Monday, June 27, 2011

Lose your weight, not your mind

Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Hello Wellness on  Jun 27 2011 5:37PM

Nearly 150 years after William Banting, a formerly obese English undertaker, popularised a weight-loss diet based on limiting intake of refined and easily-digestible carbohydrates, dieting still remains the most popular choice for keeping off those unwanted pounds. But do you know that excessive dieting can make you lose more than just your weight?

What usually draws people to the diet is the hope of weight-loss and/or blood glucose control. Atkins, Cabbage Soup, Hollywood, Master Cleanse, South Beach, Popcorn, Grapefruit, GM and Chicken soup - there are various 'quick-fix' weight-loss remedies in the market. People keep trying out different diets depending on their emotional needs, peer pressure and the money they have.

However, the impact of sticking to weight-loss regimes for some dieters can be as stressful as meeting a deadline at work, studying for exams or moving house. Many a times, people starve themselves simply because they are worried that they may overeat. Diets can become addictive and attempting to lose weight in an unsupervised manner can lead to depression and impaired cognitive function. A study conducted by A J Tomiyama and colleagues of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program, University of California, San Francisco, found that restricting the calories in the diets of women increased the total output of the stress hormone cortisol. Even monitoring the calories increased perceived stress.

A 2010 study on mice conducted by Tracy Bale of the University of Pennsylvania's Neuroscience Center hinted that dieting is linked to alterations in stress hormone patterns — including prolonged gene expression and epigenetic changes — that may lead to binge eating and cravings for high fat foods once a diet is done. Bale said that the results suggest that dieting not only increases stress, making successful dieting more difficult, but that it may actually 'reprogramme' how the brain responds to future stress and emotional drives for food. Poor diet, with low levels of vitamin B12, can also contribute to stress or anxiety.

Diet has become a four-letter word it is not. A good, balanced diet is nourishes, satiates and contributes to your well-being. No fad can match that.

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