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Debunking the GM diet and why it doesn’t work?

Posted on July 07 2020

Debunking the GM diet and why it doesn’t work? | Roshni Sanghvi

Time to Read: 6 Minutes 30 Seconds

What is the GM diet?

GM diet was introduced by the employees of the company General Motor, in order to get in shape. This diet focuses around 'quick weight loss' but could have serious consequences on your health.

The meal plan is only one week long but quite challenging. This diet particularly allows unlimited quantity, however the restriction prevails on the type of food to have.

This diet was created by General Motors in 1985, to deal with weight loss issues of their employees. It gained popularity when a lot of employees surprisingly made it through the week and lost weight! So what was this magical meal plan?

  1. Day 1: Fruit day except bananas and juices
  2. Day 2: Vegetable day
  3. Day 3: Fruits and vegetables day except bananas and fruit juices
  4. Day 4: Bananas, milk and soup
  5. Day 5: Brown rice, tomatoes and lean protein
  6. Day 6: Brown rice, veggies and lean protein
  7. Day 7: Fruits juices, Brown rice, veggies and lean protein

Now, a lot of sources have been mentioning this as a detoxifying diet, however the science behind it stays unmentioned. Lets explore the effects of this type of eating pattern on your body.

 Why is it a stupid diet?

It is restrictive.

I mean come on, how many fruits will you eat per day!? One apple is less than hundred calories and average caloric intake for a healthy person is close to 2000. Even if someone told you to have unlimited apples, how many would you have? Everybody has a basic maintained calorie level, calories that our body needs to function. GM diet, even though doesn’t restrict calories (that is why it seems easier) it highly restrictive. As fruits and vegetable are low in calories and high on fibre.

Restricting your calories can decrease your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle mass. This makes it more difficult to maintain your weight loss in the long term. Which explains why researches prove that, more than 80% of people regain weight once they go off their calorie-restricted diets. The weight gain is almost instantaneous. But the metabolic damage even a weeks worth caloric restriction does on your body could have lasting effects. Lowering metabolism boosts the cortisol (stress hormone) in your body and puts your body in starvation mode. Cortisol in turn holds on to every calorie you consume and converts the same to fat you will carry on your belly. 

Deficiency of proteins, vitamin A, magnesium and calcium increases with low intake of whole grains, legumes, lentils, nut & seeds. This causes fatigue, migraines, loss of muscle mass, abnormal heart rhythms. A longer duration continuation of caloric deficit can lead to nutrient deficiencies.

A diet with restricted calorie especially on high level of physical activity days, affects, immunity too.

It is non- scientific.

Would you donate your body for a COVID test vaccine before you have enough proof that there wont be any side effects? Well then why would you want to follow a meal plan with no scientific basis. Your body is not a guinea pig, do not treat it like one. 

Scientifically, a GM diet calls for a huge caloric deficit. Equivalent to scenario where, one doesn’t exercise in their lives and suddenly wakes up to wanting to climb the Everest.

Cutting all forms of fibrous carbs, good fats and healthy proteins drastically from your diet is very unhealthy. The 'fast weight loss' ideology through diet is achievable, but what one needs to understand is your goal shouldn’t be reaching a certain number on the weighing scale but it should be fat loss. Chemotherapy helps in losing weight- would you go for chemo though? Cutting of a limb also helps in dropping the number on the scale- but please, please don't try that.

It is nutritionally insufficient.

Many of us agree that salt can be a slow poison so many of us opt to avoid salt or switch to pink salt. But not all of us know that iodized salt is one of the few ways for vegetarians/ vegans to get iodine. Especially in India where we do not eat sushi and see food often (another source of iodine). So cutting salt form the diet overnight without thinking about the consequence would be foolish and lead to low BP (effects of iodine deficiency). 

Same way, cutting out things from our diet without knowing the consequences can have grave impacts. 

Essential fats like Omega 3s help maintain eye health, promote brain health and fights inflammation. Specifically, for children omega3s protect from impulsive and hyper brain activities, asthma. Helps reduce fat in liver, reduce blood pressure, prevents blood clots and maintain good cholesterol levels in adults.

These essential fats from nutritious foods are important and can’t just be replaced with tablets.

Psychological effects of crash diets.

As if causing your body to devour its own muscle tissue wasn’t bad enough, diets that demand higher caloric deficit impact our mood, causes irritability and anxiety.

Remember the drowsy feeling in the mornings where you eagerly wait for your favourite drink to get you back into your head. Or the days when you get up excited for your breakfast or social gatherings? Mere thought of food makes you happy or give you a sense of comfort. Caloric restrictions, discouraging your food desires and undernourishment of your body causes a decline in brain function. Lethargy, negative mood state and depression are triggered with heavy caloric restrictions, as these leave you hungry day and night.

Food a key component of our cultures and lifestyle. Besides mood swings, you also leave yourself vulnerable to developing an eating disorder like anorexia, food aversion, negative associations with food or bulimia. Food is much more than calories and a few kilo's of the scale 'quickly' is not a fair trade to losing your mental health. There are healthier ways to lose those few kilo's anyways so why not adopt a healthy nutritional plan, make sustainable lifestyle changes and be consistent instead.

Gallstones

No kidding! Quick weight loss from very low-calorie diets is thought to impact the salt and cholesterol contents of bile and the emptying of the gallbladder, both of which can contribute to gallstones.

Taking educated risks for attainable targets, needs to be the rationale behind every diet. You want to pick a meal plan that is less intensive and more effective. 'Quick result plans' often end up damaging and do not work in the long run.

If after dropping the meal plan you end up in the same place (weight-wise),why take the risk of having to deal with a gallbladder issue. Instead, vow to make a few lifestyle changes here and there to see sustained progress that lasts a lifetime. 

 Hair loss/thinning

A variety of healthy proteins in your diet help improve the production of amino acids needed to produce keratin. Keratin is important for hair and its nourishment. GM or any crash diet that calls for reduction on proteins, affects the hair drastically.

Hair loss and texture thinning is anyways a common problem in today's stressful and fast paced life. Adding up to it with a restrictive dirt can worsen the damage.

Proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin D on any given fad diet are under the recommended levels in our body. Even if you plan to make a temporary switch to a fad diet, why risk it with hair loss. After all, temporarily losing inches on the waist while losing hair is not the perfect solution.  

But then how do I lose weight?

What a GM diet does is essentially focusing on eliminating processed foods and sugar. Just by cutting down on processed foods that contain a lot of diary and fats and switching to natural sugars i.e. fruits can by itself make a vast difference to how you feel.

The GM diet seems appealing because of its short duration. But is it really worth it? The reality and facts are now ahead of you. And if there really was a diet this easy, everyone would be skinny and fit.

For a customised and sustainable meal plan to help you get in shape, check out my Gold Plan.

 

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