17 January 2011
Crash Diet Dangers
It’s January. Our thoughts naturally turn to trying to get rid of the excess lumps of fat that strangely appeared as if by magic on our bodies over the Christmas break.
The tube is now full of adverts for Lighterlife, a weight loss programme that has sometimes hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Lighterlife diet involves eating only 530 calories a day, a quarter of the recommended daily amount, in the form of three shakes and a snack bar.
I have recently been instructed by a client who was hospitalised with a cardiac arrhythmia after following the Lighterlife diet for a very short period. She now appears to have sustained permanent cardiac damage and will be on medication for the foreseeable future. Thanks to the best efforts of the Royal Free hospital, she survived her ordeal. The case is ongoing.
Her case has features similar to many others. In 2008, bride-to-be Samantha Clowe died of heart failure after shedding 3st in 11 weeks on the LighterLife diet. In 2006, 25-year-old Matilda Callaghan died from heart arrhythmia after losing 10st in six months on the LighterLife diet.
Speaking in relation to Matilda’s death leading obesity expert Professor Garrow said "Studies show semi-starvation diets deplete the protein and muscle of internal organs, resulting in an increase of heart arrhythmias among obese people following them".
These three cases mentioned above highlight that a sensible approach needs to be taken to weight loss and all patients should be made very aware of the potential risks of dieting before commencing treatment. I will update the blog further as my case progresses.
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