New York, (PressExposure) July 03, 2008 -- Lucinda Hocking, Outreach Coordinator, is particularly concerned with such radical notions as a 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 preemptive defense against another anticipated episode of starvation. A non-nutritious starvation diet almost never achieves any lasting results.
"It is the consensus amongst professionals, and amongst the team at CIOF, that lasting, healthful weight loss can only be accomplished through a judicious and medically-supervised combination of reduced caloric intake, better nutrition, more exercise and other healthy habits which must be cultivated and consistently followed over time.
A reduction in caloric intake of 3,500 calories per week can result in a weight loss of one pound. It doesn't seem like much, but losing one pound per week is a far safer course to take than any type of fad or crash diet. It adds up."
CHILDREN'S INTERNATIONAL OBESITY FOUNDATION advises parents and friends of teens to discourage them from any drastic type of dieting. It takes patience, but a slow, steady course to sensible weight loss (barring a situation of morbid obesity, which may require surgical or other intervention) yields better, longer-lasting results, with much less risk of damage to a growing person's body or psyche.