Restrictive diet: is it harmful to health? See the consequences

Many people are constantly looking for a “perfect body”. For this, they often make sacrifices and even put their health at risk for the sake of unattainable aesthetic standards .

Among the risky and harmful forms of weight loss, a very common one is the practice of restrictive diets. Better understand the risks involved and why this is not a good alternative for those looking for weight loss:


What is a restrictive diet?

In general, every diet includes a change of habit and consequently excludes or limits some items in the routine. However, as its name suggests, a restrictive diet is one in which many restrictions are imposed on the consumption of various foods.

This type of food usually encourages the person to stop consuming some macronutrient from the eating plan – especially carbohydrates and fats.

It is easy to see that restrictive diets are sought by those who focus on weight loss. So they believe that removing some foods from the routine totally and drastically reducing the calories ingested will bring the desired results.

It is worth mentioning that, on the other hand, there are cases in which a restrictive diet can be prescribed by a nutritionist due to specific conditions. For example, a celiac person lacks a gluten- free diet .

In this case, for the well-being and preservation of that person’s health, some dietary restrictions must be imposed.

However, seeking restrictive diets for aesthetic purposes is irresponsible. For radical changes in eating habits, you should always have a professional specialized in nutrition.

Who can do it?

As mentioned, it is not recommended that anyone make restrictive diets part of the routine. Our body lacks almost all groups in the food pyramid ( proteins , carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals).

Some of these should, of course, be ingested in smaller amounts (such as fats and carbohydrates). However, even so, they need to be part of our routine – in order to maintain a balanced diet.

Therefore, dietary restrictions should only be followed by people in specific conditions and / or on the recommendation of a nutritionist based on individual cases.

Is there a restrictive diet menu?

No . Normally, restrictive diets are based on the total exclusion of some foods, especially those with the highest caloric value – pasta, sweets, fats, etc.

It is important to keep in mind that these diets are not prescribed by a professional in nutrition, in general they are made indiscriminately by those who practice them. With the exception of the aforementioned cases of people in specific situations who are in need of restriction.

Therefore, there is no pre-defined menu, what is done is the drastic reduction of calories and the cutting of food in the dietary routine. Which is a serious problem, considering that each organism needs a certain amount of calories per day, in order to remain in full working order and healthy.

Food is a source of energy for our body, so it is essential to prioritize healthy foods that will allow the whole body to remain in balance and with its correct functions. So, making a caloric reduction, without guidance and in a radical way, can bring serious losses – understand:

What are the consequences of a restrictive diet?

Considering the fact that our body lacks numerous different nutrients and an adequate daily calorie intake, it is a fact that restrictive diets can cause many negative consequences. Like for example:

  • Nutritional deficiency;
  • Development of eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia, etc.);
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Headaches;
  • Fainting;
  • Changes in mood;
  • Tiredness and dizziness;
  • Development of diseases such as anemia;
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle;
  • Hair loss, fragile nails and dry skin.

Especially in diets with a high caloric reduction, it is common for people to develop or have problems such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, gallstones and even cardiovascular diseases.

Recalling that all these factors are associated with diets that propose food restriction without medical supervision. So that the same risks do not apply to those who need restrictions due to specific health conditions.

Read more: Anorexia: what it is, symptoms and treatment

Does it affect metabolism?

-Yeah . The functioning of the metabolism occurs from the transformation of chemical substances and nutrients in our organism, so that due to these processes energy is produced for the whole body.

When low caloric intake and sudden weight loss occur, our body understands that we are experiencing an energy deficit. In other words, there was a significant loss of energy.

Thus, the immediate response is to activate mechanisms that recover or stabilize the loss of energy. One way to do this is to reduce the action of the metabolism.

With that, the body stops or slows down the transformation of fats and other nutrients into energy, storing them.

Therefore, for those who focus on weight loss, this is a very harmful factor, since a faster metabolism will help in the functioning of the body and the chemical processes necessary for the elimination of fat.

Why don’t restrictive and inappropriate diets work?

It is true that many people experience weight reduction through the practice of restrictive diets, making the daily calorie reduction and eliminating some items from their routine food.

However, this does not mean that this diet is really working. What happens, in fact, is not the loss of fat, but of lean mass and water – which can cause a nutritional deficiency.

That way, by practicing these dietary restrictions, you are only harming your health and not changing your fat percentage or the way your body handles food. In addition to slowing down the action of your metabolism, essential for the full functioning of the body and even essential for weight loss.

More than that, it is common that after ending the period of restrictive diet, people develop a binge eating for foods that were out of their diet before.

With that, not only recovering the lost weight but increasing it. In addition to the fact that, as a large part of the kilos is related to the loss of water, when resuming the usual diet, this weight tends to return too – as soon as there is no way to maintain restrictive diets for long periods.

Which shows that these diets are not efficient and are certainly not a healthy weight loss method.

Is it healthy and possible to lose a lot of weight quickly?

No . As mentioned, many people really feel a difference in the balance from the practice of restrictive diets – which does not mean they are losing fat.

It is a method that has short-term effects and does not last. However, the main problem is linked to the fact that food restriction can cause innumerable damages to the organism.

Some of these, require long treatments, as is the case with eating disorders – since they especially affect the mental health of these people.

Thus, although it is possible to lose weight quickly, it is not a healthy method. Of course, of course, some people are able to lose weight faster with dietary re-education , which is associated with genetic factors, metabolism, etc.

But for anyone who wants to lose weight, the recommendation is to always do it with balance and help from a nutritionist.

Thus, it will be possible to develop a real change in habits and dietary reeducation, providing satisfactory and lasting results. Better yet, without harming your physical and mental health!

How to choose good foods to reduce weight?

The first step in dietary reeducation is to seek a professional. However, if you already want to include some healthy foods in your routine that will help you reduce your weight, you can think of options such as:

  • Beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, seeds, cereals – are especially rich in fiber and can help with proper bowel function;
  • Sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, beets – vegetables are rich in nutrients and very important for maintaining healthy eating habits;
  • Guava, apple, pear, avocado, pineapple, orange, lemon (using the peel whenever possible) – fruits are also rich in nutrients and can be used in various ways when preparing meals;
  • Ginger, peppers, cinnamon, coffee – thermogenic foods help in the functioning of the metabolism and consequently in the loss of fats;
  • Lettuce, cauliflower, chard, alfalfa, broccoli, asparagus – vegetables supply some important vitamins and minerals and must also be present in the diet.

Remember that a healthy weight loss must come through a balanced diet, physical exercises, lots of water and professional monitoring. In this way, it will be possible to achieve long-lasting results and excellent health, impacting the entire organism.

You can also keep in mind that eating real foods ( fresh products ) instead of processed foods is essential. Take time to prepare your own meals, so you can reduce the consumption of sodium, sugar, among other ingredients that we need to consume in moderation.

The best way to change habits is to do this gradually, making daily substitutions and counting on the help of a nutritionist to maintain health and balance in the process.