CRASH DI­ETS ARE BAD NEWS FOR YOUR HEART

A study dis­cov­ers a po­ten­tially fa­tal im­pact of ex­treme eat­ing plans.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

Have you ever tried sur­viv­ing on only cel­ery and ap­ples? This is just one of many ex­treme eat­ing plans that pop­u­larise at­trac­tive ben­e­fits like in­stant weight loss, a de­crease in blood pres­sure and re­duced chances of di­a­betes. Yet, what many peo­ple are un­aware of is the pos­si­bly fa­tal im­pact it might have on your most im­por­tant or­gan – the heart.

Crash di­et­ing ba­si­cally puts in­di­vid­u­als on a re­stric­tive eat­ing plan that does not al­low for more than 1,200 calo­ries per day. The plan could last from about a week to a month, mak­ing weight loss a short-term ben­e­fit. So if you are con­sid­er­ing em­bark­ing on any pop­u­lar meal re­place­ment pro­gramme, read this to be aware of what goes on in­side your body dur­ing the du­ra­tion of the diet.

Over at the Univer­sity of Ox­ford, Dr Jen­nifer Rayner leads a team of re­searchers as they probe deeper into the im­pact crash di­et­ing may have on our hearts. The re­sults re­veal that crash di­ets can cause a tran­sient de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in heart func­tion.

They re­cruited 21 obese vol­un­teers with an av­er­age body mass index of 37. The par­tic­i­pants, who were 52 years old on av­er­age, were put on a low-calo­rie diet of 600 to 800 calo­ries per day for eight weeks.

Us­ing mag­netic res­o­nance imag­ing (MRI), the re­searchers stud­ied the heart, ab­domen and liver of the par­tic­i­pants at three points dur­ing the study - the be­gin­ning, af­ter a week and af­ter eight weeks.

The scan re­sults af­ter a week re­vealed that the in­di­vid­u­als had a sig­nif­i­cant drop in their to­tal body, vis­ceral and liver fat. They also had great im­prove­ments in in­sulin re­sis­tance and blood pres­sure.

But here is the shock­ing part – it also showed that the par­tic­i­pants’ heart fat con­tent in­creased by up to 44 per cent. This caused a de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of their heart func­tion which weak­ened the heart’s abil­ity to pump blood. The lead author of the study at­tributes it to the sud­den re­lease of fat from the body that the heart uses as fuel, caus­ing it to be sur­rounded by dan­ger­ous fatty de­posits.

Sur­pris­ingly, the MRI scan con­ducted at the end of the eight weeks re­vealed a marked im­prove­ment in the par­tic­i­pants’ heart fat con­tent and func­tion - show­ing that heart de­te­ri­o­ra­tion dur­ing a crash diet is a tem­po­rary con­se­quence. Nev­er­the­less, the ini­tial in­crease of fat in the heart may be life-threat­en­ing for some in­di­vid­u­als.

If you have ex­ist­ing heart is­sues, it is cru­cial that you con­sult your doc­tor be­fore em­bark­ing on any low-calo­rie diet plan.

In­stead of cut­ting out sev­eral food groups for the sake of weight loss, sus­tain your fat loss in a much health­ier way by stick­ing to a gen­eral 1,600-1,800 calo­ries a day.

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