Ann Arbor, MI (PressExposure) July 03, 2008 -- Spokesperson Barbara H. Marynowski of LIFE LINKS warned today that parents should strongly advise their children not to experiment with such new fad diets as the "1,800 calorie-per-day McDonald's diet."
Ms. Marynowski stated that , "These diets are not at all nutritious, and can be hazardous to a child's health. These kids want to be in their best shape for the summer season, but radical dieting is not the way to do it. The situation is worsened by the fact that the American public is becoming increasingly aware of the hazards of overweight, and that teenagers, tend to be very obsessive about body image. A number of these children are also supplementing their diets with over-the-counter weight-loss aids. This can be a deadly combination."
Lucinda Hocking, Outreach Coordinator for the CHILDREN'S INTERNATIONAL OBESITY FOUNDATION, a Founding Benefactor of the LIFE LINKS Project, is particularly concerned with such radical notions as the recently popularized 1,800 calorie-per-day diet, which is limited to the fare served at McDonald's restaurants.
Ms. Hocking said, "Everyone seems to understand the basic premise that if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. But these kids are overlooking the same physiological facts as their parents tend to when they try desperately to lose weight in a hurry. These "diets" do not contain adequate nutrients to maintain a decent standard of health - especially in growing kids. Most of what these teens ingest will be loaded with salt, sugar and a host of more dangerous chemicals that can wreak havoc on their physical and psychological health. And a nutrient-starved body tends to be immunologically compromised, so these children are increasing their chances of getting seriously ill.
"The saddest surprise is the body's instinctual response to starvation. It begins to slow down to 'conserve fuel'; it begins to recalibrate its temperature, its pulse rate, its blood pressure. Certain organs vital to the body's filtration, including the kidneys and liver, can actually begin to shut down. Some of this damage may be irreversible.
"Ultimately, when the discouraged and fatigued teen quits the diet, the body's cellular and systemic memory of the starvation episode will cause it to actually gain weight, and with a vengeance. The body, which has been injured, stores up extra food as a pre-emptive defense against another anticipated episode of starvation. A non-nutritious starvation diet almost never achieves any lasting results."
Felix Urrutia, Jr., Executive Director of POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE (PAL) of New York, also a Major Supporter of the LIFE LINKS Project, said, "It's terribly ironic, given the economics of poverty. The kids in the inner-city areas, the ghettos, the barrios...they are on that "McDonald's diet" or something worse all of the time. The saddest thing is that they subsist on the cheapest, least nutritious foods because they are economically unable to afford to eat better quality meals. This puts them at a psychological and physical disadvantage. There are children who come to PAL for their only nutritious meal of the day. This is truly heartbreaking, especially in a civilized country filled with so many generous people."
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