What are 6 Negative Effects of Dieting?

We are a nation obsessed with losing weight fast. Google “weight loss” and you’ll get over 4 BILLION results, many of which are promises and very, very strange diets. As dietitian nutritionists, we’ll just get to the point — YOU SHOULD NOT DIET.


Here are 6 reasons why you should not diet:


  • Dieting Suppresses Hunger Signals: Dieting essentially involves food restriction, but this practice also teaches your body to disregard vital hunger cues. In essence, you’re duping your body instead of trusting it to communicate its needs. Consequently, your body may lose its ability to recognize fullness.
  • Metabolism Slowdown: Those rapid weight loss results following a highly restrictive diet may seem exhilarating. However, our bodies weren’t designed to focus on aesthetics. When faced with a nutritional deficit, they respond by slowing down metabolism – often permanently. Once you’ve drastically cut calories and shed pounds, returning to “normal” eating habits becomes a challenge.
  • Mind Games of Dieting: Modern diets often entail not just food restriction but also the exclusion of entire food groups. Diet trends thrive in a billion-dollar industry and fill our bookstore shelves. While they may yield initial results (or Atkins wouldn’t be famous), these outcomes tend to be short-lived, as our bodies strive to regain lost weight.
  • Encouragement of Cheating: Diets play with the notion of willpower, leading to thoughts like, “Well, I slipped up this morning with that chocolate croissant, so why bother being disciplined for the rest of the day?” Food isn’t the enemy, nor is it a prize. Food is … food, nourishment, energy, and health.
  • Weight Cycling Woes: Weight cycling, characterized by the repeated loss and regain of body weight, often from 5 to 50 pounds per cycle, can have detrimental effects on health. When this weight fluctuation occurs during dieting, it’s aptly termed yo-yo dieting, leading to issues such as a lowered metabolism, heightened cortisol levels (the primary stress hormone), and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It can affect everything from heart health to fertility.
  • Temporary Solutions: Diets are typically quick fixes. Yet, a lifetime of health springs from a lifetime of consistent, positive food choices and nourishment. It evolves from fostering a healthy relationship with food. There’s simply no shortcut here.


While the temptation to lose weight fast is real, establishing healthy eating habits, making great choices to improve your diet, and achieving sustainable weight loss takes time. Start today by understanding your body’s needs and learning how to love food again.