Dieting May Be Health Hazard

Sunday 18th April 2010

New research shows that dieting could be hazardous to health and may even increase your risk of developing serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. Researchers at California University and Minnesota University, found that people who limited their daily calorific intake to 1,200 calories or less were more likely to experience stress, put on weight and suffer damage to their mental health. The researchers hope that their findings will improve the eating habits of slimmers and may even affect the way in which doctors and other medical professionals advise patients who need to lose weight.

Researchers came to their conclusions by studying the health of 121 women who were put on a 1,200 calorie a day diet for three weeks. The researchers found that the participants produced an increased amount of the stress level cortisol. Researchers believe that the body may naturally produce more cortisol when dieting in order to increase energy levels. However, the discovery has sparked alarm as the stress hormone and chronic stress has been linked to serious conditions including diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Researchers also interviewed the female participants and found that counting calories and worrying about weight loss led to the women feeling under increased psychological stress. Researchers are now concerned that this could act to increase the risk of developing depression and other mental health problems.

Catherine Collins, chief dietician at St. George's Hospital, London, agrees that a daily diet of 1,200 calories is potentially damaging, saying "Very low calorie diets do cause problems" and advises that slimmers stick to 1.500 - 1,800 calories per day in order to produce lower levels of the stress hormone. It is hoped that the research, published in the journal Psychomatic Medicine, will encourage slimmers to think twice about cutting calories. The research co-incides with a study that shows that eating normally combined with exercising results in more effective weight loss than dramatically reducing calories.

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