Sticking to a diet plan is difficult. One must learn to deal with the continuous assault of irresistible cravings and be content with a healthy but sluggish loss of a pound at the end of each week.
Bring trendy crash diets in the story, with a magical promise of 10 pounds down in 10 days and there is little wonder that we feel tempted to chase them, even if it means starving ourselves or consuming a monotonous diet with minimal nutrition.
Are they all bad and a strict no-no? What about the popular celebrity endorsed ones that are touted as ‘easy and safe to follow’ and had helped them to ‘lose weight fast’? Which ones to try and which ones to skip?
Here is a crash course on the most popular crash diets, and a little know- how of their rules, restrictions and the risks involved so that you make an informed choice and lose weight efficiently and healthily.
What is a crash diet?
Any diet plan that drastically reduces the daily calorie consumption to 700-800 calories and results in losing weight quickly in a short period of time is a crash diet. If someone has an upcoming wedding party to attend or a beach trip to make in next few days, the crash diets may prove effective. However, if you are looking at crash diets as a way to jumpstart your diet plan or as a long term solution to your weight loss woes, you would be disappointed. Crash diets are and should be a temporary fix, as they often pose adverse long term effects on our health.
5 Most Popular Crash Diets
- Lemonade Diet– This one is an old one (also referred to as Master cleanse diet) but still boasts of many believers and followers. Lemonade diet is basically a liquid diet where the dieter must abstain from any solid foods for 10 days and consume “4 cups of salt water each morning, a cup of herbal laxative tea at night and six to 12 glasses throughout the day of the “lemonade” – a concoction you make from fresh lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water”, as per the proponent websites. Fatigue, irritability, digestive troubles and lightheadedness are often encountered.
- Cabbage Soup Diet– If you are fond of cabbage and are looking for a diet that can help you to lose 4-5 kgs in a week, then you may go for the cabbage soup diet. There are many versions, the common thread being consuming 2-3 bowls of cabbage soup (having cabbage, tomato, peppers, mushroom and onions) and following a list of allowed foods on particular days of the week, such as all fruits, except banana on the first day and brown rice on the seventh.
- Xtreme Fat loss Diet– The dieters are put on a 25 day schedule with a 5 day diet cycle that gets repeated five times. They are also required to undergo a strict workout regimen to maintain lean body mass, increase calorie deficit and burn fat rapidly.
- Grapefruit Diet– Cut back on sugar and simple carbs, bulk up on high protein and fat rich food and consume a glass of grapefruit juice before meals. Sounds simple, right? This 12 day very low calorie diet works temporarily but the claims of fat burning enzymes in grapefruit or its cardio-protective benefits are farfetched.
- 7 Day All You can Eat Diet– Here the day to day food selections are restricted to only a few allowed foods that one can consume in any amount on the designated days. For instance, day two is vegetable day, so one can eat as many vegetables they want and nothing else. The takeaway is usually 5-10 pounds in a week.
Dangers of Crash Diet
All crash diets are low in calorie, deficient in vital nutrients and are sure to bring back the lost pounds in no time. The diets are boring, impractical to be maintained on long term and a prescription to muscle loss, emotional disturbances and eating disorders. The drastic drop in weight is more likely to be due to water loss (and rarely substantial fat loss) and massive deficits in calorie consumption. Long term health risks include osteoporosis, liver and kidney disorders, heart problems and severe nutritional deficiencies.
A healthy diet and exercise plan may take a bit longer to show results but are a far better choice than these crash diets, where health risks outweigh the quick results. The goal of any nutrition plan should be to help us embark on the road to better well being; and a slimmer body would be one of the many perks that we shall enjoy on the way.
Written by Panchali Moitra, as published in B Positive Magazine, March 2017