The dangers of dieting
Amongst the most common new year’s resolutions are those pertaining to weight loss. YouTube has so many videos that promise to transform your body into the temple of skinny legs that you have pining for. The fitness fixation and the onslaught of weight loss progress hashtags and pictures on social media is also real.
While some people promise weight loss through exercise, others promise to cut back the pounds through diets. And we all know which of the two options is easier to do.
But what’s wrong with wanting to lose weight?
The concept of perfect figure is entirely subjective, but most people do tend to focus on skinny being the desirable body size. Even if you’re healthy at the weight that you are, you will still want to lose a few kilos to get into the shape that the media has been telling us is more beautiful and desirable.
Unfortunately, this notion of skinny being healthy is entirely misplaced and may even be hazardous for your health, as your physician at Fauji Foundation Hospital will also tell you.
You do not have to be a certain weight on the scale for to be healthy; if the tests that show you are fine, your weight is not the issue; the way you think about it is the problem.
On the other hand, it is entirely possible that people who are skinny are not healthy. For example, fat skinny refers to people with high fat in their body, that poses health risks.
Similarly, skinny people might indulge more in sugar and fatty foods, because they do not have to fear for their weight. But these unhealthy food choices are causing health risks like plaque formation in the bodies. Hence, buying into the narrative of skinny being healthy is dangerous.
Furthermore, being underweight also posits health risks like compromised immunity. Since the sole purpose of dieting is to lose weight, the cost of weight loss needs to be fully understood.
The dangers of dieting
Setting skinny as the standard is just one facet of the problem. Dieting itself is a very problematic notion. It brings with itself a plethora of problems, including:
When you partake in restrictive diets like Keto and Low carb, you endanger your gastrointestinal tract. Essentially, fruits and vegetables also come under the category of carbohydrates, and therefore, you also have to eliminate these from your diet.
That means you have less fiber available to you, which increases the risk of constipation. Similarly, yogurt also becomes off-limits in keto –unless it’s Greek yogurt –which means that you are getting less probiotics, which are bacteria that keep your gut happy.
Our diet also has impact on our endocrine system. So, taking up restrictive diets can pose a danger of there being unwanted hormonal changes. For example, low-carb diet can increase cortisol levels in the body.
Since keeping optimal hormone levels is imperative, the changes therein are very concerning.
When you deprive your body, and especially without making sustainable lifestyle changes, you also increase the risk of developing problematic relationships with food.
Many people who diet are so deprived of their favorite foods that they end up falling off the wagon, into the abyss of binge eating. Thus, the danger of regaining all the weight looms great.
Restrictive diets also pose the great danger of nutrient deficiency. A healthy and wholesome diet provides your body with nutrients that pave way for its better functioning.
When you restrict your diet to few food groups, you then increase the risk for there being a dearth of nutrients. Of course, you can take supplements, but they do not beat the impact and value that good foods bring.
Nutrient deficiency can also then lead to deficiency diseases, meriting the intervention of your General Physician in Karachi. Hence, restrictive diets might not be a good idea.