7 Reasons Crash Diets Are Bad For Your Health


“Pop a pill.” “Amazing results in 30 days.” “Drink this supplement.” “Cut out everything from your diet except these three foods to lose weight.”

You don’t have to look far to find claims like these for weight loss diets and products. They’re ubiquitous on radio, TV, magazines, and the Internet. And you know what? Crash diets and plans like these almost always end in failure.

Here are 9 dangers and side effects of crash diets that can be bad for your health.

1. Not sustainable.

It’s not sustainable to try and exist on a highly-restrictive diet for long periods of time. You’ll either develop cravings so intense, that you’ll go off the rails and overeat. Or you’ll end up so weak and malnourished, you’ll go back to eating the way you did before dieting. And if you go back to your old ways, you can probably guess what the scale is going to do.

2. Slow metabolism.

At first a restricted diet low in calories can shock your system and lead to initial weight loss. But stick with a starvation-style diet for very long, and your metabolism begins to make adjustments. Instead of losing fat, your metabolism slows to store fat and calories for energy, because you’re not eating enough.

3. Long-term impact on metabolism.

Unfortunately, if you’re a habitual crash-dieter, it can have a long-term impact on metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight.

4. Weight gain.

Ever wonder why it’s called yo-yo dieting? You can lose weight on a crash diet. But in most cases, once the crash diet ends, people tend to gain the weight back. Sometimes people gain more weight than when they first started the diet. And that defeats the purpose.

5. Increased risk for heart disease.

If you’re overweight or obese, common in people who regularly participate in crash dieting, it’s going to take a toll on your heart health. And it shows up in the form of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and elevated levels of fat in the heart. Even if your weight is normal, but you’ve got a history of crash dieting, research suggests you may be at an increased risk for heart disease.

6. Nutritional deficiencies.

If you cut your diet all the way down to something like apple cider vinegar and lemon (sadly, it’s an actual crash diet), you’re not going to be getting a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from a variety of foods. And it can lead to nutritional deficiencies that cause fainting, fatigue, nausea, and other health problems.

7. Voracious cravings.

There’s a lot of downsides to crash dieting. But one of the most difficult to remedy when it happens is voracious cravings. On a restrictive diet, especially when you’re just starting out, you’re bound to experience extreme cravings. It’s both a psychological and physiological problem. And you know how cravings like these typically end for crash dieters? Going off the rails and binge eating. Too often, this leads to feeling depressed and out of control, more eating, and more weight gain.

As you can see, there are many serious dangers and side effects of crash diets. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. Eating a sensible diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and lean meats, can help you manage your weight. Need help? Just check out our selection of Portion Control meals to get started.