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Risks lurk in unbalanced diet, expert warns

By Xu Zhesheng | | Updated: 2024-04-20 14:11
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As the summer heat approaches, "losing weight" has become a top priority for many. But a new fad diet called the "life-sustaining meal" is sparking debate over its effectiveness and health risks.

The diet, characterized by its focus on convenience, speed, and extreme simplicity, involves meals like apples with coffee, boiled corn with eggs, or a box of raw lettuce. While some, like office worker Liu Xiao, find it appealing for its time-saving and weight-loss potential, experts warn that it's not suitable as a long-term dietary approach, according to a report from Red Star News.

Liu, a resident of Chengdu, Sichuan province, who had been following the diet for over a month, claimed to have lost 4 kilograms by eating bananas with soy milk for lunch and vegetables or shredded cabbage with sauce for dinner. She said it allowed her to maintain her body functions while saving time and effort.

Others, like Dong Yi, who works in e-commerce, adapted the diet for fitness purposes, using meals of corn, tomatoes, cucumber, and boiled eggs to support muscle gain.

The "life-sustaining meal" has gained traction on social media platforms like Xiaohongshu, where related posts reach 60,000, and Weibo, with related topics exceeding 100 million views.

However, Liang Qingyue, a nutritionist at the Chengdu Seventh People's Hospital, expressed concerns about its long-term health risks.

She pointed out that the low calories and limited nutritional elements in this diet can lead to various health problems like decreased metabolism, weakened immunity, increased susceptibility to colds, hair loss, and insomnia. The lack of carbohydrates can negatively affect brain function, leading to fatigue and reduced productivity.

Furthermore, the diet's emphasis on raw and cold food may lead to vitamin deficiencies, as fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E are better absorbed after being processed.

Liang recommended alternative approaches for weight loss, including incorporating whole grains like corn, potatoes, and purple sweet potatoes into the diet, opting for cooking methods like steaming or boiling, and adjusting the meal order by prioritizing vegetables over carbohydrates.

While the "life-sustaining meal" may offer short-term benefits in terms of convenience and weight loss, its potential health drawbacks cannot be ignored. Individuals considering this approach should consult with healthcare professionals to ensure a safe and balanced dietary plan, she said.

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