For the study, the research team divided female rats into two groups: a reduced group and a control group. The reduced group had their calorie intake cut by 60 percent, which is equal to reducing a diet in humans from 2,000 calories to 800 calories. On the other hand, the control group maintained their normal diet.
After three days, the rats on the reduced-calorie diet experienced weight loss, but their cycling, which is similar to a human's menstrual cycle, stopped. The reduced-calorie diet also reduced a number of metabolic functions, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and kidney function. When the rats went back to their normal diet, cycling was restored and both heart rate and body weight increased.
However, three months later, the rats had more belly fat compared to those that maintained their normal diet. The angiotensin II hormone was also more potent at increasing blood pressure in the rats that followed a reduced-calorie diet. Angiotensin II increases blood pressure by binding to receptors and constricting blood vessels. In addition, it promotes the production of other hormones that cause the body to retain salt and water.
This elevated blood pressure, when combined with increased belly fat, could lead to chronic health conditions for people who have crash-dieted in the past.
Earlier studies have reported that crash dieting can harm the body both immediately and in the long run. When you crash diet, your body compensates by conserving as much energy as it can because it does not know when you will eat again. In addition, in crash dieting, the body first works to rebuild fat stores before muscles. This means that any fat lost while dieting will be restored first before the muscles. (Related: Want to look good for the holidays? Don’t rush it or you may end up bigger than you started.)
Read more news stories and studies on crash dieting by going to Slender.news.