Why are disordered eating and dieting dangerous?
Not everyone who diets will develop an eating disorder but it would be hard to find a person with an eating disorder who has not been on a diet themselves. Dieting is one of the most common forms of disordered eating.
Severely restricting the amount of food you eat can be a very dangerous practice. When the body is starved of food it responds by reducing the rate at which it burns energy (the metabolic rate), this can result in overeating and binge eating behaviours that can lead to weight gain and obesity.
Feelings of guilt and failure are common in people who engage in disordered eating. These feelings can arise as a result of binge eating, ‘breaking’ a diet or weight gain. A person with disordered eating beahviours may isolate themselves for fear of socialising in situations where people will be eating. This can contribute to low self esteem and significant emotional impairment.
Diets don’t work
Ninety-five percent of people who diet will return to their usual weight, or weigh even more, within two years. Weight loss and ‘fad’ diets do not take individual requirements into consideration and can result in a person feeling hungry, experiencing low moods, lacking in energy levels and developing poor health.
What are the risks associated with disordered eating and dieting?
The risks associated with disordered eating are severe. People with disordered eating may experience:
- A clinical eating disorder (Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder or Eating Disorder Otherwise Not Specified)
- Weight gain
- Osteoporosis – a condition that can lead to human bones becoming fragile and easy to fracture
- Fatigue and poor sleep quality
- Constipation and/or diarrhoea
- Muscle cramps