Those in desperation to shed those unwanted pounds many times turn to fad diets, “magic” weight loss pills or even develop serious eating disorders that are unhealthy and can cause many unwanted side effects such as depression, lack of concentration, or lack of energy. This is because these types of methods do not supply our bodies with the nutrients necessary for them to function properly. Any method that utilizes extreme measures or eliminates a food group can be considered unsafe.
What is Depression and what are the Signs?
Depression is a serious condition and can cause feelings of unworthiness and can produce thoughts of suicide. Because one’s diet and physical condition can contribute to the onset of this condition I want to take a few minutes to discuss signs of depression that you should know about.
You should realize that symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but some things to look out for are: decreasing interest in activities one usually enjoys, overwhelming feelings of sadness or constantly feeling down or hopeless, outbreaks of tears or uncontrollable crying without cause, lack of concentration or focus, irritableness, restlessness or sleeping problems, constant pains and headaches, and displaying feelings of worthlessness or thoughts of suicide. Now, there are many factors that can bring on the onset of depression, but if these signs are accompanied by fast, extreme weight loss chances are an unsafe weight loss method is being used.
Low Calorie Diets
When speaking of low calorie diets I am referring to a diet plan that would suggest consuming far fewer calories than needed to for your body to function properly. For example, if the daily recommended allowance for an individual is 2000 calories and they cut that intake down to 800 calories per day, they probably will lose weight, however many of those unwanted side effects mentioned above will manifest due to under nourishment. While it is unsafe to cut calories to this extreme, watching your calorie intake is important and we will discuss this in further detail later.
While it is true that these types of diets do produce the desired results of losing weight, they prescribe eliminating an important source of nutrients for our bodies and consuming only high in protein and fatty foods. The well known Atkins Diet is one that can be considered a quick fix and has become very popular as it allows people to eat foods that they enjoy, such as loads of bacon, cheese, butter, and lots of red meat, while eliminating carbohydrates found in breads and fruits. Consuming such high levels of fat are correlated with long term obesity, heart problems, diabetes, damage to kidneys, digestive problems, cancer, and other serious health problems and side effects (constipation, bad breath, dizziness, etc). Certainly not a long term solution to healthy weight management!
The other problems with these types of diets are that they often lead to dehydration, low levels of blood glucose, and extremely high and unhealthy cholesterol levels. These attributes cause problems for our mental capacity as well as physical condition. Dramatic decreases in strength have been observed in those prescribing to such low to no-carb diets. This is because our body needs carbohydrates to build strength, endurance and muscle mass, as well as to sustain our cognitive processes and mental health.
It is also important to mention that as with most quick fix diets, once previous eating habits are restored all of the weight lost in many cases is easily regained, putting you right back where you started after possibly doing some serious damage to your body. These types of diets are most certainly temporary, unhealthy solutions that should be avoided.
On the other side of the spectrum we have those that suggest completely eliminating fat from our diet is a good way to lose weight. While low fat intake is recommended for a healthy diet and many Americans consume far too much fat, this does not mean that we should completely eliminate fat from our diets. There are fatty acids and omega 3s that are essential to our health and cognitive abilities. Remember, avoid the extremes and focus on balance and moderation.
Diets that Eliminate a Food Group
Basically, any diet that recommends that you eliminate a food group can be considered unhealthy. For example, if it is suggested that you remove breads and pastas from your diet but it is okay to consume all of the fruit you want steer clear (note this is not the same as no carb diets, as fruits contain carbohydrates). The bottom line is that we need the nutrients supplied through all four of the food groups and elimination of one will cause a nutritional deficiency leaving you susceptible to the unwanted side effects discussed earlier. To reiterate, these types of diets will not help you to maintain your weight at a healthy level for the long term. Weight lost during these periods of dieting is easily and quickly gained back and will keep you jumping from diet to diet, never seeing any lasting results.
We are bombarded by advertisements for fat burning, weight loss, and diet pills that will magically help us shed away unwanted pounds without the need to change our eating habits or in some case exercise. These advertisements appeal to us because let’s face it, the easier the better – if we can do something without any effort, let’s go for it! Everyone is looking for quick fixes for the problems in their lives, especially as it pertains to weight loss. Collectively, we spend millions of dollars a year on such products, but yet the statistics show we are not getting any thinner as a Nation.
The problem with this industry is that they do not always give all of the facts upfront, such as the fact that a healthy diet and exercise program should accompany the use of these weight loss aids. Also, much like the fad diets out there taking diet pills is not a long term solution for healthy weight management and you must be careful not to become dependent upon them.
Many of these products on the market come with a nice list of possible side effects which include: heart burn, sleeplessness, abdominal pain, nervousness, severe mood swings and increased irritability, depression, nausea, and in some cases vomiting. While some of these products may help us to burn fat and shed pounds we have to remember that our main concern should be for our health and well-being, therefore we should be very careful when it comes to using diet pills and it is recommended that you turn to only doctor prescribed or natural methods to increase metabolism and stimulate weight loss rather to than fall prey to the lure of these compelling advertisements.
Remember, some products out there, such as the Two Day Slim Down, are misleading in their advertising practices. This particular product suggest that you can lose up to 12 pounds in 2 days – but what that don’t tell you is that in order for it to work you cannot consume any food or beverages besides water. So while the consumer may think they are getting a great product, they are not aware of what they have to do for it to produce the advertised results. Just like all other quick fixes – no lasting results and the weight lost is quickly regained.
The bottom line is that most of these manufactures are our out there to bring in the big bucks and capitalize on our desires to lose weight the easy way without much concern, if any, for the long term health and well-being of their consumers. They want to keep us coming back for more and make promise after promise constantly preying on our vulnerability.