Even though fad diets and fasting, eating very little food, may sometimes result in weight loss, this is a short-term solution that is very dangerous. After all, the reason that we have an obesity epidemic is because fasting and diets do not work in the long-term. It takes hard work to lose weight and be fit!

The key to achieving your weight loss goals is to focus on building healthy habits and making your meals balanced and nutritious. You also want to develop a regular exercise routine that includes both strength training and cardio. Here are 6 reasons why the risks of fasting far outweigh any of its benefits:

#1: You Will Lose Muscle Mass

You will lose weight by dramatically cutting calories but it will also cause all kinds of health problems. When you fast, your body goes into conservation mode and breaks down a mix of both fat and muscle to get the fuel it needs. Muscle is important since it helps your metabolism to burn calories faster.

Your muscles require more calories than fat to be maintained so the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. As a result, losing muscle is never a good idea if you want to lose weight long-term. Instead, focus on doing strength training to increase muscle mass and achieve your fitness goals.

#2: You Will Lose Mostly Water

Most of the initial weight lost due to fasting is primarily “water weight” and not fat. However, your body needs water to burn calories it intakes through eating. When you fast you lose water and slow down your metabolism. This is the main reason why after fasting any lost weight usually comes back quickly. 

Instead, to lose weight focus on drinking at least 8 glasses of cold water a day. Studies have shown that drinking a glass of water before a meal increase your resting metabolism by up to 30%. This calorie-burning effect is even greater if you drink cold water since your body will use its energy to heat it up.

#3: It Will Slow Your Metabolism

Your metabolism converts what you eat and drink into energy. Even when you are at rest your body needs energy for all its functions including breathing, repairing cells, circulating blood, and adjusting hormone levels. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate or metabolism. When it comes to weight loss, this is your superpower!

So to do anything that will slow down your metabolism is never a good idea. Unfortunately, when you eat less food than your body needs to function, your body goes into starvation mode. To save energy, your metabolism slows down and any energy that is not burned is stored as fat. This is why when you are done fasting and you go back to your usual diet, you regain the weight you lost, and then some.

#4: Has Dangerous Side Effects

There are many side effects to fasting including dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and low blood sugar. It also causes vitamin and mineral deficiencies, diarrhea, and muscle breakdown. The longer you fast the more severe the side effects are including anemia, kidney and liver damage and an irregular heartbeat.

The reality is that short-term wins on fad diets and fasting almost always fade away. However, the long-term consequences are there to stay. Fasting not only damages the immune system but negatively affects many of the body’s organs and interferes with vital bodily function. It can even result in death.

#5: Leads to Nutrient Deficiencies

Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food to stay healthy. If you fast, you may miss out on essential nutrients. This is because eating less calories will make it harder to meet your nutritional needs. Fasting is especially dangerous for kids and teens since they are growing rapidly.

A nutritional deficiency occurs when your body does not absorb or get from food the necessary amount of a nutrients it needs. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems including digestion problems, skin disorders, and stunted or defective bone growth.

#6: Can Cause an Eating Disorder

While fasting may lead to short-term weight loss, it can also be a downward spiral to eating disorders. In fact, many studies show that fasting is one of the major precursors to developing an eating disorder. According to psychologist Louise Adams, “we know clinically that restriction leads to overeating.”

Studies also show that teenagers who diet, skip meals, and otherwise reduce caloric intake are more likely to develop an eating disorder and to be overweight than their non-dieting peers. The most common eating disorders among adolescents are anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder.

Focus on Building Healthy Habits

Most people that start a fad diet or begin fasting struggle to stick with it for a prolonged period. Fad diets don’t work simply because we need to be able to continue the changes we make for the rest of our lives. There are also many dangerous side effects to fasting that far outweigh any of its benefits.

Experts agree that to successfully lose weight long-term you have to focus on building healthy eating and exercise habits as early as possible. Being fit is all about learning balance and consistency while having the right guidance and support to be successful. At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give kids and teens (ages 8-18) the tools to transform their lives and build healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

By combining nutrition, group support, and exercise classes, we provide a complete solution that empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals. We are driven by a strong belief that all children deserve the opportunity to realize their full potential. Let us help your teen become an amazing version of themselves and schedule your free class today. Thank you for visiting us!

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