Starving yourself will do no good.image courtesy:Men's Fitness

There is a lot of talk about diets based on starvation mode diets. Starvation mode is what your body can go into if you don’t eat. While your body can adjust to a lack of nutrition it can only survive for a few weeks if you are also taking in enough fluids.

Health experts have stressed, time and again, on the damaging effects of skipping your meals.Now, scientists also support their claims. A new study, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biology, shows that starving yourself can cause the death of certain important cells in the body due to the lack of glucose and other important nutrients which can further destroy your immunity.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Cristina Muñoz-Pinedo, explains that usually the death of cells, also known as apoptosis, happens in a certain process of programmed way,when they are starved for the nutrients they require to function they may die unexpectedly and this can affect our immune system.Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes ( morphology ) and death.

The immune system is a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens,from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue.

Disorders of the immune system can result in autoimmune diseases,inflammatory and  cancer. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections.

In case of starvation, the cells activate certain ‘death receptors’ on their membrane which in a normal scenario are used by the lymphocytes of the immune system to fight and kill infectious cells.

Early symptoms include impulsivity, irritability, hyperactivity, and other symptoms.Atrophy (wasting away) of the stomach weakens the perception of hunger, since the perception is controlled by the percentage of the stomach that is empty.The energy deficiency inherent in starvation causes fatigue and renders the victim more apathetic over time.

Through their study, researchers have attributed the activation of these death receptors on the cell membrane to the workings of the endoplasmic reticulum which sends alarm signals due to the lack of nutrients that trigger these receptors to act. The endoplasmic reticulum is a cellular organelle which plays an important role in protein synthesis and lipid metabolism as well.

A lot of previous studies and cases have shown that prolonged starvation can cause permanent damage to your organs. When you starve yourself a few things happen. First, your body will go into starvation mode. When this happens your metabolism starts to slowly shut down.You make your body think that it may not get food for a while so it will fight to keep every calorie and ounce of fat.

Victims of starvation are often too weak to sense thirst, and therefore become dehydrated. All movements become painful due to muscle atrophy and dry, cracked skin that is caused by severe dehydration. With a weakened body, diseases are commonplace.

Starvation begins when an individual has lost about 30% of their normal body weight. Once the loss reaches 40% death is almost inevitable.

A starvation diet results in a great loss in muscle mass and water weight because of dehydration. This can slow down your metabolic rate and you are likely to feel more hungry and end up overeating or suffering deficiencies that can affect your day to day life.

So, starvation is never the solution. In fact, Celebrity Nutritionist Pooja Makhija suggests that you must eat to lose weight. Eating small meals frequently through the day keeps your metabolism up and helps burn more calories.

Starvation can alter body composition and processes that can jeopardize organ function and overall health. The effects created by it are irreversible and it is never recommended as a way to lose weight.


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