Very Low Carb Diets (VCLD’s) and Semi -Starvation Don’t Work
Most of the time fasting for a short period of time 8-24 hours can have a positive result and has been used for centuries in both religious and cultural rituals. But once you pass 24 hours your body starts to go into starvation mode. This not only makes it harder to lose weight, but can actually increase the amount of fat that you store. When you go on a starvation diet or extended low calorie diet your metabolism starts to decrease and you begin to retain more water as a function of survival.
Effect of Semi-Starvation Dieting On Metabolism
In this state your body tries to maximize it’s use of all of the calories that you take in and store as much fat to preserve life for as long as possible. It will also start to use the energy of the muscles and keep the fat stores for future energy needs. There are a few dangers that explain exactly why starvation diets don’t work:
The body will adapt and although you lose weight initially, most of that weight loss is from your body’s consumption of its glucose stores, minerals and water. Any diet where you initially lose about 2-5 lbs. a day for a couple days is just depleting your body of vital hydration. This reduction in weight is quickly erased as soon as normal eating is resumed. But if you stay on the diet for an extended period the drop in blood sugar and slower metabolism will result in fatigue and reduced mental clarity.
Muscle Loss Due to Starvation
Slowing of the metabolism will be compounded by muscle loss. During starvation diets your body will turn to the muscles for the glycogen that it needs once the liver has been depleted. After the stores of glycogen in your liver, which last about 24 hours, are depleted the body will slow your metabolism and start breaking down muscle which will further slow you metabolism. This slowing of your metabolism will cause you to have a harder time losing weight and if you go back to normal consumption of calories it will cause you to gain weight more quickly.
Starvation diets don’t work because your body is well designed to maximize the input of food for survival. If you are consistently eating less food your body will slow down its need for energy, and fatigue and lowered energy output will result. Although you may have short-term reduction in weight, the rebound will definitely take you back to, if not past, your initial starting point. Instead of starving yourself focus on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and daily exercise.
People who gain weight and want to lose it are often on the lookout for the latest diet and quick fix to help them lose weight quickly and with minimal effort. These methods backfire and put the individual right back where they started for several reasons.
800 Calorie HCG Diet and “Starvation”
This web site advocates the 800 calorie HCG diet which provides nutrition in each food group and healthy lean protein for each meal. This cannot be obtained in the 500 calories a day version of the HCG diet.
The graph below shows the average overweight individual who is already depleted of healthy nutrients becoming even more depleted (red line to the right) by a starvation diet.
Richard Lipman MD is a endocrinologist and board certified internist who has treated more than 10,000 overweight patients in his Miami office with his new 800 calorie HCG diet for the past 10 years in Miami, Fl