Teens Who Follow Extreme Low-Calorie Diets Are at a Higher Risk of Depression
It’s hard being a teenager. After all, there is a lot of pressure placed upon teens from their parents, teachers, and peers, and all of that pressure can make teens self-conscious of their looks. Plus, with social media promoting ideal body types, along with unrealistic expectations regarding what someone should look like, teens can feel even more insecure.
Oftentimes, teens will turn to extreme low-calorie diets in an effort to meet their idea of the perfect body. Unfortunately, this isn’t good for their growing bodies, which are still developing in various ways, and it also boosts their risk of suffering from depression.
What is the connection between extreme low-calorie diets and depression? Read on to learn more, especially if you are the parent of a teenager.
What Is Considered an Extreme Low-Calorie Diet?
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, a weight loss study titled the “Fast Track to Health” is facing a lot of criticism from experts because kids as young as 13 will be required to follow diets that will have them eating a very small amount of calories. Just how small? A mere 800 calories daily for a month. After that, half of the participants would perform alternate day fasting (taking in 600-700 calories per day three times a week), while the other half of the participants in the study will end up doing a year of low-calorie dieting.
Extreme Low-Calorie Diets, Depression, and Eating Disorders
Even though the study hopes to figure out what the right diet would be for a teen, the bitter truth is that these extremely restrictive diets can increase the odds that the teens will end up suffering from an eating disorder, depression, and issues with their weight. Adolescence is actually the time in someone’s life when the risk is highest for developing these problems as a result of dieting.
In fact, research has already shown that young people who severely restrict their caloric intake, as well as make it a point to skip eating meals, end up a whopping 18 times more likely to end up with an eating disorder compared with their peers who don’t bother dieting.
There’s a Smarter Way
Rather than encouraging teens to try extreme low-calorie diets, it is important to teach them about healthy eating, and how to create an eating plan that is nutritious and packed with foods that are natural, filling, and tasty. Beyond that, encouraging teens to stay active is also imperative, as establishing those habits early in life can help boost the odds that they will continue leading active, healthy lifestyles as they get older.