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Death by Low Cal Diet

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Old 09-10-2009, 04:46 AM   #1
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Default Death by Low Cal Diet

In the news today in the UK is a story that a 34 year old woman has died due to the results of a low cal diet.

She lost 3 stone (42lbs) in 3 months to avoid being a "fat bride." Reports say she was only consuming 500 cals a day which where mainly made up of shakes and soup.

Read the story here;

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...fat-bride.html

Thought's on this?

As someone following a low cal diet i do find this very scary, however it seems obvious she wasn't being sensible about her calorie intake. It's such a shame for her family.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:00 AM   #2
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Well, it says the cause of death cannot be ascertained. I wouldn't jump to conclusions - they link the death and diet in the headline for shock impact. I wouldn't venture an opinion as to whether Lighter Life is a good idea or not, but I'm inclined to take this reporting with a pinch of salt myself.
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:02 AM   #3
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First thought: How very sad.

Second thought: We're all on a lowER calorie diet, however we mix it up, weightloss comes down to less eaten, more burned. So we don't have to be too anxious about it happening to us, provided we eat a healthy amount.

Third thought: The post-mortem has not found that her death was linked to her diet, it just hasn't found that it wasn't. She died after being on the diet - but she died after visiting her mother/living in Leeds/looking for a wedding dress(probably) - the newspaper story could have emphasized any one of these. While it's true that she died, poor soul, after starting the LL diet, there isn't any evidence that it caused it.

42lbs in 3 months, a stone a month, is a lot and clearly unlikely to be sustained in the long term - but by no means impossible if you've a lot to lose and are at the beginning of a programme. I know people who've lost that much, I know people who've done the LL programme, and are still alive and kicking.

I am really sorry for her fiance and her family.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:01 AM   #4
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I am sorry that she wanted so badly to be "not fat" yet the Lighter Life people chose to say in their statement she was "still obese."
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:05 AM   #5
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500 calories, especially of that crap, isn't enough to get adequate nutrition. If it was related to the diet it was probably malnutrition. There is no reason for this to scare you anymore than a report of someone getting hit by a bus because they didn't look both ways before crossing the street. She was dumb, and maybe that killed her. I hope that no one here would be ignorant enough to eat like that. If someone is, yeah, consider it a wake up call.
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Old 09-10-2009, 06:22 AM   #6
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There are LOTS of people who eat like this.

I don't want to be a scaremonger either, however, I ended up in hospital during a diet myself. I was eating too little (although probably still well over 1000 cals), sleeping too little (about 5 hours a night), and working out too much (it's all relative, but I was also doing a job where I was on my feet all day). I caught every cold/flu going around that spring and eventually ended up with a pleural effusion (about a litre of infected fluid around one lung). The doctor involved said the three things (calories/sleep/exercise) were all contributors and said I was lucky it was so minor. Now, minor included 17 days in the hospital, and a chest tube for months.

But hey, I was on the treadmill up until the Friday before I went into the hospital.

After years, even decades of eating poorly we all seem to want to lose the weight as fast as possible. Hey, I get it, believe me. There's a very popular diet doctor (advertises on here) that had a patient die, and the around 500 calorie diet was deemed a contributing factor. The family settled out of court. I used to occasionally link to the article about it, but I noticed recently that CBC has reorganized their site and I can't find it. I suppose since the guy has more and more clinics that the lawyers convinced them to take it down.

Oh, and I just love this quote from the company:
Quote:
A spokesman for LighterLife said: "We were very sad to hear the news about Samantha. LighterLife is a clinically monitored programme and has helped 150,000 people lose weight effectively and safely during the past 12 years. When she died she was still clinically obese."
So, obviously she died because she was obese. Since we're all dropping like flies. Haven't they heard that they debunked that myth a while ago.
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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IMO, Lighter Life and the Telegraph are equally guilty of insinuation, but they're both pretty obvious sleights of hand that shouldn't fool to many people. They both use an adverb of time to connect the key phrases:
Telegraph: 'Woman diet after following diet'.
Lighter Life: 'When she died she was still clinically obese'.
I think most people will realize that a time adverb doesn't equal causation. It's a pretty cheap trick that's been used since time immemorial. I did raise an eyebrow at the Telegraph's use of it though. It may be a Tory paper but it isn't a gossip rag - this is the sort of reporting I'd expect from the Daily Mirror or the Sun.
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Old 09-10-2009, 10:19 AM   #8
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my bf had a good friend in his 20s who lost close to 200 lbs by eating 2 cans of tuna a day (the truth). He's actually lucky that he didn't have serious health problems from that (I think he could have died). That's a gigantic stress on the system, and she may have had a pre-existing condition as well (heart?) that got overstressed from the low, low calorie diet.

