Starvation diets are becoming more and more popular.

There are crazy diets out there that include the hospital diet. The crazy diet of cotton wool etc.

This is absolutely crazy stuff and only has negative health consequences.

Minnesota Starvation Experiment

One of Ancel Keys’ less known experiments is the Minnesota Starvation Experiment. It was an experiment done by Keys to determine the effect of food deprivation and weight loss. The experiment lasted six months and was conducted in 1944. Men were restricted to a total of between 1500 and 1600 calories a day and they were encouraged to keep up their level of activity.

This would fall in to line with many crash diets that we see floating around in the media today. The diet they were provided with was a starchy diet consisting of little other than turnip, potatoes, cabbage and bread. Similar in many ways to the high carbohydrate diets today.

The result

The results of the diet on these men were that they had lost a quarter of the original body weight. Along with nearly all of their mental bearings.

The was some very scary psychological shift among these men during the diet as they progressively lost more and more weight. They developed depression, hypochondria, obsession and even compulsive self-mutilation.

They lost all their strength along with their libido.

Their only concern was food and where could they get it.

After the starvation process the re-feeding was even more brutal. This was to the amazement of the study conductors. When the re-feeding started the men developed even worse psychological neuroses.

Where to now?

So this experiment failed in its original goal but has shed a lot of light on physiology and psychology of eating disorders. Along with other situations of energy deprivation.

Healthy nutrition is not about starving yourself on crazy crash diets. Then purging yourself on the same rubbish that made you fat in the first place.

We need to use a more sustainable model where we develop sustainable eating habits that lead to a healthier life. It is a longer process requiring more effort and commitment in the beginning. However the results are life changing and life lasting.

 


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