Checking Up: Incorrectly dieting can be dangerous

Morgan Profumo

Morgan Profumo

We have all heard of the countless diet plans, pills, surgeries and lifestyles that are “proven” to provide us with our ideal body. We alter our lives in order to abide by these impossible guidelines set for us by society. Everyone wants to have the, supposedly, perfect body. We all strive to look a certain way, but putting your body through extreme measures in order to obtain a “picture-perfect” physique can damage your health. There are numerous methods and advice that will help us shed the pounds we don’t want, but are these methods actually beneficial?

You may have heard that when you eat less, or even stop eating all together, your body has no choice but to burn the calories and excess body fat that it already has. Although this form of weight loss is temporarily effective, it is important to understand the toll that skipping meals takes on your body. When you eat a normal diet, your body uses glucose, a sugar, as a form of energy. When you fail to eat, the glucose that is stored within your body is consumed, which results in a decrease in energy. After a prolonged period of not eating, the glucose is used up entirely. Your body will turn to other sources, such as proteins and carbohydrates, in order to provide you with energy. 

According to Center for Young Women’s Health, failure to eat can affect almost every part of your body. Your heart muscles can shrink, which can cause irregular heartbeat and circulation problems. You may also feel dizzy after skipping a meal due to the fact that your blood pressure is low. Skipping meals can also lead to eating disorders. If you feel that you may have, or are currently struggling with an eating disorder, I urge you to contact the Counseling and Testing center in Potter Hall, room 409. They can provide you with the counseling and support to  begin bettering your health.

Another common misconception is that all foods should be avoided at night. 

Fortunately for us, calories don’t wear watches. Food does not magically produce more fat at night. This misunderstanding stems from the fact that most people become inactive later in the evening. If you do eat at night, you should be sure that you are able to maintain some sort of physical activity after eating because this will allow the calories you consume to be partially used up. 

According to the Medical News Today’s Knowledge Center, a calorie is a unit of energy. The energy that our body uses is measured in calories. For example, if you eat a banana, which is about 100 calories, and then go on a one-mile walk, you will burn 113 calories. The amount of calories that you have burned is greater than the amount that you have taken in. This is the first step to weight loss. 

All-liquid diets, or diets where you eat no solid foods, are becoming increasingly popular. While the process of puréeing fruits and vegetables may sound like a healthy alternative to physical consumption, it results in lack of nutrients. The skins of fruit contain nutrients that the fruit itself does not. This method relates back to starvation due to the extremely low calorie count that you are receiving. There is a difference between low calorie diets and low calorie liquid diets. With low calorie diets you may still receive a substantial amount of nutrients from the solids you consume. With liquid diet all possibilities of obtaining nutrients are diminished because you are extracting the nutrients through the process. You may see weight loss on this diet, but the health effects can be just as detrimental as starvation. 

Staying active is imperative to staying healthy. The amount of calories you should take in is dependent on your height and weight. Diet plans may sound good in theory, but in reality, there are many risks involved. Crash diets and all-liquid diets should be avoided at all costs.

Eating healthier foods and cutting out foods high in sugar, processing and trans-fat is a better option. Exercising and staying active is extremely beneficial to your health because it increases your energy levels and helps maintain a healthy body image. The Preston Center offers a basic fitness assessment for $5.00 and may be a good option for you if you don’t know where to start.