People tend to restrict their calories intake when they want to lose weight. And this is normal because the key to weight loss is to burn more calories than you consume, but some people try to restrict calories too severely aiming for rapid weight loss which can cause serious problems. In fact, calories are important for energy and your body requires calories to function. Your body uses a certain number of calories to digest and metabolize the foods you eat. So restricting calories too severely can lead to a number of health problems which we are going to discuss some of them in this article.
1. It Can Lower Your Metabolism: Restricting calories too much can cause your metabolism to slow down. Several studies have shown that low-calorie diets can decrease the number of calories that the body burns normally. Moreover, this lower metabolism can persist long after the low-calorie diet is stopped and this why more than 80% of people regain weight once they go off their calorie-restricted diets.
One of the ways that calorie-restricted diets slow your metabolism is by causing muscle loss. This loss of muscle mass is especially likely to occur if the calorie-restricted diet is low in protein and not combined with exercise. Severely restricting your calories can decrease your metabolism and cause difficulty to maintain your weight loss in the long term.
2. It Can Cause Gallstones: Gallstones are the most common serious side effect of very low-calorie diets. Gallstones are more common during rapid weight loss. When the body experiences a calorie deficit, it starts to break down fat for energy. The liver then secretes more cholesterol and when combined with bile, can form gallstones.
3. It Can Weaken Your Bones: Consuming too few calories can weaken your bones. Calorie restriction can reduce estrogen and testosterone levels and low levels of these two reproductive hormones reduce bone formation and increase bone fragility. In addition, calorie restriction — especially when combined with physical exercise — can increase stress hormone levels. This may also lead to bone loss.
4. It Can Lower Your Immunity: Restricting calories too much may increase the risk of infections and illness. It may cause a deficiency in several vitamins and minerals leading to debilitate body to ward off bacteria and viruses. The body is not strong enough to fight them and hence your risk of infections and illness is higher.