Calorie restriction diets promise quick weight loss, yet, for all their hype, there are reasons to stop restricting calories. Calorie restriction is one of the most recommended things for weight loss, with some plans recommending consuming as few as 1200 calories a day. If this doesn’t sound like very much, it's because it isn’t. You might lose weight at first eating so few calories, but you will bump into problems later on. You need to know there are good reasons to stop restricting calories and start focusing on healthy foods.
1 Your Body Needs Calories
One of the reasons to stop restricting calories is that your body needs calories! You probably equate calories with weight however, a calorie is simply a unit of energy. Calories give you energy! If you restrict calories too much, you won’t have enough energy to get through your day. Also, your body won’t have the fuel it needs for things like digesting food, respiration, and performing activities like walking, all of which require energy from calories.
2 Calories Aren’t the Only Thing That Matters
When you are trying to lose weight, it is easy to become very focused on calories. However, calories aren’t the only thing that matters. Food also supplies your body with vital vitamins and minerals. When you decrease calories, you also decrease the nutrients you are getting from your food, which is never a good thing.
3 Nutrient Deficiencies
As a result of not getting enough nutrients when you are restricting calories, it is possible to develop nutrient deficiencies, especially if you are eating a lot of processed diet food. Nutrient deficiencies are very serious and can make you quite sick. For example, if you are deficient in iron, you can become anemic and feel extremely fatigued. Calcium deficiency can result in bone loss, and deficiencies in vitamin C and zinc can impair your immune system.
4 Quality Matters More
As previously mentioned, calorie restriction can lead to nutrient deficiencies. This is why it is a better idea to focus on the quality of the food you are eating as opposed to the caloric content. Eating foods that are nutrient dense like leafy green vegetables, fruit, and whole grains will provide you with plenty of nutrients. These foods make you feel good, and if you do need to lose weight you probably will by eating these foods. No calorie counting required!
5 Muscle Loss
Calorie restriction can lead to muscle loss, which is something you don’t want to have happen. When you restrict calories a process called gluconeogenesis occurs. This is what happens when muscle tissue is broken down into glucose to help your body maintain blood sugar levels. Obviously, this is not a good thing, and it is easily preventable by eating enough calories.
6 Metabolism Slows
Your body is smart; it doesn’t want you to starve. As a result, when you restrict calories, your metabolism will slow down and your body will start to hold onto fat. If you restrict calories for a long time, your metabolism could slow as much as 40 percent! To prevent this, make sure you are eating enough calories to fuel your metabolism.
Have you ever noticed when you restrict calories you begin to feel down? This is because calorie restriction can upset your emotional balance, which has been proven by researchers. One study, in particular, discovered that there was a marked increase in depression and anxiety. To avoid emotional imbalances, you need to eat sufficient calories.
Although calorie restriction is a popular diet method, it can result in health problems. If you want to lose weight, it is a much better idea to eat quality foods. Many people have had success eating unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, and grains. Have you been restricting calories?
health.howstuffworks.com, livestrong.com, psychologytoday.com
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