Do Crash Diets Wreck Your Metabolism?
Do Crash Diets Wreck Your Metabolism?
Googling how to lose five kilos in a week? Stop typing. Dietician laura tilt has the lowdown on what really works
Laura Tilt
From calorie counting to swearing off carbs, you’ve probably been there, done that and bought the two-sizes-too-small T-shirt. And yet, here you are again, typing in “best diets for quick weight loss” with the enthusiasm of a jaunty Instagram quote about smashing goals.

But beyond the short-term misery, could crash dieting do long-term damage? In the research world, the closest comparison is the VLCD (very-low-calorie diet), which involves eating 800 calories or fewer per day – usually as a liquid diet shake with added vitamins and minerals. VLCDs are only recommended under medical supervision and for 12 weeks at the most. Spoiler alert: they lead to weight loss – but that’s not all. In a 2016 review by the Obesity Science & Practice journal, researchers reported fatigue, dizziness, cold intolerance and hair loss as key side effects, as well as an inflated risk of developing more serious issues, such as gallstones. Long-term complications can also arise from a lack of basic nutrients.

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May 2020