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Extreme Diets are not a great strategy

This week I wanted to dig deep into Extreme low carb diets and how the body cant tell the difference between Dieting & Starvation! Hope this info helps you not feel that you need to follow low calorie restricted diets and that eating to burn fat and build muscle should be your goal!

During long periods of starvation, your body slowly feeds off itself for energy, burning through fat stores, then muscle and eventually vital organs. If you continued to burn calories at your normal or higher than normal rate while your food intake fell far below normal, you would quickly exhaust your reserves of stored energy and die soon after your food supply was cut off. Your body’s starvation response keeps you alive longer.

When your body senses calorie deprivation (as some people try to diet with chicken/fish and veggies alone and live off 5-25g or less carbs per day), your survival responses kick in, even though a diet is not a life or death situation. Your body tells itself, “It looks like this is all the food you’re getting for a while, so you’d better stop burning so many calories, start conserving your energy, and increase the drive for finding food.” The longer this happens the more your body and brain begin to slow down the rate of metabolism and the rate at which you ultimately can build muscle or burn body-fat.

The negative side effects of very low-calorie dieting include increases in hunger and food-seeking behaviours, drops in energy or activity level, loss of lean body mass, decreases in metabolic rate, and problems with hormones like hair loss and deficiencies.

Because of this Im going to provide you with the 10 Reasons To Avoid Extreme Low-Calorie Diets! Be sure to share this info with anyone you know how may benefit.

1. EXTREME DIETS INCREASE HUNGER AND FOOD CRAVINGS:

It’s almost impossible to stay on a diet when you’re battling voracious hunger and all you can think about is food. The urge to eat can also be psychological or environmental. You tend to want what you can’t have, so if your diet is too low in calories or it sets too many rules about what you can’t eat, the feeling of deprivation triggers cravings and binges. It’s worse when you’re surrounded by temptations and eating cues all day long.

2. EXTREME DIETS SLOW DOWN YOUR METABOLIC RATE:

Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn at rest every day. When you lose a lot of weight, you burn fewer calories simply because you have a smaller body. But calorie restriction causes your metabolic rate to decrease even more than a drop in body weight would predict. This is known as “adaptive thermogenesis” and it’s one of the reasons why progress slows over time and why it’s harder for most people to lose those last stubborn 10 to 15 pounds

3. EXTREME DIETS MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF MUSCLE LOSS:

Since muscle burns calories and muscle is extra weight you have to lug around, getting rid of it is an easy way for your body to burn less. Lean people who already have low body fat are more likely to lose muscle than overweight people, but it can happen to anyone. Dieting without resistance training can cause 30 percent to 50 percent of your weight loss to come from lean tissue. The risk of muscle loss or catabolism is higher when most typical female diets /meal plans don’t even have .7-1g p/pound of protein per bodyweight!

4. EXTREME DIETS DECREASE NON-EXERCISE ACTIVITY THERMOGENESIS

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, also known as NEAT, is the scientific name for all your physical activity throughout the day, excluding formal exercise. Basic examples of NEAT are:  casual walking, shopping, yard work, housework, standing, pacing, and even little things like chewing, changing posture, and fidgeting. Over timeStudies by Dr. James A. Levine at the Mayo Clinic found that when you cut calories, your NEAT level drops. Many people already know that low-calorie diets make them lethargic. Unless you consciously counter this tendency by keeping yourself active, your weight loss will slow down automatically as you keep dieting.

5. EXTREME DIETS DECREASE YOUR ENERGY AND WORK CAPACITY:

As a general rule, low-calorie diets are not conducive to good workouts or an active lifestyle. One of the first signs of undernutrition is loss of energy and the ability to sustain intense training. Without enough fuel coming in, you’ll fatigue faster, your strength will suffer, your performance will plummet, and your results will be compromised. When people hardly eat to lose fat they can hardly train and thats not positive for you!

6 EXTREME DIETS DECREASE THYROID HORMONES:

Since thyroid levels help regulate your metabolic rate, maintaining thyroid function is important for successful fat loss as well as overall health. Endocrinologists have measured reductions in triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels as quickly as one week after starting a very low-calorie diet, even before there is a decrease in body weight.  You need that calorie deficit to burn fat, but cutting calories too far—especially when you slash the carbohydrates too low— can wreak havoc with the very hormones you need working at peak efficiency.

7. EXTREME DIETING DECREASE THE HORMONE LEPTIN:

Leptin is a hormone produced  primarily in your fat cells that also plays a major role in regulating metabolism and body weight. Leptin is the hormone that says “its ok to stop eating we are full”. If food intake or body fat stores go down, your leptin levels drop. When leptin is low, it signals your brain that body fat reserves are declining and starvation is impending. This is why leptin is often called the “anti-starvation hormone,” and it may be the hormone that triggers the entire cascade of starvation responses, from increased hunger to reduced metabolism.

8. EXTREME DIETS INCREASE THE STRESS HORMONE CORTISOL:

Cortisol is a catabolic (muscle-wasting) hormone produced by your adrenal glands in response to various types of physical and mental stress, including dieting. Research has shown that cortisol is inversely related to calorie levels.  If starvation dieting and other stressors are causing a hormonal imbalance, you need to address those issues rather than trying to treat the symptoms.

9. EXTREME DIETS DECREASE TESTOSTERONE:

Testosterone also takes a hit when you cut calories too much. This makes perfect sense from an evolutionary point of view because if you can’t even feed yourself, you’re in no condition to bear and feed offspring, are you? In a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology, Army Rangers who were fed only 1,000 calories a day under conditions of stress, sustained wor kload, and inadequate sleep experienced a drop in testosterone that approached castration levels. research says that a conservative calorie cut of 20 percent below maintenance level won’t affect testosterone.

10. EXTREME DIETS INCREASE THE CHANGE OF WEIGHT GAIN:

Almost everyone loses weight at the beginning, but later on, when the weight loss slows down and th e hunger pangs intensify, most people give up. Even worse, they end their diet with a binge. This up-and-down pattern of weight loss and regain is known as weight cycling, and many people suffer through this for years or even their entire lifetime. Not only is it unhealthy, but with each cycle your metabolism becomes less efficient and you may actually get fatter more easily while eating less food than before.

Remember extreme dieting happens all the time, its not just when when people begin fitness programs but this happens all the time when people eat poorly over a holiday and then goes 2-3 weeks eating not carbs and trying to cut weight fast.

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Dimitri Giankoulas

About Dimitri Giankoulas

Fascinated since an early age by the potential of the human body, I have devoted my career and much of my private life to pushing beyond my own limits – and to lead others to personal health achievements greater than they thought possible. My level of commitment to each and every client is unparalleled in the industry. I try to bring energy, optimism, and pure motivational power to every one of his workout sessions. I have been in the fitness industry since 1997, working as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and ultimately Personal Training Director at various well-known gyms across the GTA. Combined I have over 11,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience.