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Common Side Effects of Long Term Dieting

Common Side Effects of Long Term Dieting
in Nutrition and Dietetics

Apr 19, 2022

Dieting is a practice of eating food in a regulated and supervised way to decrease, maintain, or increase body weight. It is conscious control or restriction of the diet. A restricted diet is often used by those who are overweight or obese. Dieting in a healthy way is always beneficial, but many people relying on fad diets that promise quick fixes that gives lots of negative impact on their health.

Common Side Effects of Dieting:-

  • Nutrient Deficiencies: – Severe diet restriction leads to many nutrient deficiencies such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (especially vitamin A, D, E, & K) and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, etc. These are essential food groups and their absence in the diet can be the cause of numerous deficiency diseases.
  • Slow metabolism: – When dieting consists of a drastic decrease in calorie intake it can lead to slow metabolism in the body. The body goes into self preservation or starvation mode as soon as it realizes that  it is not getting enough calories. The body metabolism slows down in order to conserve energy, which means body can still store fat but also use muscle mass for energy. A slowed metabolism leads to a slow weight loss with some body fat level but less muscle.

Side Effects of Dieting

  • Altered Mood: – Severe dieting does not provide appropriate quantity of food in our body. This can affect our mood because of hormonal changes and a lower level of blood sugar. When very less energy being consumed, the body feels more tired and can be in a bad mood.
  • Headache: – Another side effect of unsafe, rapid weight loss is frequent headaches. It is advised that you eat a regular meal, drink plenty of water before and after exercise and prevent headaches.
  • Constipation: – It is simply the state of having irregular bowel movement and is very common with severe dieting. It is advised that you increase the fibre intake in such cases as green leafy vegetables, green vegetables and fruits, and plenty of water intake is very effective in this condition.
  • Gallstones: – It is a serious side effect of low calorie diet. When the body loses weight too quickly, the liver starts to secrete extra cholesterol. This can lead to enough cholesterol in the bile also causing gallstones. Gallstones may cause pain in the upper abdomen, back and can also cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, indigestion, heart burn and severe gas.
  • Menstrual Problems: – Severe dieting may lead to rapid weight loss that can force the female body to start shutting down all the non essential survival functions. It can adversely affect the menstrual cycles also.

There are many ways to lose weight very fast but these are not healthy and lead to lots of complications. Eating a healthy and well balanced diet under guidance of a Dietician/Nutritionist is key for healthy weight loss without any side effects.

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