Summertime weight loss and record-high temperatures in Europe could create health risks for those who engage in intense fasting and exercise routines. Dr Karolina Bauraitė, a bariatric dietician at Nordbariatric Clinic, explains why a balanced diet and hydration are vital during a heat wave.
A heat wave of varying but high intensity has been affecting parts of Europe, resulting in wildfires, evacuations, and heat-related fatalities.
Although the media is keen to offer advice on how to quickly slim down for the summer and achieve the ideal “beach body,” this might not be a good idea in the current climate.
Dr Karolina Bauraitė, a bariatric dietician at Nordbariatric Clinic, a leading international bariatric centre for medical tourists in Kaunas, Lithuania, warns that a quick weight reduction could be harmful. She notes that staying hydrated and following a balanced eating regimen is key to staying safe in the high temperatures.
Rapid summertime weight loss poses health risks
Weight loss usually takes extraordinary efforts in diet and exercise — which could be unhealthy and difficult to maintain as permanent lifestyle changes. Many negative effects — including headaches, nausea, and dizziness can arise from losing weight too rapidly, especially when starvation techniques are used.
“One of the main risks is dehydration. Ensuring adequate fluid intake is crucial. Sweating becomes more intense in the summer, which is one of the ways in which the body loses fluids,” explained Dr Bauraitė.
“Failure to meet nutrient requirements can also expose the patient to malnutrition or the risk of it. At any time of the year, it is important to choose a balanced diet that supports health. It is also advisable to enrich the diet with specific vitamins and minerals when needed, such as after gastric reduction surgery.”
Rapid weight loss has also been linked to higher rates of gallstone formation. As the liver produces more cholesterol for the bile during fasts or longer starvation periods, it interferes with the gallbladder’s ability to empty properly.
Maintaining a health-friendly routine is key
Since rapid weight loss poses possible health risks, Dr Bauraitė suggests having a nutritious diet instead.
“Maintaining a food regimen is crucial. It is advised to have well-balanced main meals and 1-2 pre-planned snacks. Haphazard snacking should be avoided, as snacks frequently mask the feeling of thirst. Therefore, getting enough liquids will not only stop dehydration but also stop weight growth.”
While diets should remain tailored to the individual patient’s needs and overseen by a professional, it is advisable to enrich the diet with vegetables and to maintain as much food variety as possible.
“Replace sugar-laden desserts or soft drinks with fresh berries and fruit. Sweet and fatty desserts can cause unpleasant symptoms in certain cases, so make them at home and include fresh berries or fruit as an alternative. It is also important to consume sufficient fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages,” concluded the expert.
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