Whether it’s pressure to get your “summer bod” or to burn off the festive pounds - dieting (restricting calorie intake) is endorsed all year round.
But why is that? Possibly because a large proportion of dieters regain their weight back. Cue the vicious cycle of weight loss and weight gain. So if diets don’t work for weight loss - how else do they impact our health?
Strangely enough, regularly eating less calories than your body needs actually slows your metabolism down (up to 23% 👀). Dialling down your thyroid hormone. This reduction can even continue once you’ve finished your diet. Effectively, making it easier for you to regain the weight you lost.
Restrictive dieting can also reduce levels of hormones: oestrogen and testosterone. This can lead to weaker bones and greater risk of fractures. In women, this may also reduce fertility (alongside reductions in FSH and LH).
Lower levels of the hormone progesterone, alongside reductions in oestrogen, may reduce uptake of serotonin in the brain. Adequate serotonin is essential for many functions, including: mood, sleep, eating and digestion.
If you’re not getting enough calories for your organs to function properly, then you may find they don’t work as optimally. For example, your gut may slow down giving you symptoms such as bloat, constipation or other gut symptoms.
Restricting your calorie intake makes it harder for you to meet your nutritional needs. Particularly if you're cutting out food groups (i.e. GF, keto). Deficiencies can impair your normal bodily functions; including your immune function. Research shows that the immune response is poor when nutrition is compromised.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, you can lose weight safely and sustainably - swipe for some simple tips!