Why Crash Diets Fail in Long Run

If Beyonce can lose weight on Master Cleanse, a liquid diet of cayenne pepper, maple syrup and water for ten days, wouldn’t it work for you? Crash diets or starving to lose weight, the open secret of the celebrities and models is counterproductive in the long run. Find the true story. 

Topping the list of New Year resolutions, weight loss figures on almost everyone’s list of must-do tasks. Such fierce is the desire to lose excess weight that the dieters are willing to resort to go under the knife to staple their stomachs for permanent weight loss. The less courageous ones resort to extreme calorie restriction by starving themselves to shed the extra weight. What they don’t know that by denying food they risk getting fatter in the long run?


 When you completely ban a food item during  extreme diet, the large chunk of weight loss comes from muscle and water. Mostly, such diets ban carbohydrates, as  a result you lose a lot of water weight. How? For every carb gram you consume, your body attaches four grams of water to it. Shun carbs and you lose a lot of water weight. But, it’s temporary and you are going to gain back the kilos immediately as you resort to your normal diet.


Glucose is the energy currency for the body, more so for the brain. Your liver stores enough glycogen (longer chain version of glucose) to last for just one day. After 24 hours of fast, your body will turn to muscle for energy. Therefore, at the end of starvation diets, your body loses lean muscle mass and water. In fact, if you diet without exercising, of every pound you lose, 25 percent is lean body mass, warns the American Council on Exercise,  which is counterproductive because losing lean muscle mass slows your metabolism.

As a result, your body spends lesser calories to carry its regular functions. Hence, when you resort to your pre-diet calorie level, the extra calories get stored as fat. Studies by Columbia University show this metabolic slowdown can mean that just to maintain a stable weight, people must eat around 400 fewer calories a day post-diet than before dieting.


British researchers have run a two-year-long study, reported in The New England Journal of Medicine on 50 obese men and women. Initially, the dieters survived on the bare minimum 500-550 calories, for eight weeks. They lost 30 pounds (13kg 607g) by the end of eight weeks. For two years, the dieters were coached to resort to healthy eating behaviour. However, the average weight gain in this group was 11 pounds (approx. 5 kg)

The researchers found that the volunteers’ hormones had gone erratic and it behaved as if they were starving and in serious need for calorie surplus. Their level of ghrelin, appetite stimulating hormone was 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Meanwhile, their levels of an appetite suppressing hormone, peptide YY, were unusually low. Furthermore, levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and raises the metabolic rate, also remained lower than expected.

Think sensibly, any diet plan that claims to lose weight in a month is a scam. Did you gain weight in a day? Therefore, eat prudently and resistance train to build muscle, a metabolically active tissue to lose weight. Keep realistic goals of weight loss which should not be more than a pound in a week or 2 kilos in a month for permanent weight loss.