Healthy Living

Does Instant Weight Loss Mean Your Diet Is Working?

Nearly half of all people in the U.S. admitted to seeking weight loss. Estimates show that the same number of people have the similar goal in other countries. 

Different kinds of diets have been emerging, from restricted calorie intake, low-fat diet, no-meat consumption to the involvement of wild herbs. These diets promise the same thing: weight loss. 

Reducing belly fat can be a healthy goal. However, losing weight also comes with negative effects depending on how you do it. 

In some cases, losing fat through a certain diet may not indicate your approach worked well. It can be unhealthy weight loss, which could cause some health problems. 

“There are healthy and less-than-healthy ways to lose weight,” Franziska Spritzler, a registered dietitian from Florida, said in an article posted on Diet Doctor. “Unfortunately, some methods that produce rapid initial results can often be counterproductive for both health and weight long term.” 

The common diets that could lead to potentially unhealthy weight loss are those that focus on very low calorie intake, liquid diets, long-term fasting, low-protein diets and those that include fat-burning supplements. 

Spritzler said such diets provide low amounts of essential nutrients that the body commonly take from food to support daily functions. Nutritional deficiency can cause fatigue, dry skin, hair loss and hunger and increase the risk of bone and muscle loss. 

“It’s not a stretch to suggest that, over time, if your body doesn’t receive the nutrition it needs while losing weight, you’re likely to feel worse, not better,” Spritzler added. “Depriving yourself of adequate nutrition can cause muscle and bone loss and can theoretically speed up the aging process, ultimately jeopardizing your health.”

What Is Healthy Weight?

Someone who has near normal weight and in good health should not consider weight loss. Spritzler also noted losing some pounds may not always be necessary even for those who are overweight or obese. 

Losing weight may not automatically improve health. People commonly look at their body mass index (BMI) to determine if they are at a healthy weight. But what exactly is a “healthy weight?”

Spritzler said BMI is based only on weight and height. But it does not indicate body composition and the areas where body fat are stored.

Studies showed that overweight or obese people can be metabolically healthy like those who are at a “normal” weight. Both groups have lower risk of diseases despite a large gap between their weight. 

A healthy weight can be determined using normal blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin, HDL cholesterol and low triglycerides. If these factors remain in the target range, even with extra weight, “you may be at the right weight for you,” Spritzler said. 

Weight loss This picture taken on May 25, 2015, shows overweight people exercising at the Aimin Fat Reduction Hospital in China. More than simply dieting, there are other factors to consider if you want to maintain a healthy weight. Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

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