Crash Diets and Heart Disease?

Q. My friend is trying a crash diet to lose weight, but I have heard crash diets can actually harm your heart. Is that true?

A. There are an endless number of fad diets marketed today. New variations are introduced every week. These diets all have one thing in common: they typically limit certain foods or entire food groups (carbohydrates, protein, etc) or focus on eating a particular food. All promise rapid and significant weight loss. None have been proven to offer long-term health benefits. Over an extended period of time, some diets have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and, possibly, some cancers. Additionally, most who use these diets regain their weight after the diet ends. The safest and most effective way to lose weight remains a sensible, well-balanced calorie-restricted diet, coupled with regular exercise. Unlike fad diets, this combination has been proven to reduce cardiac risks and improve quality of life.

C. Samuel Ledford, M.D., FACC


Chattanooga Heart Institute

2501 Citico Avenue

Chattanooga, TN 37404

Ph. (423) 697-2000