Low-Calorie diet – is it safe?

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low calorie diet

These days making one lose weight is a huge market. We see various meal replacement options, diet plans, intermittent fasting, and exercise plans to do so. Some even advertise for target-based fat loss. Unfortunately, since many of us want to control weight, we quickly believe these gimmicks without going in-depth about various factors which actually may be counterproductive. We have covered various other aspects of healthy weight loss. Today let us understand why a low-calorie diet is unsafe! Once you understand the scientific logic behind this, you will adopt the plans intelligently.

What happens in our guts with a low-calorie diet?

When we consume a low-calorie diet, bacteria in our gut absorb more sugar molecules as a way to survive. This creates an imbalance within the gut leading to the growth of harmful bacteria strains. At times certain bacteria cause diarrhea and colitis (a type of inflammation of the inner lining of the intestines and colon). This bacteria growth turns chronic responding a little to even a regular treatment once symptoms start. Problems like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), frequent cramps, weak muscles (core) are among various long-term symptoms not responding to any medication. 

The quality of food we eat is directly responsible for our gut health. A balanced diet leads to the healthy growth of the gut microbiome where the dependency on sugar doesn’t exist. This is simply because our system receives sufficient calories to run the show.

How to be calorie deficient?

The diet plans and meal replacement shakes consumed extensively to bring down the intake of calories cause a larger deficient, which is completely unhealthy. As explained above, once we destroy our gut health, our complete system adopts the change in a different way. By eating extremely less, eating a low-calorie diet or meal replacement leading to less than 80% of the total calorie required as per one’s profile is dangerous. Hence our calorie deficient should not be more than 15 to 20%. You may not calculate on daily basis but can do it weekly to calculate calorie deficiency.

A more healthy way to become calorie deficient is to eat normally but increase physical activity leading to more calories being consumed. Weight loss is more effective in the long term if being calorie deficient is critically planned.

Weight regain after one stops the low-calorie diet

Some stop carbohydrates completely and start taking meal replacements or other low-calorie diets along with an increase in physical activity so that their calorie deficiency increases. Thus there is a quick weight loss. Let us understand what is happening here. You lose weight quickly due to these low-calorie plans which cannot become regular in life, hence one tends to regain the weight back, once the plan is stopped or diluted. So when weight is put on back after a more sustainable calorie intake, these kilograms are not coming back the same way as lost. When you lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle mass. But when you put on the weight back, it is mainly in the form of fats. If one is having multiple episodes of weight loss and weight gain, body composition becomes unhealthy and even dangerous. There is more visceral fat deposit than subcutaneous fat. 

The danger in such a situation depends on various factors such as age, gender, physical activity, weight, physical appearance, hereditary allowance, etc. Hence, the healthy way to lose weight is to spend some time and calculate your daily calorie requirement and then create a calorie deficiency accordingly. 

Take-home message

Consume enough calories throughout the day so that you fuel your active lifestyle and make it a normal day rather than doing crash diets. This will not only lead to a healthy gut bacteria colony but also help one retain muscle mass. A low-calorie diet could destroy the benefits you want to have with correct BMI and healthy weight. 

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