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Banish Dieting Side Effects

Posted on: by Women's Health

Dieting side effects – crankiness, exhaustion and bad breath, to name a few – can be as tough to deal with as the relentless cravings for cheesecake. Use these tips to ease your weight-loss woes…

Side Effect No. 1

You can give Oscar the Grouch a run for his money.

Why it Happens
You’re not eating enough carbs. Carb consumption stimulates production of serotonin, which lifts your mood. So too few carbs can make you feel – and act – like Paris Hilton on a bad bikini day.

Slim Solution
Eat every three hours. And choose carbs high in fibre, like whole grains, fruit and veg: they’re released into the bloodstream more slowly and cause fewer peaks and valleys in blood sugar levels.

Side Effect No. 2

Your period is all screwy.

Why it Happens
Dietary fat is one of the building blocks of oestrogen production. So if you eat too little of it, your oestrogen levels may drop – and your period may get delayed, or you may skip it altogether.

Slim Solution
You should get 30 percent of your kilojoules from fat. Fat can actually help you lose weight because it keeps you full and makes food taste better. Just stick to poly- and monounsaturated fats (olive oil, walnuts, fish and avos).

Side Effect No. 3

Your feet – and hands – feel like ice.

Why it Happens
Since your body has to burn energy to keep you warm, the less you “feed the furnace”, the more it tries to conserve the energy you do have, and the chillier you’ll be.

Slim Solution
Keep cosy by eating at least 5020kJ a day and chowing down regularly (three meals and two snacks per day). Warm socks and woolly gloves help too.

Side Effect No. 4

Your breath could strip wallpaper.

Why it Happens
When your body doesn’t get enough carbs to keep itself running, it produces fatty acids called ketones and burns them as fuel. This process, known as ketosis, is the bane of the Atkins dieter because – how shall we put this? – it reeks.

Slim Solution
Eat at least 50g of carbs a day – about the amount in an apple and two pieces of whole-grain toast. That should be enough to keep ketosis and its offensive by-products at bay, according to research in the journal Nutrition Reviews.

Side Effect No. 5

Sex? Who needs it?

Why it Happens
If fat intake gets too low, women can experience decreased lubrication, sensation and arousal. A study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that low oestrogen levels caused a disruption in physiological sexual responses that prevented orgasms.

Slim Solution
Bottomline, ladies: your body needs fat to feel good. Get your 30 percent. And the healthier the fat, the better: eating heart-healthy fats improves blood flow to all your body’s organs.

Side Effect No. 6

You’re backed up.

Why it Happens
You’re probably skimping on insoluble fibre – the kind that adds bulk to your digestive tract. When you cut out carbs, it’s hard to consume 25g of fibre a day – the amount you need for healthy bowel functioning.

Slim Solution
Count your fibre grams and try to get your daily 25. It’s not that hard: one apple with the skin contains 3.5g; a half cup of kidney beans or lentils has seven grams.

Side Effect No. 7

Eyes… getting… heavy…

Why it Happens
Eating less can tire you out. Your body starts moving more slowly to conserve the few kilojoules it’s taken in. You may also be skimping on iron (red meat, beans), essential for delivering oxygen to your body’s cells.

Slim Solution
We’ve said it before: eat at least 5020kJ a day, 5482 if you’re exercising. Also, make sure to get at least 18mg of iron a day, either from foods like dried fruit, leafy greens and whole grains, or a supplement.

Side Effect No. 8

Oh no – stretch marks?!

Why it Happens
“Even weight changes of four or five kilos can cause stretch marks,” says dermatologist Murad Alam. When skin expands and contracts with weight gain and loss, its structural proteins – collagen and elastin – break down.

Slim Solution
Stretch mark creams generally don’t work well, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. But other treatments do exist: check with your dermatologist for a list of options.

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