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DOCTOR AT THE DESK

Hunger Games!

"Will starving yourself make you gain more weight?"
By: Stef dela Cruz, MDHunger Games!

If you want a beach bod, the proper thing to do is to live a healthy lifestyle. Why is a healthy lifestyle always the recommended weight loss regimen if it’s so difficult to follow? Besides, is it really dangerous to lose weight too fast? People starve in different circumstances. They live to tell about it—and they look much better doing so without the love handles—so you’re probably thinking that it’s alright to jump on that bandwagon. But is there a good reason you should steer clear of fad diets?

Try this one on for size: A “hunger strike” diet makes you lose weight—but only for you to gain it all back later with a vengeance. Even just a few weeks of crash dieting can make you hungrier and heavier for a year or more, according to a 2011 study by Priya Sumithran and colleagues, published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

In the study, 50 overweight adults, weighing an average of 209 pounds, went on an extremely low-calorie diet. The food they ate in one day totaled only about 500 to 550 calories. They went on this diet for about 10 weeks.

The good news is, they lost about 20 pounds of fat and 9 pounds of muscle! But you should be more interested in the bad news: they became heavier—not to mention hungrier—after their diet period!

Blame it all on an imbalance of hunger-regulating hormones that result in a seemingly insatiable hunger all day. A few weeks of extreme dieting messes up the few hormones responsible for making you feel full.

What’s worse, this “hormonal hunger” extends up to at least one year after the participants concluded their extreme diet. Participants in the study felt hungrier after the study than before they even went on the diet! Suddenly, that crash-diet-induced beach bod isn’t looking too desirable, is it?
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