Dieting Really CAN Harm Your Health: Slimmers at Higher Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer

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Going on a
diet could increase your risk of developing potentially deadly conditions
such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, a study has revealed.

It found that
those who controlled their calorie intake produced higher levels
of the harmful stress hormone cortisol.

And it claimed
that exposure to the hormone actually made some dieters put on weight,
which could explain why so many Britons fail to shed fat despite
slashing their food intake.

The researchers
also warned that far from making people feel better about themselves,
dieting could actually damage their mental health.

Many suffered
increased psychological stress when they were constantly forced
to count calories and monitor what they ate.

Doctors should
think twice before putting their patients on strict diets because
of the possible long-term damage to their health, they said.

‘Regardless
of their success or failure (in losing weight), if future studies
show that dieting increases stress and cortisol, doctors may need
to rethink recommending it to their patients to improve health,’
the researchers said.

‘Chronic stress,
in addition to promoting weight gain, has been linked with coronary
heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. Dieting
might potentially add to this stress burden and its consequences
would best not be ignored.’

The study,
by California University in San Francisco and Minnesota University,
looked at 121 women who were put on a standard three-week diet of
1,200 calories a day – around half a woman’s recommended daily amount
of 2,000 calories.

Each patient
was asked to provide a saliva sample before and after the study
to test for cortisol levels. The results showed a significant increase
in the amount of the hormone after three weeks on the programme.

The study,
published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, said one reason
for the increase in cortisol could be because it is used in the
body to increase energy levels.

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the rest of the article

April
22, 2010

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