Not Eating to Lose Weight? 5 Negative Effects

Not Eating to Lose Weight? 5 Negative Effects

If you're working on losing weight, not eating to lose the weight is not the healthiest option available. Whether you take a diet pill that suppresses your appetite or choose a starvation diet (that claim to drop pounds quickly), depriving your body of proper nutrition will have more negative effects on your health than positive--and may even result in adding weight instead.

If you're still not sure about starting or continuing a meal depriivation plan as a weight loss tool, consider the 5 negative effects below that you might experience:

Negative Effect #1:  Can Lead to Malnutrition and Health Problems

The human body requires regular consumption of vitamins, minerals, fats, fibers and proteins for healthy, optimal function. Starvation diets and non-eating practices deprive the body of the nutrients needed for good heart, lung, liver and other organ functions. That deprivation can lead to serious cardio, circulatory and respiratory issues as the body compensates for the lack of nutrients and energy (by reduced function) to conserve what little fuel it has.

Negative Effect #2: Can Lead to Weight Gain

Our bodies are equipped with coping mechanisms that help us conserve calories for survival when we are not consuming what our bodies actually need. If you get into the practice of not eating, your body will start to conserve the calories you eat, storing them as fat for survival instead of burning it for energy.

When you do eat, instead of burning those nutrients for energy and cell function, it will be stored as fat, as a safeguard for survival. Some physicians even argue that prolonged fasting or starving can even deteriorate lean muscle mass you want.

Negative Effect #3: Can Make You Susceptible to Eating Binges

Hunger is a basic survival mechanism we were all born with to remind us to eat to maintain health and life. Continually depriving yourself of food, even in an effort to reach a healthier body weight, will not rid the body of the natural craving for food. While your willpower may succeed in helping you resist food for a time, the survival mechanism of hunger puts you at high risk for binging on unhealthy amounts and kinds of food.

Negative Effect #4: Will Leave Little Energy for Healthy Physical Activity

Physical activity and exercise isn't just a great tool for weight loss, our bodies crave physical activity for proper health. If your weight loss program includes appetite suppressants or starvation dieting, you'll quickly find yourself feeling sluggish and tired. As you continue to lower your calorie intake to lose weight, your body will also have less fuel to provide the needed energy for your daily activities. And, if you're planning to include an exercise routine with your starvation diet, there will be even less energy to fuel you through that activity.

Negative Effect #5: Can Cause Headaches and Unhealthy Side Effects

Starvation dieting over a prolonged time period begins to rob the body of needed glucose levels. Blood glucose is the preferred energy for our brains so starvation dieting can eventually lead to headaches. Other possible side effects may include:

  • fainting
  • depression
  • irritability
  • rashes 
  • reduced sex drive
  • hair loss

There you have it--starvation is terribly unhealthy and ineffective! So pack your fridge with healthy foods, and eat your way to your goal weight!

  • robby

    Hi,
    I have a friend that is not eating a regular amount of food. one the odd occasion a good meal is eaten but most days go by all all she consumes are water, small snacks and small desserts. she had told me that this is due to a lack of hunger and she has said that if she tries to eat when she is not hungry she will regurgitate. I believe this is from the bodies accustomedness to not eating.. Is there any side effects that she may get from this?

  • nicole

    depression is a main effect and probably the most noticeable. ive been through it with my sister and also with a good friend of mind. Its just like having a addiction to drugs. they make up eccuses sorry i cant spell. for why they cant eat. its a hard thing to go through as a person in the situation and as a friend in the situation. you dont know what to say or how to help them because telling them they are beautiful is only enabling it and telling telling them they look terrible only makes them feel worse. others are weakness and irritablity or gaining weight> im pretty much in the same position as you. Good luck to you and your friend.

  • nina

    the sad thing is that I’m taking a class on nutrition and i know better, but to be honest I’m on pins and needles just finding money to get food. i lost my job a few months back and its hard knowing if i eat then its more debt. and i know I’m low on energy and the pounds are adding up. no way to get through this till i am happily working to stay healthy.

  • Matt

    While this may be true, i’m 13 years old and I use to be obese. All you have to do is push yourself if you keep doing the exercises while not eating you lose so much weight it boosts your confidence a ton to see your body change in literally by the day. I’m still a perfectly normal kid and don’t have any of those side effects.