Is it Bad to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight?

There are a lot of people who live under the misconception that they will lose more calories and fat if they eat less. They take the easy but dangerous way out by reducing their daily intake of food and simply starving themselves. This is where the problem starts. While you are starving yourself, you are in actual forcing your body to store up all the stored fat and reduce its metabolism. The collateral damage caused by these two effects leads to faster weight gain, the moment you begin eating again. Let us try to understand why it is bad to starve yourself to lose weight and why you must stop ill-treating your body immediately.

Why is it Bad to Starve Yourself?

Slower Metabolism
The reason you are overweight is because you are eating more calories in a day than your body needs. However when you are starving yourself you are not giving your body its daily amount of minimum calorie intake. When you look at it this way, both measures are extreme and equally harmful. When your body does not receive its daily requirements, it will shift to the starvation mode. It will begin conserving as many calories as it can. The only bit that will be burned is what the body needs in order to survive and carry out basic functions. Your metabolism will plummet to extreme low levels, making it difficult to lose any weight after a point. You will end up with hardly any weight loss and a lot of weakness. When the metabolism slows down, its activity level decreases by about 45%. This ensures that the weight that you lose is not from stored fats but is because of muscle loss.

Loss of Muscle
Initially, there is a significant amount of weight loss which occurs due to starvation diets. What many people do not realize is that the weight loss is occurring because they are losing muscle. This phenomenon is known as Gluconeogenesis wherein the body is in dire need of energy and is not getting enough supplied to it through external calories. This energy would have under normal situations been extracted from the calories in the food consumed during the day. However since no food is being consumed, the body will look for extracting energy from other sources within the body. The easiest targets are the body muscles which when manipulated produce amino acids. It is this amino acid which the body converts into energy and sustains itself. When you lose the strength of your muscles, you begin to feel weak and a lot more effort needs to be put into seemingly simple tasks.

Loss of Body Water and Low Immunity
When the glycogen supply in the body gets depleted the weight loss observed includes both muscle and essential water loss. This is what creates another recipe for disaster. Since we are mostly water, the weight loss that you observe has very little fat in it and has instead a whole lot of water and muscle. The side effect of this dangerous practice is that the digestive system, the kidneys, and the liver tend to become dehydrated. This can result in many health problems which will take time and treatment. Likewise it is also a known fact, that no treatment is possible without eating proper meals so as to avoid the side effects of the medication being prescribed. The end result will be a weak health, regaining back of all the lost weight and chances of repeated illness due to low immunity. Yes, your immunity will become weaker due to starvation and will not be able to defend the body against common diseases. This means that, you’ll be at a greater risk of falling ill for no major reason, thereby catching cold, fever and minor infections.

Faster Weight Gain
The body stores fat predominantly through the enzyme Lipoprotein Lipase, which is produced in lesser quantity when the body is receiving sufficient food. However when the body goes into starvation mode, more of this enzyme is produced. Thus there are reservoirs of fat waiting to be fed, which means that the moment you begin eating again, the body will store all the calories from the new source of food as stored fat. This is a survival technique the body uses because it feels that the body is starving and contingencies must be created in order to save the body from starvation. The end result being, faster and unhealthier weight gain. This weight gain does not require that you overeat; instead it will utilize the calories from whatever you consume, for storing as fat until its satiated.

The best way to lose weight is to indulge in rigorous exercising routines. All you need to do in order to ensure a steady weight loss is to burn half of the total calories you eat. Eat regular and healthy meals, after which you can burn what your body does not require, through workouts. Do not fall into peer pressure and succumb to fad magazines, because the long term ill effects of starvation are far worse than you realize.

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