The risks of Low-Calorie Diets

A low-calorie diet can help you lose weight. And they tend to be fast diets. But they have important counter indications. The first is that hunger, which will undoubtedly happen, can create anxiety. If you want to know the risks of making a hypocaloric diet, read on.

To analyze the diet, let’s take as reference the basic energy needs that are needed:

  • A man of normal size (around 80-90 kilos and 1.70 to 1.80 cm high) requires between 2,000 and 2,500 calories every day.
  • A woman of medium size (around 55 to 65 kilos and from 1.55 to 1.65 in height) your daily caloric requirement is 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day.

A low-calorie diet is below these daily requirements.

There are even very effective 500 calorie diets (for a single day), but in this case, we are already talking about a “very low calorie” diet. 500-800 calorie diets are only recommended for people who are very obese, with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30. But given the risks presented by these diets, anyone who wants to do them must be controlled by a doctor.

Dangers of a low-calorie diet

If you want to lose more weight and prolong a low-calorie diet longer, you must first know the risks associated with it.

  • A hypocaloric diet has nutritional deficiencies
  • In a diet of 500 calories, let’s say the extreme case, it is necessary to eliminate most fats and carbohydrates.
  • If you eliminate these nutrients you can develop digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea.
  • By eliminating carbohydrates and fats you lower the nutrients that provide more energy, and therefore the more caloric ones. This can lead to dizziness, a lack of concentration and feeling fatigue.
  • If you also limit the protein, this can lead to weaker hair and nails, lose muscle mass and ruin your skin.
  • A diet low in calories can cause eating disorders.
  • A diet of 500 to 800 calories prolonged over time can result in a person developing an eating disorder.
  • Since we are talking about an unbalanced diet, a person who ingests only 500 calories can develop habits such as those observed in bulimia and anorexia.

A hypocaloric diet can cause ketosis. In a diet low in calories, by the elimination of carbohydrates, a process called Ketosis is triggered. When your body recognizes that it is not getting the nutrients it needs, it starts using the stored fats to compensate for the energy it does not eat. In fact, this is the basis of most diets: spend more than you eat. If carbohydrates, the basis of protein diets, are completely eliminated, for example, ketosis develops. In this state, the body uses fat as a source of energy and it is true that it allows to lose fat and weight quickly, but if it is sustained over time it can lead to kidney stones, constipation, dizziness, etc. Ketosis can usually be detected through a simple urinalysis. Other symptoms that it produces are bad breath, dull skin, and fatigue.

People who should not do a low-calorie diet

There are some people who should not do a very low-calorie diet:

  • People with kidney problems
  • Pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant
  • Women who breastfeed
  • People with stomach or intestinal problems
  • Children under the age of 18 (unless supervised by a pediatrician)
  • Adults over 50 (unless supervised by a doctor)
  • People with heart problems
  • People with low blood pressure
  • People with anemia.

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