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Jake's Health Corner

By Jake Boly, Staff Writer

Spring break is quickly approaching and I'm sure the thought of beach bods have crossed your mind at one time or another. Whether you're a guy trying to put on more muscle or a girl trying to take off weight there is a right way and a wrong way of approaching this. This article will focus on the wrong way, which is crash dieting.

We've all seen the diets and most likely have looked into them. Usually the media or some kind of advertisement is pushing the newest and quickest diet. The new magic way to lose weight in an unsafe amount of time. From a supplement to a drastic change in calorie or macronutrients, these all fall into the extreme diet category.

What health risks can they cause? A sharp increase or decrease in calories for an extended amount of time will throw off your metabolism and will also end up hurting your thyroid. I'm not talking about a week of sharp decrease or increase but two-to-three-plus weeks can start to be unsafe. Also, with such a decrease on calories for an extended amount of time, you'll start to burn muscle for fuel which will end up leaving you with less muscle mass and actually less healthy than when you started.

Then again you could use the argument, "If it's only this one time its not a big deal, I'll worry about it later." Sure, you might not feel that one crash diet will ruin your health for the future, but you don't know that. No one has the power of knowing how their body will react and act at a future date. Would it not be wiser to play it safe and progress in a healthier, smarter way? This way you're still on the road to your goal weight or physique at a slower pace granted, but you're saving your body a lot of useless risk.

When it comes to crazy supplements there isn't a whole lot I can say about them, except: don't use them. Oftentimes these supplements are not tested by a higher power, let alone tested for results. Without scientific research or anecdotal evidence showing a supplement having an effect, how do you know it won't have negative effect on you? A lot of supplements only stay on the market for short periods of time; have you ever wondered why? They boast huge deals and gimmicks, but whether its on T.V. or someone pushing a product on you in a store, they never seem to last.

If you're striving for your goal weight or physique, don't crash diet. When it comes to these two factors, slower is always better. You have one body and one metabolism; why risk it all for one week in April? If you're trying to lose weight, shoot for one to two pounds a week. Anything more can have adverse effects. Conversely, if you're trying to gain weight, four to six pounds a month is a great pace. This also helps stave off excessive fat gain.

You might not want to go slow before spring break, but it will be better for you in the long run.

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