Starvation diet strips the body of essential nutrients –Nutritionist

A retired Director of Nutrition Services, Dr. James Oloyede has warned against skipping meals (starvation diet) as a weight loss strategy, noting that an ideal diet plays a crucial role in the body and promotes wellbeing.

Oloyede noted that starvation diet strips the body of the required nourishments and reduces metabolic.

According to the nutritionist, when it comes to weight loss, balanced diet plays a primary role as it ensures that an individual takes sufficient amount of calories for the purpose of providing the body with essential nutrients.

He explained that weight loss is not a short-term goal achievable with short-term dietary changes, but a gradual process that must include the right lifestyle approach.

Oloyede said simple exercises such as walking, jogging, running and skipping can also play a role in weight loss, as diet and exercise are like two sides of a coin.

He said, “Without any doubt, when it comes to losing weight, the food we eat is the primary thing to consider. Starving is never a wise move to consider for weight loss.

“There are required amount of daily calories allowed for consumption, but when there is excess calorie intake, weight problems start with its attendant consequences.

“To get rid of the excess weight, an individual can choose to eat fewer calories than the recommended daily allowance, as excess calories are stored as fat in the body and will be mobilised to supply the deficit leading to weight reduction.

“On the other hand, an individual may choose to exercise and in the process, burn part of the excess calories, thereby attaining weight reduction.”

According to Nicole Turner-Ravana, a weight loss coach in her article titled ‘Starvation Diet’ published on, not eating enough can slow the body’s metabolism, making it harder to lose weight.

She explained that the body can detect when there has been a shift in calorie levels and reacts accordingly.

“With severe food restriction, the body begins to conserve its fuel – store fat. The result is that you burn less calories and stop losing weight. Then, whether you are exercising, working or sleeping, you will burn fewer calories all day long. While “dieting” is supposed to mean deprivation and hunger, staying fed actually leads to more successful weight loss and maintenance,” she stated.

Highlighting some principles that can help an individual to maintain a healthy diet and achieve the desired weight, Oloyede said eating healthily should be the ultimate goal.

“Prepare your food and limit eating out. Stop excess consumption of processed foods and sugar. Avoid cooking with unhealthy oil (unsaturated oil). Eat whole grains more than processed ones and avoid snacks in between meals,” he said.

The nutritionist said a healthy plate should consist of half a plate of vegetables and fruits, while the other half should consist primarily of whole grains, plant protein sources, unsaturated plant oil and modest amounts of animal protein.

He added, “It is important to make healthy eating a lifestyle. This is vital because the food a person consumes tends to play a significant role on the health. It is also very important to eat right, moderately and ensure to eat at the right time.

“When considering losing weight, complement your healthy diet with exercises. In this way, eating healthy means you are taking a diet that is sufficient to provide the right amount of calories that will supply your body with essential nutrients required for proper functioning.

“Exercises on the other hand will ensure you engage in burning the already stored fat. Both practices, when combined will result in healthy weight loss.”

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