating and exercise, or ingoing calories verses the outgoing energy. It's a simple formula: eat a nutritious diet and get moving.
Unfortunately, there are many who don't have the patience or desire to take the traditional route. They want visible results in the least amount of time.
Desperation often leads to making bad choices, and weight loss programs are an area where this can easily happen. Ironically, striving too hard for physical beauty can exact a high physical price.
According to experts at Webmd, there are physical effects from trying to lose too many pounds too quickly. They range from troublesome to dangerous and include:
- Hair Loss
- Muscle Loss
- Issues with the bones and heart
Some Popular Weight Loss Methods
There's always a new weight loss program to try. Here are some of the more popular ones and how they work:
Oolong or, as it's sometimes called, Wu long Tea has been touted recently as a healthy way to boost the metabolism and ward off food cravings. Some even claim that it prevents the absorption of carbohydrates, effectively keeping fat from staying in the body.
Caffeine does stimulate the body, slightly increasing the metabolic rate. And polyphenols in the tea that contain antioxidant qualities provide some heart-healthy nutrients.
But there is no conclusive proof that the drinking of tea will cause or aid significantly in weight loss. In fact, drinking the amount of tea per day that is recommended as part of a "diet" plan (up to 3 per day) could bring on sleeping difficulties or jitteriness.
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Sometimes called VLCDs (very low calorie diets), these diets aim for a daily total of between 800 and 1500 calories. Medical professionals prescribe this mainly for people who are facing serious physical problems because of obesity.
Highly restricted caloric intake over a period of time, especially without adding in needed vitamin supplements, sends the body into "starvation mode". While this may sound like an effective way to burn fat, it will eventually mean greater storage of calories that do enter the body, and an inability to lose weight.
Over-the-counter pills and shakes replace a regular meal, or a few throughout the day. They contain a combination of appetite suppressants and stimulants.
Benetol is a popular product that claims to reduce appetite, block fat metabolism, and help improve digestion. It contains herbs and caffeine.
Studies about the weight loss value of Benetol have not been conclusive, and the medical community has raised concerns about the combination of its ingredients. Bitter Orange in particular, has brought on dizziness, fainting and even high blood pressure on occasion.
SlimFast, Herbalife, Sensa - these brands and more make claims that substituting one or two meals with their product will help people reach their ideal weight.
The Master Cleanse is a variation on this idea, and is promoted as a good step for weight loss and overall health.
While drinking a shake instead of taking in a full meal will cut the daily calorie count, important vitamins and minerals will also be left out. Plus, one serving may not be enough to satisfy hunger - and too much snacking will ultimately derail a diet plan.
The fat-burning or metabolism increasing properties of a certain food is emphasized in the program.
The 7-day Cabbage Soup Diet is built around one recipe. The soup is eaten every day, with various foods added in over the time period. Many people have testified to successfully loosing weight with this plan.
However, there are major concerns about what is lacking nutritionally. The recipe can have a high sodium content. Essential proteins are missing from several days' menus. Plus, the monotony of eating the same soup, even with some variations, can actually trigger more cravings for "forbidden" foods.
A Healthy Approach To Losing Weight
It is always wise to check with a doctor before starting any weight loss regimen, most especially if it's of the quick-loss variety.
And be aware - while none of these programs are necessarily harmful in the short term, the weight lost on them usually comes right back on afterwards.
The safest and most guaranteed diet to stay on long-term is one that is balanced nutritionally, and takes into account an individual body's medical concerns and special needs.
Address the nutritional concerns of a rapid weight loss method by adding in extra food during to a daily menu:
- A couple 1/2 cup servings of carrots or steamed broccoli would add vitamins without a lot of calories.
- Brown rice or whole grain bread may be a carb, but incorporating a 2/3 cup helping or one slice could even out blood sugar levels and help prevent cravings.
- Just one small handful of almonds provides some of the protein the body needs to hold off fatigue and keep the internal systems running smoothly.