Crash Diet: 4 Advantages, 6 Disadvantages
Everyone wants to lose weight quickly. Whether it’s because you want to fit that special dress for a wedding or impatience to get rid of that stubborn belly fat, many think that a crash diet can help.
I can already tell you that a crash diet can result in quick results on the scale. That makes it tempting to try once, but is it also a good idea?
Crash diets are extremely low-calorie diets that have various advantages, disadvantages and side effects. Whether a crash diet is worth trying for you is something you discover in this article.
In addition, in this article you will learn:
- What makes a crash diet different from other diets
- What are the main advantages and disadvantages of a crash diet
- The most popular crash diets on the slimming market
- The most important secret to a diet easier to sustain
- And much, much more …
What Is A Crash Diet?
You probably want to know if the crash diet is for you. Then you are in the right place with this article.
A crash diet is an unusual diet plan that allows you to quickly lose weight in a short time. The goal is to reduce the daily caloric intake in such a way that body weight is quickly lost.
This special diet is quite unusual and not easy to follow, but it offers the possibility to lose a few pounds in just a few days.
Often it is done by people who want to lose weight in a short time for an upcoming wedding, party, photo shoot, vacation or other special occasions.
What virtually all crash diets have in common is that they reduce the calorie intake drastically and are usually only followed for a short time.
Read on and find out how a crash diet works.
How Does A Crash Diet Work?
Almost every diet on the slimming market uses some form of calorie restriction by eliminating calories, certain food groups or macronutrients.
The crash diet does this by minimizing your daily calorie requirement. You will always lose weight if you drastically reduce the number of calories for a certain period of time.
That calories are the key to weight loss should not be a surprise, but how many calories should you eat? If you eat the exact number of calories that you need every day, you keep your current weight.
If you eat less than your body needs, you will lose weight. An average man needs about 2500 calories a day, for a woman that is 2000 calories.
That means that a substantial calorie deficiency to only 1000 calories or even less inevitably will lead to weight loss.
Because your body does not get enough energy to perform its daily functions, it is necessary to burn stored fat, among other things.
But much more happens in those first days of a crash diet …
Researchers have found that in the first week of a crash diet, approximately 34% of the lost body weight comes from body fat. The remaining 66% of the lost weight comes from fluid loss and muscle loss (source).
That is where the short-term gain comes in part.
The human body gets its energy from carbohydrates the easiest. Carbohydrates provide fast energy, especially simple carbohydrates such as white bread, candy, cookies, soft drinks, etc. This energy is converted into glucose after the digestion.
These carbohydrates are not all used during the day. Your body will first store some glucose as glycogen and ‘rest’ the rest as fat.
What happens if you consume significantly fewer carbohydrates per day? Your body will have to rely on other energy sources, including body fat.
You will also lose a lot of moisture (water weight). This is because glucose is stored in the form of glycogen. If there is no glucose or glycogen to get, the water (moisture) that is attached to glycogen is also lost. As soon as glycogen is stored in your body, it binds to water molecules.
Every gram of glycogen in your body can bind 3 to 4 grams of water. Depending on a person, the human body can easily store up to 500 grams of glycogen. Calculate how much fluid you lose when you drop drastically into carbohydrates and calories.
So there is not only fat loss, because the fluid is also squeezed out of your muscles and liver. This can be very motivating because your scale shows a lower number within a few days.
But you have not only lost body fat. It often happens that people lose a considerable amount of weight on a crash diet. That can in the first weeks up to a few kilos, depending on the starting weight of a person.
That is also the reason why you can experience sudden weight gain after eating a high-carbohydrate meal. Your liver and muscles absorb as much glucose as they can, including the 3-4 grams of water that bind to every gram of glycogen.
Benefits Of A Crash Diet
There are many advantages and disadvantages to following a crash diet.
Let me mention the most important of these:
We can not ignore it, with a crash diet you can lose a lot of weight in a short period of time.
It gives an amazing result to stand on the scales after a week and see that you weigh a lot lighter.
In the past, we have been concerned that a short period of rapid weight loss can lead to a rapid weight gain due to the so-called yoyo effect.
But a new study shows that a crash diet may well help in the treatment of obesity. This appears at least from a new British survey (source).
Researchers at the University of Oxford have put obese patients on a diet of shakes, soups and meal replacement bars. It helped the obese participants lose almost four times as much weight as the group that was advised to eat healthier and to cut in calories.
The researchers wanted to see if a crash diet of only 810 calories per day could help obese patients who were at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes due to their obesity.
A total of 278 adults took part in the study. Half of the participants were put on a special diet and received regular advice and support. The other group only received advice to live healthier and eat fewer calories.
