Five Diet Traps that Could Weaken Your Athletic Performance and Harm Your Health

It’s easy to fall into a diet trap with the promise of obtaining that perfect shape without the hard  work that it usually entails. Most of us have seen advertisements for diets that promise miracles, but unfortunately, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Many of these diets can not only weaken athletic performance and leave you without the energy you need just to get through the day, but they can have serious risks to your health, including death.

Low calorie or no calorie diet

A very low calorie diet, meaning less than 1,200 calories for women or 1,500 for men, each day leads to a vicious cycle. Starvation diets lack the nutrition your body needs to perform its daily activities, in addition to slowing your metabolism to a halt. Your body will get the message that it’s starving, lowering your metabolism and eventually causing you to regain the weight and then some.  This kind of diet doesn’t provide the nutrients you need, making you feel sluggish and with little energy to exercise or participate in any physical activity, serving to slow your metabolism even further.

Skipping breakfast

It’s often said that the morning meal is the most important of the day, but the message still hasn’t sunk in with many people. Not only does skipping breakfast increase the chance that you’ll reach for an unhealthy snack, but eating breakfast is what helps to fire up your metabolism and increase the amount of calories that you burn through the day.  Your body needs the morning meal to replenish its energy levels, and without it your athletic performance is sure to suffer.

The “diet soda” diet

More than a few people have tried to lose weight by drinking diet soda throughout the day instead of eating a balanced meal. Unfortunately, there is an increased risk of 41% for each can or bottle of a diet soft drink that a person consumes each day. Not only are you not getting the nutrients your body needs, the artificial sweet taste will actually make your body crave more calories. By offering your body something that tastes like a lot of calories, your body gets the message that there is something there and will continue to search for the calories.

In addition, diet soda can have harmful effects such as bone loss, kidney damage and tooth enamel damaged. This is not the way to train your body if you hope to maintain or increase athletic performance.


There is no magic pill that will help you achieve overall health, lose weight or suddenly have a perfect figure.  Ephedrine was touted as a healthy way to lose weight because it came from a naturally-occurring alkaloid that is derived from the plant Ephedra, but the side effects included an increased heart rate, high blood pressure, insomnia, headaches and even chest pain.  It can also lead to strokes, seizures and even death. Illegal drugs like cocaine and speed can cause severe heart, brain damage or death, and is definitely not the way to go if you hope to live a long, and healthy, life.


It’s hard to believe that there are actually a large number of websites dedicated to intentional vomiting or purging. No one, including athletes, should ever consider this “diet” as an option for losing weight. It can lead to bulimia and ultimately cause life threatening medical complications, including dehydration and lowered potassium levels that lead to weakness, irregular heartbeat and heart failure.  In addition, forced vomiting can cause the esophagus to rupture.
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