I can't imagine what it would be like to lose someone I loved just as I was about to get married, that's incredibly sad.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:00 AM   #9
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I was once on a 500 calorie diet under a doctor's supervision , I saw him everyday, I lost weight but I didn't keep it off and I looked terrible. 500 calories just doesn't give you enough nutrition. She could have passed away from any number of reasons, though.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:13 AM   #10
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How very sad. The low calorie diet could have contributed to her death but I doubt it was the main cause. Usually people who die while they're on more extreme diets have some underlying weakness. I think it's easy to forget that the goal of losing weight should be better health. I do think it is wise not to go too low in calories when we are trying to lose weight.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:19 AM   #11
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My thoughts on this are that "it happens," and I would hope her doctor had advised her of the risks (and I suspect he did, and she didn't care).

Very low calorie diets are basically a form of russian roulette, but with better odds. So it's just a question of being willing to play. There may only be one bullet in 100, or even in 1000 but that bullet does exist. Many people aren't aware of the risks, but even among those who know the risks often feel safe in playing such good odds. But, while 1 in 1000 is good odds for gambling money, it's lousy odds for gambling your life. Far better odds are enough for drug companies to pull medications because of customers experiencing side effects, and for food companies to pull or recall foods after only a few cases of food bourne illness.

If the woman did die as a result of complications of dieting, I think it just illustrates what I said in another post recently. Doctor supervision of vlcd's cannot prevent complications from occurring. The doctor can only treat complications he/she "catches in the act,", hopefully catching them early enough to treat them.

There are a lot of health issues (some very dangerous and life threatening) that are known to be associated with very low calorie diets. The longer a person stays on a very low calorie diet, the greater their chance of eventually experiencing some of those risks. Not everyone experiences them, which is why a lot of people believe they don't exist, especially if the person is under a doctor's supervision. A doctor, however, can't prevent or eliminate the risks, only treat and hopefully "catch" early signs of problems (but there aren't always early signs).

Cardiac arrhythmia (which the article quotes the pathologist doing the autopsy as having identified as a "highly probable" cause of death) is a KNOWN risk of very low calorie dieting.

There are many risks associated with very low calorie diets: mitrovalve prolapse (a nother cardiac abnormality), Gallbladder stones and other gallbladder problems, blood pressure and blood sugar changes (diabetics and nondiabetics have died of low blood sugar), sodium depletion (a potentially fatal disorder, often associated with drinking large amounts of liquid or a too-low sodium diet), a condition called rabbit starvation (from intaking a high protein diet with too little carbohydrates and fats), kidney and liver damage (and quite a few that are more inconvenient than dangerous, such as dry, flaky skin, brittle nails and hair loss).

It's a sad story, but she isn't the first and won't be the last. Even knowing the risks, there will be women willing to accept any risk to avoid being a fat bride.

I find it really sad for the fiance'. I'm sure he would rather have a fat bride than a dead fiancee'.
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Old 09-10-2009, 11:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starzmom View Post
How very sad. The low calorie diet could have contributed to her death but I doubt it was the main cause. Usually people who die while they're on more extreme diets have some underlying weakness.
This is a common myth, but has little scientific backing. While underlying conditions can be a cause of dieting-related death, many of the risks are not associated with any known defect or condition. Which is why it can happen even to people who are under a doctor's care, have had all the appropriate screenings beforehand, etc.).

The risks are real, and even when informed of them, there are people willing to take those risks. I don't know if this woman knew the risks, but she played the game and lost.
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Old 09-10-2009, 01:33 PM   #13
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I agree with kaplods. The "underlying condition" idea is a myth. Anyone can die of heart arrhythmia if they are stressed and starving and their blood values are off.

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Old 09-11-2009, 12:17 AM   #14
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One of the most common dieting-related cause of cardiac arrhythmia is hyponatremia - or a depletion of sodium from the blood (the heart needs sodium and other electrolytes to function properly).

Two common causes are drinking excessive amounts of water, and dehydration from exercise or drinking excessive amounts of water during exercise especially in hot weather.
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Old 09-11-2009, 12:21 AM   #15
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My thought is that she had another condition besides being on a low-cal diet.
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