Specialist warns of dangers of extreme dieting

People who embark on such diets with the aim of losing weight without consulting a dietitian often expose themselves to potentially life threatening conditions.

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A dietitian, Mrs Iheoma Nwabueze has warned on the dangers of extreme dieting, saying it leads to life threatening conditions.

Nwabueze said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri that diets promoting weight loss were often without the approval of registered and practicing dietitians.

She said people who embark on such diets with the aim of losing weight without consulting a dietitian often expose themselves to potentially life threatening conditions.

Speaking on the Ketogenic diet which promotes the avoidance of carbohydrates and fruits as they contain high sugar content, she said this can lead to low immune response exposing the body to high risk of infections.

“Some of these diets advocate the total exclusion of important nutrients needed by the human body, such as the ketogenic diet which promotes the avoidance of carbohydrates in any form even those gotten from fruits and some vegetables."

“This makes the body convert proteins to glucose in its search for energy and this is not healthy."

“The total exclusion of fruits and vegetables lead to low immune response as they are the major sources of vitamins and minerals which are necessary for a strong immune system."

“Every food group is important and the main thing to note is moderation; ensuring that every meal is balanced and that portions are moderate is key to maintaining a healthy body."

“Any diet which advocates the total exclusion of a particular food group is not valid and are not advocated; every food group is necessary for the total well being of a human body,’’ she said.

Speaking further on the Ketogenic diet, Nwabueze said the high consumption of fats and foods rich in fats and cholesterol could lead to hypercholesterolemia which is excess cholesterol in the bloodstream, obesity and heart attacks.

Nwabueze also advised that any diet which promotes total dependence on particular foods should be done only for a short while and under the strict supervision of a doctor or a dietitian. 

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