During the first two months of the diet program, participants received meal replacements, skimmed milk, water and a fiber supplement. Normal food was gradually reintroduced during the third month of the study and during the following three months, patients were instructed to continue replacing a daily meal with shakes, soups or bars.
After 12 months, the participants of the crash diet group had lost an average of 10.7 kg. This was three times as much weight loss than the group that received standard advice and support from a nurse. They lost ‘only’ 3.5 kg of weight.
Although crash diets are not normally recommended, there are, as you read, situations where they can be suitable for people with chronic illnesses.
In the case of very obese people whose weight clearly causes disorders or people who cannot be operated on until they have lost significant weight, doctors can prescribe a very low-calorie diet.
# 2: It Is Affordable
If you want to save money and want to lose weight in a week, a crash diet can be a godsend for you.
Because you eat less than usual, you will also be a lot cheaper in the supermarket. That makes crash diets generally affordable to follow. For the price, you certainly do not have to leave it.
A study by Newcastle University investigated 11 people with type 2 diabetes who had shortened their food intake to 600 calories per day for 8 weeks (source). Three months later, 7 of the 11 participants tested were free of diabetes.
This is good news because it shows that type 2 diabetes can be brought into remission with the help of a crash diet.
It seems that an extremely low-calorie diet gives signals to the body to expel the fat that is in the pancreas. This increases the sensitivity to insulin and ensures that the pancreas is able to produce more insulin again.
The study showed clear improvements in blood sugar levels to the extent to which the participants had brought their disease into remission.
In order to prevent or delay the return of diabetes symptoms, participants will still have to pay attention to their diet and physical exercise.
# 4: It Is Short-Term
If you follow a crash diet, you will end up well below 1000 calories. This is not only very little energy, but it is also literally just a tiny bit of food you eat.
Because it is untenable in the long term, a crash diet is only recommended for a short period. That is one to about three weeks.
With a crash diet, you strive for a serious caloric deficiency. Following too long means inevitably a feeling of weakness, fatigue and drowsiness.
Because it causes rapid weight loss and is pretty intense, it is not necessary to follow a crash diet for a longer period, such as other adapted diets.
Disadvantages Of A Crash Diet
# 1: Risk Of A Shortage Of Essential Nutrients
But often you see that a crash diet lacks all kinds of essential nutrients to stay healthy in the long term.
It is mainly the crash diets with cheap meal shakes that are unhealthy. Most variants contain ridiculously many sugars and few nutrients. In this way, you rob your body of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
As an example: per 100 grams the nutritional value of the Weight care meal shakes consists of no less than 51 grams of sugars. That is absurdly much for a slimming product! That is not a healthy meal replacement to get enough protein, fiber, calcium, healthy fats, iron, vitamin B1, etc..
A crash diet also has a heavy influence on your mental health. Because your body does not get the nutrients it needs to function properly, you can suffer from psychological problems. Think of irritation, fatigue, headache and drowsiness. Even a low libido (no desire for sex) can be the result of a crash diet.
If you decide to continue with a crash diet, at least fill your nutrients shortages by eating enough vegetables, fruit and fatty fish every week.
Therefore focus on the food you eat instead of counting calories. It goes without saying that the amount of calories that you consume every day is important for losing weight or maintaining your weight. But simply counting calories and not taking into account what you eat can lead to malnutrition or a shortage of nutrients.
# 2: Your Hormones Become Unbalanced
Because of their essential role in the body, even small hormonal changes can affect your body. This is unwise because hormones control your appetite, satiety and the degree to which body fat is stored (source).
You probably understand that a disturbance of these hormones has an effect on your body weight. A low-calorie diet can cause irregular menstrual cycles in some women.
Amenorrhea, or the absence of blood loss for a period of at least 6 months during the menstrual cycle of women, can be caused by eating too few calories, too little carbohydrates, weight loss or stress (source).
What you often see is that fat-rich food is avoided in crash diets because it contains a lot of calories. Instead, low-fat food products are eaten (think of light peanut butter). But there are often a lot of hidden sugars in them, because the taste has to be absorbed by the lack of fats.
Simple (fast) carbohydrates cause problems with insulin and satiety. If we eat a meal that contains simple carbohydrates, the amount of blood sugar in the bloodstream increases.
This is measured by the cells in the pancreas, which then release insulin into the blood. Insulin in the bloodstream tells the cells to get sugar from the blood. The excess glucose is then drained and stored as fat. Something you would rather not see happen when your goal is to burn fat. That is why it is important that insulin is rebalanced.
