Crash dieting can do long-term health damage, new study shows
Crash dieting, or severely reducing the number of calories you eat in a day for short bursts in an attempt to quickly lose weight, may get you results, but unfortunately, these come with a cost.
Now, new study presented at the American Physiological Society’s Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Diseases: Sex-Specific Implications for Physiology Conference provides further proof that crash diets are harmful in the long run.
Researchers from Georgetown University conducted the study and restricted the diets of female rats.
The rats had their diet reduced by 60 percent, similar to a crash diet where people limit their caloric intake to 800 calories a day from the daily recommended amount of 2000.
Within just three days, the researchers noticed changes in the rats. Body weight was reduced and the rats’ cycling, similar to a female’s menstrual cycle, temporarily stopped.
The researchers also observed blood pressure drops, decreased heart rates, and reduced kidney function in the rats. After the rats returned to their normal diet, cycling was restored and blood pressure, weight, and heart rate all returned back to normal.
However, those rats that had been given the reduced calorie diet showed abnormal abdominal weight gain after three months.
“Even more troubling was the finding that angiotensin II, a hormone in the body, was more potent at increasing blood pressure in the rats that were on the reduced-calorie diet,” said Aline the first author of the study.
The study confirms the damage that crash dieting can do on people’s health even months after the diet itself.