Sunday, January 13, 2008

Extreme Diets like Kimkins Do Not Work

Duke Health Brief: Extreme Weight-Loss Methods Backfire

A recent study found that teenage girls who used severe methods to lose weight were more likely to become obese than girls who ate a high-fat diet. A Duke expert says radical weight-loss measures change the body's metabolism and actually promote weight gain.

Adolescent girls who try to lose weight by extreme measures such as vomiting, laxative abuse and skipping meals are actually more likely to become obese than girls who eat a high-fat diet.

The finding, part of a four-year study of almost 500 teenage girls in Austin, Texas, was published in the April 2005 issue of the American Psychological Association's Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Dr. Terrill Bravender, medical director of the Duke Eating Disorders Program, says the study results shouldn't come as a surprise.

"Although this seems counter-intuitive, it actually makes quite a bit of sense," he explains. "We know from other research that skipping meals sets you up for eating more food throughout the rest of the day. Appetite increases dramatically and satiety control decreases. It's almost like the body goes into starvation mode in those instances and actually over-compensates for the lost energy that it's experiencing.

"Adolescents or even adults who fast for prolonged periods of time or severely restrict their caloric intake are more likely to binge-eat to compensate for that lack of food intake, either earlier in the day or in days prior."

In effect, says Bravender, employing severe methods to lose weight is likely to have the opposite result. "As with any attempt at controlling weight and managing health, moderation is the key. Episodes of starvation or extreme weight loss-control most likely lead to subsequent binge eating, which negates all the work you've done with those extreme weight-loss measures. The best approach is moderation in eating, eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, limiting snacking and getting a modest amount of daily physical activity."

Bravender, director of adolescent medicine at Duke, notes that there are many other factors that contribute to an increased risk for obesity in children and teens. One of these factors is parental obesity; another is parental attitudes toward food.

"I think this an example where parental modeling of good behavior is incredibly important. We know that obesity tends to run in families for a variety of reasons. Genetics is one reason, but even in adoptive families we see a higher likelihood of children being obese if their adoptive parents are also obese. I think that has a lot to do with modeling around food.

"This includes not just the types of foods that are available in the home, but also eating styles, for example decreasing snacking and making sure to eat at proper mealtimes. Parental attitudes toward food also have a huge influence on children. If parents see some foods as a reward, or see some foods as 'good' and others as 'bad,' children will internalize that message and develop those same attitudes about food.

"There's a study from a number of years ago looking at 9- and 10-year-old girls. Over 40 percent of those girls said that they either were on or had been on a diet to lose weight. Those 9- and 10-year-olds didn't come up with that on their own. I'm sure they're imitating their parents."


Anonymous said...

I think this explains why I've struggled more and more as an adult with my increasing weight.

I began starving myself (including bulemia) when I was about 12 and my best friend was skinny as a rail. I recall envying her pointy hipbones!! I was a fairly well-developed teen with extremely low self esteem, in an alcoholic family.

At the age of 13, our family doctor got me hooked on a drug called Tenuate Dospan. Looking back, I believed it was for severe menstrual pain. Now I think possibly it was requested by my mother for weight control.

On those pills, I could sometimes go 2 full days eating nothing. I would lose about 10 lbs a week.

I never got as skinny as my friend. I never stopped trying though. I've tried most of the most radical crash weightloss programs available in the past 25 yrs. I'm heavier than ever in spite of them and have Metabolic Resistance with pre-diabetes.

Now, my thyroid is trashed, (has been for some 27 yrs) and I have the metabolism of a river rock.

I got sucked in by my desperation to lose weight last year by Kimkins. That diet only made things MUCH WORSE.

Crash diets like Kimkins (very low fat, low carb, low cal) will, at the very least, ruin your metabolism, if they don't outright kill you or put you in the hospital. DON'T DO IT. It's SOOOOO NOT WORTH IT.

Anonymous said...

I never tried Kimkins, though I occasionally fasted. But between allergies to many of the foods I was eating regularly, genetic propensity, and being a sugarholic, my weight bounced into the stratosphere. And my kids got fat when entering young adulthood. As remarked, attitudes make a difference. I shudder when I see obese preteens, but also when I hear them talk of diets. Diets make you fat! Took me years to learn that.

Barbara B said...

Thanks for spreading the word about dangerous VLCDs and the dangers of diets like Kimkins. Yes, starvation mode is very real, something Kimmer/Kimkins always denied existed. It sets you up for binge eating, because your body will INSIST on getting what it needs. Binge eating is part of an eating disorder. Don't go there!

Sheridan said...

Great article! This should be required reading for girls from preteen on up, along with a picture of Heidi as an example of what will happen if they resort to extremes. It'd be even better if the pic was her without her wig.

Thanks, Mariasol!

2BIG said...

thanks so much for sharing this info.
Adding an ED is not what anybody looking for weight loss needs to get from following the plan on sold by Kimmer

wackytobeme said...

Great info some of the points hit home!

HoneyBee said...

Great Post!
This is the cycle to the never ending diet. I think we do need to realize as a parent the examples we set with the constant dieting and skipping meals.
The Kimkins Diet sets the dieter up for the never ending diet. The person finds they must starve, then binge, then starve again. I blogged about this today Kimkins Diet- ....dieting becomes an obsession...

Thanks for the information-
Kimkins Diet
HoneyBee’s Blog
I Am Not Ready To Make Nice with Kimkins

OhYeahBabe said...

Great post. I was so sad to read about the 9 & 10 year olds. This is why their mothers must not be on Kimkins - moms, your children are watching you! Do you want them to eat like you?

For more information on this topic, please read Eating Disorder or Diet?.

Kat said...

Good for Duke!! That is exactly what happens when you stop the Kimkins diet!!