Another disadvantage is that many food products today do not saturate because they contain a lot of fast carbohydrates. In other words, you are hungry again in no time, making it difficult to keep a crash diet going.
Eating more protein and healthy fats has a longer satiating effect:
Eating less simple carbohydrates and exercising more are also easy ways to put your insulin values back in order (source).
# 3: Your Metabolism Slows Down
After all, eating less is an easy way to quickly lose a few pounds. Yet?
To a certain extent that is indeed true.
“Great!” You would think at first.
Your metabolism slows down if you fast for more than 3 days or follow a diet with absurdly few calories. This is because your body goes into ‘hunger mode’. This survival mechanism, which has been developed as a natural defense against famine, means that the body will store so many fat reserves.
The metabolic rate is also reduced, so your body needs fewer calories to function properly. This is, of course, a blessing for survival. But if you want to lose weight, this mechanism can be quite frustrating.
This is also one of the reasons why so many people struggle with weight gain after having stopped a crash diet (source). Your body will then get the chance to store as many calories as possible, to prevent it from being exposed to a long-term calorie deficit.
A delay in metabolism may be the cause that you will not lose weight in the long run. We see this especially in people who are overweight and follow a crash diet for a long time. They eat absurdly little, but ultimately they do not lose weight anymore.
# 4: All Or Nothing Mentality
People on a crash diet often have unrealistic expectations when it comes to losing weight. Ultimately, you want to set achievable goals and ensure that those lost pounds never come back.
This requires more than two weeks of little food. I am talking about awareness and sustainable behavioral change. These words may sound somewhat meaningless, so let me explain what I mean exactly.
Successful weight loss and keeping your goal weight comes down to healthy changes in your lifestyle. Although a crash diet produces quick results in the short term, you often see that most lost pounds return like a boomerang.
Are you aware of your current diet? It is important to review your current eating habits. Because only then are you able to change those bad eating habits.
Most people do not like a diet. Understandable. It forbids foods that you would actually like to eat. That is why they expose themselves to a crash diet.
The toughest thing about changing bad habits is that you do something that you do not really want or find difficult. That can run away from challenges (losing weight), choosing the easiest way (crash diet) or just giving in to temptations (unhealthy eating).
When you strive for perfection, you quickly lose your motivation. A positive body image is important to keep losing weight.
You can do simple things to get a more positive self-image:
- Start exercising
- Appreciate what your body can do
- Do something for yourself, such as a massage or a manicure
- Surround yourself with positive people who support you
- Stop comparing yourself with others (such as fitness models)
- Do not be too hard on yourself if something does not work
- Wear clothing that you like and fit well
- Look in the mirror and say things aloud that you like to hear about yourself
By being flexible and forgiving yourself when things do not work, you can stay motivated in difficult times. Several studies have shown that people who detest their bodies are less likely to lose weight successfully (source).
If you are still struggling to find motivation with weight loss, professional help may be a solution for you. Professionals such as dietitians, training physiologists and psychologists can help you find motivation and increase knowledge in achieving your weight loss goals.
In the video below TERRY CREWS’ 5 KEYS TO SELF DISCIPLINE!!!
You follow a crash diet to get rid of those excess pounds of fat, but you notice at a certain moment that more fat has accumulated around your stomach.
Is this the script of a bad movie? No, Unfortunately not!
While following a crash diet, the body loses muscle mass and body fat (source). Because body fat comes back easier than lost muscle mass after you have stopped a crash diet, this can lead to a higher fat percentage.
Every kilo of muscle mass burns nearly a hundred calories. The loss of muscle mass makes your metabolism slower.
Muscle loss also causes reduced physical strength. Following a crash diet if you are doing sports fanatically is the worst thing you can do.
Your body then no longer gets the chance to recover sufficiently and lacks the necessary nutrients to function properly.
If you do sports enthusiastically, you will never want to lower more than 500 calories in your daily energy needs.
The need for proteins also increases during weight loss. Eating enough protein daily, for example, protein supplements can help you to limit muscle loss during weight loss (source).
Successful weight loss is generally a much slower process than most people think.
The reason why a crash diet might appeal to you is that you can lose weight quickly. And that is largely true …
But do those kilos also remain in the long term? The results are still pretty disappointing for the time being.
Note: this study is not about diabetics (see benefit 3) or obese people (see benefit 1), but about people who are somewhat overweight. So the majority of people.
Try changing your mentality instead of focusing on results in the short term. A change in mentality is the key to keeping excess body fat away.
The crash diet is a fairly predictable cycle. Now let’s see which crash diets on the slimming market are very popular.
Below you can see an overview of 6 different crash diets that are very popular.
