Sometimes we do diets that are recommended to us by our relatives or friends, and we may be making a big mistake because it is a potentially dangerous diet that may cause long-term health problems. These are the keys that will help you recognize them from the beginning.
When dieting, it is very important to put yourself in the hands of a professional to develop a personalized plan depending on your personal characteristics (age, sex, medical history) and metabolism as these factors affect your daily calorie needs [source]. But if you decide to diet on your own, there are some things to know before making any diet that can be detrimental to your health.
Most times people go on a diet, by testing any diet that someone close has recommended or found on the internet, and this is a mistake. There are diets that work, yes, but the ideal is to follow a diet that suits us. However, we will describe what are the characteristics of diets that are harmful to health, so that we may recognize them before trying them.
How to identify a dangerous diet?
1- Diets that promise weight loss very quickly
A normal person following a healthy diet, will lose between 1 and 2 pounds per week. If it is too restrictive, with the goal of losing weight very fast and you have to consume less than 1200 calories a day (even 1800 calorie for large frame persons), well it is an unhealthy diet. The so large caloric restrictions, decrease metabolism causing the body instead of burning calories try to store as much fat as possible as a defense mechanism. Another consequence of these diets is that by not giving the body the nutrients it needs, it will start to self consume muscle mass as a resource for amino acids and when we finish the diet, we have only lost muscle mass and slow our metabolism. As we leave the diet and return to our normal food intake, our body now needs less energy to live, as it has less muscle mass, it begins to store more fat, making recover soon lost weight and even finish with some more extra pounds.
2- Diets that are only suitable for people that got bariatic surgery
There are the people who have undergone a bariatric surgery to decrease stomach capacity to which they put a special nutritional plan for non – missing nutrients despite greatly reduce intake to which they were used to. These patients can lose about 6 pounds a week, but being supervised by a nutrition professional. These people do not fall within people who make a diet at their own risk as this is the case we are dealing with. Therefore, you cannot follow such diets.
3- Diets that rely heavily on nutritional supplements
If it is not a healthy diet that includes all food groups and conversely a diet where we must eliminate meals for nutritional supplements or shakes, it is not a healthy diet. Protein diets based protein shakes supervised by a nutritionist, do not fall within this group, as the dietitian will be monitoring you so that your body does not suffer from nutrient deficits. So, you should never follow such diets without getting monitored by a doctor. Moreover, many studies have shown that the body best absorbs vitamins and minerals from foods better than nutritional supplements.
4- Diets that eliminate any of the food groups
In a balanced diet, all food groups must be present. The ideal is learning to keep a proper nutritional plan for life so you do not recover the weight later. Once you complete the diet and achieve the desired weight, the idea is to increase slightly the amount, but not leave the eating style that you have adopted during the diet. If you remove or restrict any food group permanently, you will be causing deficit of some nutrient and that is not advisable. In addition, such diets are usually to hard to follow, which increase the chances of giving up before achieving your goal.
5- Diets that claim to provide surprising results
Many of these miracle diets, are based on surprising results and use the discovery of a secret or an incredible ingredient that is will be the “key” of losing weight. Well, this is always a hoax. In addition, some of these diets, use the image of a famous person, saying he was subjected to such a diet and in most cases it is false. Also, sometimes, they captivate our attention by criticizing the scientific community using arguments like “what doctors do not want you to know” or “what doctors still do not know”. Diets that are not based on some scientific evidences are most likely dangerous to our health.