Dangers of Dieting

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa (dramatic under eating) and bulimia (vomiting after meals) are especially damaging to health and lead to long-term health problems. Unsustainable dieting techniques produce unsustainable results, so if long-term results are desired, healthy filling foods which are full of valuable nutrition should be eaten, rather than attempting to sharply reduce calorie intake in intervals.

Health Problems

Eating too few nutrients can lead to health problems such as low blood pressure. People on diets may even have difficulty keeping warm and may become lethargic. Dieting can reduce lean tissues in the body, depleting muscle mass along with fat stores. More muscle mass will be lost if the person is sedentary, but if the person is active, they will maintain more lean tissue. The risk of heart disease increases with large weight fluctuations.

Body Weight & Body Fat

Dieters are advised to remember that body weight and body fat are not the same. Muscle mass weighs more than body fat. If a person simply increases their physical activity, they may develop stronger muscles and shed body fat, but their body weight may remain the same. Rapid weight loss is frequently caused by dehydration. The body's first stores of fat are also filled with water, so low calorie dieting often seems to work rapidly at first and taper off.

The dangers of obesity outweigh the issues associated with healthy dieting. The most common diseases caused by obesity are Type 2 Diabetes (adult onset, non insulin dependent), coronary heart disease, and strokes. There are increased risks of cancer of the colon, prostate, uterus, cervix, breasts and ovaries, and diseases such as gall bladder disease, musculoskeletal disorders and respiratory problems. Dieting does not have to be dangerous so long as it is exercised with caution, and the goal is to improve general health rather than simple weight loss.