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Michael's picture

Cutting calories can make you crazy

Here's an interesting series of articles by Emily Deans, M.D. (Dr. Deans also blogs at Evolutionary Psychiatry -- see our Educational Resources Links, below).

She describes the strong similarities between the restricted calorie diets recommended for weight loss today, and the Minnesota Starvation Experiment carried out during World War II on a group of conscientious objectors.

Among the symptoms experienced by the Minnesota Starvation Experiment subjects:

  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Cold intolerance
  • Muscle soreness
  • Hair loss
  • Reduced coordination
  • Edema
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Food obsession

Four of the original 36 subjects dropped out of the experiment. Failures included: eating scrapings from garbage cans, stealing raw rutabagas, and eating clandestine sundaes at the local soda shop. One man became suicidal, and another cut off three of his fingers. (These two men ended up in a psychiatric hospital.)

Some of those symptoms may sound disturbingly familiar to you if you've ever been on an extended low-calorie weight loss diet. Food obsession is just one.

Dr. Deans points out the similarities between the study diet and the standard weight-loss recommendations of today:

What strikes me the most about this study is how close it is to the standard recommendations for weight loss today (500-1000 calorie deficit daily for goal of 1-2 pounds lost a week, plus moderate exercise). The difference is by degree (1700 calorie deficit daily for goal of 2.5 pounds lost a week), and the fact that the men were normal weight when they began the study. But this strict diet sent 6% of the participants to the psychiatric hospital - and these were highly motivated, healthy young men!

Cutting calories can result in weight loss. But at what cost? Are starvation diets a recipe for failure? I think so. Teri's experience with the standard diets supports my conclusion.

Read more at:

Dieting Can Make You Lose Your Mind

Part two of the article describes similar problems with the Biosphere 2 experiment, in which 8 humans lived in a 3 acre, hermetically-sealed ecosystem in Arizona from 1991-1993. The subjects had no choice but to eat a calorie-restricted, mostly vegan diet. The results: "hunger, fatigue, mental fog, licking each plate rather obsessively and elaborate food rituals, and depression". The door to the 'banana room' (where the bananas were kept) was the only locked room in the structure–the succulent bananas were too tempting, it seems.

Dieting Can Make You Lose Your Mind Part 2

LowCarbForLife's picture

7.14.09, Low Carb Diet Journal

Monday, 7.13.09
Menu
CM: 2 cups of black coffee
CM: St. Louis ribs and cucumber
RM: Salad of romaine w/avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese, & ranch

Water
80 oz.

Option #1
None

Option #2
Bowflex, 20 Minute Better Body Workout, 2 sets
100# Bench Press
100# Seated Lat Rows
100# Crossover Rear Deltoid Rows
100# Biceps Curl
100# Triceps Pushdown
100# Leg Extension
100# Standing Low Back Extension
150# Seated Abdominal Crunch

My husband worked from home so I spent my day updating my website.

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LowCarbForLife's picture

Results of My Sixteenth Month on CALP

Grandma lost her fight with cancer on June 17th. I arrived at my folks house on June 10th and didn't make it back home until June 20th. I am happy that I was with her when she passed, and I would not have had it any other way.

I am still following my weight loss program and it is now obvious to others. I have lost at least fifty pounds by following CALP and am extremely happy that I made sure to include exercise as a part of my program. Right from the beginning I made the decision to not allow any excuse to keep me from following the guidelines of CALP. I have been true to my exercise program as well, and really love the muscle that I am building.

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LowCarbForLife's picture

Results of My Fifteenth Month on CALP

I am having a hard time believing I have been following my program as long as I have. The best part about it is that it continues to be easy for me! I do not like feeling as if I can not control myself, and I can honestly say that I am in my comfort zone.

My trips to my folks house increased this month. Grandma ended up having a lot more bad days than good ones. My sister and I made ourselves a new schedule so one of us would always be there. One of us would spend seven days at our folks house and the other one would come back the following week. Grandma ended up losing her ability to get up on her own or stand on her feet. It was a very difficult time because grandma did not want to lose her freedom to do things on her own, but she was given no choice.

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LowCarbForLife's picture

6.08.09, Low Carb Diet Journal

Monday, 6.08.09

Menu
CM: 2 cups of black coffee

CM: Pork chops and salad of romaine w/ranch

RM: Salad of romaine w/vinaigrette, cajun catfish, cucumber on salad w/vinaigrette, and Hershey's w/almonds

Water
Minimum of 80 oz.

Exercise
Bowflex, 20 Minute Better Body Workout, 2 sets
100# Bench Press
100# Seated Lat Rows
100# Crossover Rear Deltoid Rows
100# Biceps Curl
100# Triceps Pushdown
100# Leg Extension
100# Standing Low Back Extension
150# Seated Abdominal Crunch

Michael's picture

Sleep loss may lead to weight gains and elevated risk of diabetes, research suggests

Eve Van Cauter, a researcher at the University of Chicago, finds that sleep loss coincides with an increase in the odds of weight gain and increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2009) — Laboratory and epidemiological studies continue to show that sleep curtailment and/or decreased sleep quality can disturb neuroendocrine control of appetite, leading to overeating, and can decrease insulin and/or increase insulin resistance, both steps on the road to Type 2 diabetes.

[snip]

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LowCarbForLife's picture

Results of My Ninth Month on CALP

December 3rd was weigh in and measurement day. I had plans to leave the house first thing that morning, so I decided to weigh in and measure one day early. Click here to continue reading, or leave a comment »

Michael's picture

Warning: Daylight Savings Time May Be Harmful to Your Health

I've always had this nagging suspicion that daylight savings time might be responsible for a variety of deleterious health effects -- including things like increases in traffic accidents and other operator-related incidents -- so it came as no surprise when I read the following news blurb:

When researchers in Sweden examined the impact of daylight saving time on heart attack rates in that country, they discovered that people had slightly fewer heart attacks on the Monday after they set their clocks back in the fall and slightly more heart attacks in the days after they set their clocks ahead in the spring.

They presented their findings in a letter published in the Oct. 30 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

[snip]

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Michael's picture

Obese women have exercise 'phobia' - Telegraph

Researchers have discovered -- surprise! -- that obese women are self conscious (and/or fear injury) and those emotions prevent successful exercise:

Obese women may have a 'phobia' of exercise which stops them being active because they feel self-conscious and are afraid of injury, researchers argue.

Far from being excuses to be lazy, these 'mental barriers' are real problems which must be overcome to encourage overweight women to exercise more, a conference was told.

[snip]

[Participants] were asked what factors stopped them from exercising at the start of the programme, three months into it and at the end.

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LowCarbForLife's picture

Obsession Over Weight Leads To A Setback

I was 40 years old when I first picked up the book and purchased my copy of The Carbohydrate Addict's Lifespan Program (CALP). Over the years I gained more than I lost and my yo-yo dieting caused my weight to soar to a high of 236 lbs. When I started reading the book, I just knew they were talking about me. I was shocked to hear that there were people exactly like me that could not control what they were eating. I knew better than to eat ice cream every night, but I was unable to control myself when it came time to leave it alone. I knew better than to grab a candy bar in the afternoon, but sometimes I did it anyway. I knew that I was gaining weight and my clothes were getting tight, but the only thing that mattered to me was the satisfaction of eating chocolate. Click here to continue reading, or leave a comment »

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