Fad diets just make you hungry and grumpy. Whether you try the cabbage-soup diet, a juice cleanse or another regimen that promotes speed over health, severely restricting your calories can have serious effects on your heart, says Baptist Health Medical Group cardiologist Rebecca McFarland, MD, who has offices in La Grange and Louisville.
Crash Diets & Heart Health
“Crash diets can cause heart arrhythmias due to change in potassium and magnesium levels. They can also cause dizziness due to fluctuating blood pressure,” Dr. McFarland said. Being severely malnourished – a possible consequence from of crash dieting – can lead to cardiomyopathy, an abnormal heart condition that can result in heart failure.
And interestingly, repeated crash dieting can lead to weight gain, adds Baptist Health Medical Group cardiologist Shanker Chandiramani, MD. “Yo-yo dieting can lead to significant loss of essential nutrients – electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, copper – making it extremely dangerous to vital organs and your immune system,” said Dr. Chandiramani, who has offices in Louisville and Carrollton.
A better plan: Don’t force your body into rapid weight loss. Both doctors agree: Healthy weight loss is one to two pounds a week. “This is best achieved by decreasing saturated fat, decreasing sugar consumption, increasing water consumption and maintaining a diet with lean protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains,” Dr. McFarland added.