Most crash diets that I have explained below are meant for the short term.
If you want to fit in that special dress or have a special occasion on the schedule, such as a birthday or wedding, some described diets might be worth a try.
In any case, it is recommended to take a multivitamin every day, drink plenty of water and stop immediately if you feel sick or dizzy. Obviously, you only start with a crash diet if you are in a healthy condition.
Cabbage Soup Diet
The cabbage soup diet promises a weight loss of more than 4 kilos per week. If you like unlimited amounts of cabbage, you can not lose your fortune with this diet.
On this diet, you can eat as much cabbage soup as you want.
The diet has a lot of fiber and is characterized by eating little fat.
The hospital diet was originally intended for obese patients who had to lose a lot in a short time so that they could be operated on.
But the hospital diet quickly became popular among doctors and nurses who also wanted to lose some obesity.
An important characteristic of the hospital diet is that you have three fixed eating moments per day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The food you eat (it is not much) is in principle reasonably healthy and contains virtually no fats.
Chicken Soup Diet
Every day you can choose from 5 breakfast dishes:
- Muesli with skimmed milk
- 250 ml yogurt with mixed fruit
- 2 slices of wholemeal bread with ricotta cheese
- 1 glass of grape juice with a muesli bun and cheddar cheese
- 1 glass of orange juice with breakfast cereals and a bowl of skimmed milk
The rest of the day you can eat as much chicken soup as you want, but you can not eat anything else.
Like the cabbage soup diet, the chicken soup diet has no underlying theory, except that it allows people to lose weight as quickly as possible. But it is a popular crash diet that roams the internet.
You see more and more people follow a juice diet. It also seems that we are dealing with a new diet craze: the juice cleansing cure. It consists of a period in which you only drink juices.
The juice diet is also called ‘juice fasting’. Here you get juices from fruits and vegetables (80% vegetables and 20% fruit). Some people make the conscious choice to choose organic fruits and vegetables so that their juices contain fewer pesticides and other pesticides.
A juice cure can be a fun way to experiment with new types of fruit and vegetables and flavor combinations. If you are just starting to make juices, consider starting with a few recipes, then add or remove ingredients to try out new flavors.
Experimenting with new juice recipes can also help prevent you from getting bored with the juices you drink.
The problem with the juice diet is that most juices contain more sugars than you think. Not only that, but because proteins and healthy fats are missing, it can also lead to serious blood sugar fluctuations.
Still, follow a juice cure? Make sure that you do not store any juices. Rapid bacteria can rapidly multiply in fresh juices. If you still have juice left over, store it in a clean, air-tight drinking bottle in the refrigerator. Throw everything away if you have not drunk it after a day.
The HCG diet is also gaining in popularity as a crash diet/weight loss cure.
The HCG diet is an extremely low-calorie diet that claims that you can lose weight quickly – in combination with HCG injections – up to half a kilo a day!
HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that is present in high value in early pregnancy. The story goes around this hormone that it stimulates the metabolism and helps with fat burning.
Yet try the HCG diet? Then know that the HCG diet consists of two parts:
A strict calorie restriction of 500 calories per day in combination with a short treatment duration of HCG injections (Bio HCG drops can also)
Quickly lose some kilos? This is also possible with the yogurt diet. I only bet that you can not see yogurt after a week!
The yogurt diet is a strict and restrictive crash diet and should not last longer than seven days. If you have lactose intolerance or other health problems, I do not recommend this crash diet anyway.
Yogurt is rich in proteins, vitamins, calcium, potassium and zinc. It is satiating food. It is not recommended to only eat yogurt.
To make the meals tastier and prevent constipation, you can add fresh vegetables, fruit and some honey to yogurt meals.
Do You Want To Lose Weight In A Healthy Way?
We all want to see fast weight loss results and we also want it to be as simple and painless as possible.
But the first thing you should ask yourself is: are you just looking for ways to lose weight as quickly as possible? Or do you want to lose permanent body fat and go through life for the rest of your life?
A crash diet with which you starve yourself is not really the way to do that. Your body learns to use fewer calories and store calories and fat more efficiently.
The trick to successfully lose weight and keep it going is to do it gradually.
Weight loss will last you the longest when it happens at a gradual pace. Making healthy choices becomes second nature when you are used to it.
A crash diet should only be considered if you want to lose weight (unfortunately often temporarily) or suffer from extreme obesity. But I do not recommend it for a long time and not for everyone.
If you plan to never be fat again, remember that you can better follow a diet that allows you to lose weight relatively quickly and to maintain it in the long term.
Did you know that research shows that 1 in 3 just gains from a diet instead of losing weight? (source)
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