What Is an Emergency Diet? (with picture)

Tara Barnett
Tara Barnett
An emergency diet aims to cause extreme weight loss in a short period of time.
An emergency diet aims to cause extreme weight loss in a short period of time.

An emergency diet is a diet that is designed to result in weight loss extremely quickly. Some people use this term to talk about changes that might be made to a diet immediately after overindulging in order to compensate for excess calories. Most of the time, this type of diet is thought of as a way to lose a large amount of weight for a specific event, such as a photo shoot or a competition. Losing weight this way is almost always unhealthy, and any form of starvation diet should not be undertaken without the recommendation of a physician.

When a person sets out to lose weight, it is important to have reasonable goals and a healthy time line. In contrast, an emergency diet is a weight-loss plan that ignores well-known health risks of losing weight quickly and allows a person to lose large amounts of weight by starving. Many people think of this type of diet as a way to kick start weight loss, but in truth starving one's self almost always leads to weight cycling.

Most emergency diets are designed to take one or two weeks. The diet may include cleansing, fasting, or drastic calorie reduction. Typically, the food that is eaten during the emergency diet is low in carbohydrates and sodium, and sugar is almost always absent. Depending on the philosophy of nutrition in which the dieter believes, the diet may be composed entirely of raw foods, or it may be very high in protein.

It is important to note that a diet of this type can sometimes be prescribed when weight loss is direly needed for health. People who are severely overweight may sometimes lose what appears to be a large amount of weight quickly without health risks, but a person who is relatively healthy can typically manage only small amounts of weight loss at a time. For this reason, it is important to consult with a doctor before making weight-loss plans.

Emotionally, an emergency diet can be extremely taxing. People who are starving themselves are often irritable and irrational and may experience extreme fatigue that prevents the body from accomplishing other tasks. In the most extreme cases, an emergency diet may lead to hospitalization, but the results of this type of diet are typically no more serious than binge eating that reverses the original weight loss.

People who engage in emergency dieting often find that the weight lost is impossible to keep off. Some diets of this type attempt to compensate for the drastic nature of the weight loss by slowly reintroducing healthy eating habits. Although this is sometimes effective, emergency diets are typically not permanent, and the weight must be lost again using a healthier method.

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    • An emergency diet aims to cause extreme weight loss in a short period of time.
      An emergency diet aims to cause extreme weight loss in a short period of time.