One of the most popular diet trends followed by people nowadays to lose weight is the ‘starvation diet’. Severe food restrictions with limited portion sizes and low calories are the hallmarks of this kind of diet. Although it is hard to believe, starving your body can actually make it hard to achieve your weight loss goal. Here is all you need to know about Starvation Mode and Weight Loss.
Starvation Mode and Weight Loss
Eating less can have an impact on your metabolism and then your body starts conserving our stored fat. As a result, there are fewer burn-in calories even if you are doing your regular exercise and working. So it is important to avoid starving and stay fed for achieving a successful weight loss.
With almost one- third the population of Americans diagnosed with obesity, it does not come as a surprise to follow this form of dieting. It slows down the internal system of your body making it sense that it would not be fed soon. As a result, the fat stores of the body become the mode of survival. When you begin eating, the natural reaction of your body is to store up in case it again experiences starvation. This can actually lead to weight gain even by eating fewer calories. In addition to this, the starvation period can make you overeat. This is because the body becomes over hungry which makes it harder to control the number of calories you ingest. In this process not only do you gain the lost weight back but also end up gaining more.
Negative effects of Starvation on Health:
- A starvation diet can drop the level of serotonin which is a chemical that creates a peaceful, satisfied and calm feeling. The drop in serotonin levels can make you feel more grouchy and disturbed. This state can leave you to fall for the extra treats and lose motivation towards healthy eating.
- Besides the fact that starvation does not help in long-term weight loss, it leads to muscle loss. The obvious solution for this by most people is to exercise in order to make up for the muscle loss but a body that does not have adequate fuel cannot build muscle.
- The most damaging effect of a starvation diet is malnutrition. The deficiency of essential minerals and vitamins can make you feel tired, depressed, nauseatic, and irritable. Non- consumption of essential nutrients like Vitamin D and potassium can raise blood pressure. It can also have a negative impact on cognitive abilities and lead to chronic depression.
Stages of Starvation:
The starvation diet mainly comprises three stages. Let us take a look at each stage:
The First Stage
This stage involves the maintenance of the blood glucose levels by the glucose production from fats, glycogen, and proteins. The majority of glucose is formed which is to be directly used for energy from the amino acids of proteins.
The Second Stage
This stage can last up to several weeks. For this particular phase, the main source of energy is fats. Towards the end of the week, the brain begins using the ketone bodies in addition to the glucose.
The Third Stage
During this stage, the fat reserves are totally used up and the body switches over to the proteins for energy. The muscles get quickly depleted and the proteins get broken down. In this stage, there is a degradation of cellular functions.
Side Effects of Starvation Mode and Weight Loss
The starvation diet has a huge impact on the immune system of your body. In addition to the weight loss, some systems of this diet includes:
- Susceptibility of diseases
- Massive edema on the abdomen and lower limbs.
- Hair color changes
- Flaky skin
End Stage of Starvation Mode and Weight Loss :
The end-stage usually results in two diseases namely marasmus and kwashiorkor.
- Marasmus is caused due to the extreme deficiency of energy which is often from inadequate protein and calories.
- Kwashiorkor deeply affects children who have a deficiency of protein.
- People can actually die due to starvation which is generally brought on by severe electrolyte imbalances and extreme tissue degradation. All of this results in a heart attack or cardiac arrhythmia.
How to Combat Starvation Mode ?
- Listen to the natural hunger signals of your body. Eat enough to improve your metabolism. Figure out your basic calorie requirements by taking into consideration your current weight, gender, and activity level. It is important to be very realistic regarding the whole weight loss process. Calculate your BMR.
- Avoid overeating by eating regular timely meals. Normal bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, brain function, and temperature regulation are very essential for your survival and if there is a lack of calorie consumption then it can leave you vulnerable to eating in excess and make you feel miserable on a physical as well as psychological level.
- When you ignore the hunger signals, it can lead to feelings of guilt, frustration, and shame that make the entire weight loss process even more difficult. So instead of food deprivation, make sure to eat enough by having three major solid meals and several healthy snacks in between throughout the day.
- To structure your plans more effectively, you can give it a try at time-restricted eating Or Intermittent Fasting. But whatever you do, it is better to avoid starvation and then wind up by finally giving in and overeating. This can make you feel down to the extent that you leave behind the whole idea of taking proper initiatives for your better health.
Most people believe that they lose control of dieting because of a lack of willpower. However, binge-type behavior is actually caused by a biological drive which is a result of drastically cutting calories. The power of your body’s natural signals should never be underestimated. The attempt to lose your body weight by cutting down your food intake and doing exercise can backfire and prove to be counterproductive. Food restriction can alter your brain chemistry and result in an increase in hunger.
Therefore, the best and practical solution to achieve weight loss in the long term is to follow a natural diet regime and make positive disciplined changes in your lifestyle.
precise aricle …very true regarding starvation and wt. Loss .
RD, Payal Banka (Registered Dietitian)
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