Your Body on a Crash Diet, by Montana Maxwell

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Your Body on a Crash Diet
by IFA Intern Montana Maxwell


What is a Crash Diet?

Most crash diets are 3-10 days and consist of only consuming one type of food/drink or one type of food/drink paired with a low calorie diet (800-1,000 calories/day)

  • Juice cleanse/detox
  • Cabbage soup diet
  • Grapefruit diet
  • Chicken soup diet

What Happens:

Immediate “Results”

Immediate success during a crash diet is usually just an illusion due to excessive loss of water weight. You may be feeling like you are getting quick results, but notice how much you are using the restroom, especially with juice diets. It is important to know that this is not body fat that is being shed, but just some extra water that your body was holding.

Crazy Blood Sugar

Blood sugar goes totally nuts during any extreme restriction of macronutrients (especially during a juice cleanse.) Because there is no steady supply of nutrients throughout the day, blood sugar tends to spike high when the body is fed and drop quickly afterwards. These high and low spikes will lead to low energy throughout the day as well as hunger and cravings.

Loss in Muscle Mass

During calorie depletion, the body uses whatever it can for fuel. Despite popular belief, the body needs protein to break down fat efficiently. Without adequate protein intake, the body begins to use muscle protein as fuel. This leads to muscle loss.

Fun fact: having a higher muscle concentration actually boosts the metabolism to burn more calories throughout the day!

Rapid Weight Gain

Research shows that 65% of crash dieters gain all their weight back within 3 years after a crash diet. Only 5% of crash dieters maintain their post diet weight (usually due to adopting a healthy lifestyle and nutritious diet). Most people go back to their unhealthy ways following a crash diet. A few days to a week is not enough for there to be a drastic change in the body. The only way to consistently keep body fat off is through a good diet and exercise plan.

Brain Blues

We all know the stereotype of the grumpy dieter. Well this exists because it is true. Our brain actually runs on glucose and fat. Ignoring these nutrients in the diet results in slow brain function and a feeling of foggy headedness. Feeling slow and tired all the time can make people feel depressed.

What Now?

The purpose of crash diets are to lose weight fast, which as you just read doesn’t really work. So next time you have a wedding you want to look good for or a high school reunion just take a little time to plan ahead, I promise it will be worth it!

Instead of reaching for the juicer, download an app to track your macronutrients and your calorie intake. MyFitnessPal and MyMacros+ are both good ones. You can input your average amount of exercise and goal weight and it will spit out the amount you should be eating through the day. Give it about three months of consistent tracking and you will see results. This is a healthy and consistent way to “diet” and continue to eat good foods!