The GM diet is said to be a product of GM, a 7-day plan that the company came up with in the 1980s to help its staff members get into shape. Even though the diet is over 30 years old today, it still gets people all excited. (According to New York Times, it is a myth that the GM company is behind this diet.)
Who wouldn’t want to lose weight in 7 days without compromising their health?
Just like any diet that requires you to alter your eating regimen in a short span, this plan has side effects. In principle, the GM diet is designed to increase your ability to burn fat – through the consumption of selected food items – and rejuvenate your digestive system.
Will this type of diet bring you only benefits or are there any side-effects and dangers you should know about? The answer to this question lies ahead.
GM DIET SIDE EFFECTS & CONS
The GM diet is not sustainable over a longer period of time, seeing as it restricts the intake of many crucial nutrients. It is especially not suitable for those trying to gain muscle as the food proportions and types are not ideal for proper bone & muscle formation.
1. WEAKNESS & MUSCLE LOSS
One of the primary shortcomings of this diet is the minimal amounts of protein allowed per day. The first few days of the diet restrict the intake of protein, and so you can expect muscle loss, and even the meals that follow the first 72 hours are not enough to sustain muscle content.
Your body needs at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of body weight, a provision that is sadly not met on the GM diet. Proteins are not only the building blocks of your muscles, but they are important for every part of your body. Failing to consume enough of them is setting yourself up for failure, starting from weak and drastically reduced muscle mass.
To read more about negative side effects of not getting enough protein from your food, check this article: 8 Signs and Symptoms of Protein Deficiency
2. DIZZINESS & HEADACHES
The first three days may be characterized by incessant thirst, even after drinking enough water, and dizziness due to the reduced portions of food.
Your body will crave for more food and will, therefore, use the water consumed to carry out digestive functions. The body may be near dehydration if you don’t drink enough water. Naturally, hunger pangs will strike before the body gets used to the reduced food portions.
Headaches often happen because of low blood sugar, blood sugar swings or due to imbalance in electrolytes.
As you will reduce calories during this diet, your body might have difficulties maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar and this may lead to headaches. Make sure to check out these tips here to fix this issue: 7 Weight-Loss Headache Fixes
3. LOWER LEVELS OF ENERGY
Some sources say you can exercise while on this diet, but that is not practical. You will be weak from not eating enough food, and so your body won’t perform optimally. You could do a few workouts that do not strain you too much.
However, weightlifting and intensive cardio could have you reeling and feeling too dizzy for a comfortable weight loss. One more thing about working out.
A standard recovery meal should include carbohydrates for strength and protein for muscle nourishment. Those two are missing in a GM diet, so your body breaks down muscle in search of protein to nourish it. In the end, you are better off not working out at all while following this meal plan.
4. SLOWER METABOLISM
Even though vegetables and fiber are drivers of the metabolic system, lack of protein causes muscle degradation. Your muscle plays a vital role in metabolism, so you want to keep the levels up to par.
Protein is also the building block of hair follicles, and less of it means dull hair and skin. When your metabolism slows down, you will have a hard time losing weight, and more-so after resuming regular eating.
To boost your metabolism after period of dieting, check out these tips here: 10 Easy Ways to Boost Your Metabolism (Backed by Science)
5. EVENTUAL WEIGHT GAIN
You won’t be on this diet forever, and when you start to eat regular meals this could lead to weight gain. The GM diet is best regarded as a detox that helps get rid of toxins, but it is not sustainable in the long run.
You can use it as a way of jumpstarting weight loss too, but resuming regular eating will lead to all that weight coming back. The body will hoard what you eat in anticipation of starvation, and all that food will later be converted into fat.
That is why you need to take extra care to avoid eating any junk food and focus on high-fiber foods as well as healthy snacks in case you have sugar cravings.
6. REQUIRES STRONG WILLPOWER
I won’t lie to you. Dieting is hard, strict dieting is even harder. Restricting carbs and eating a low amount of foods and calories is one of the hardest things that require strong discipline.
You have to stick to a plan you usually won’t like. That is why you need to be highly motivated and maintain strong willpower to follow strict rules. Otherwise, you won’t see results and that could turn into lack of motivation in your future dieting efforts as well as self-doubt.
If you struggle with discipline and motivation to get fit, check out these awesome tips here: 16 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight
7. THERE IS LITTLE TO NO EXERCISE
There is little to no exercise allowed during this diet as you will feel fatigued and drained. A minimal amount of “sweating” might lead to slower weight loss. If you want to speed up fat loss on the GM diet, you should walk throughout your day, as this will no doubt burn more calories and won’t leave you extremely tired or exhausted.
Other forms of light physical activities you could try include light jogging, playing with kids, light aerobics, or light jumping. However, for a successful long-term weight loss, you should also incorporate some form of resistance workouts and exercises. This is why the GM diet is only good from the short-term perspective.
If you still want to exercise during this diet, then get inspiration from these workouts here: 21 Low-Impact Workouts That Are More Effective Than You Think
8. RESTRICTION OF SEVERAL NUTRIENTS
Another downside of restriction based diets is the fact that you are missing some of the important nutrients your body needs to function properly. As mentioned in the points above, because you will eat only a limited types of food your body will miss protein (among other nutrients).
This is why this diet is not recommended as a long-term solution to your weight loss goals but only as a kick-start on your journey to a healthier, skinnier you. If you want to prevent nutritional deficiencies, you shouldn’t follow this plan for extended periods of time.
To discover the most vital nutrients your body needs for optimal health, consult this article here: 6 Essential Nutrients and Why Your Body Needs Them
9. THIS DIET MAY CAUSE DEHYDRATION
While dieting, you might lose lots of water weight as you will stay away from sugary candies and salty junk food. You will feel thirsty because your body will get into fat burning and detox phase.
To flush out toxins stored in fat, your body will need to use more and more water. As you can see, this is an easy way to get dehydrated. There is only one way to counter this – you have to drink a lot of clean water. Even more than the optimal recommended amount of half a gallon (2 liters) per day.
Did you know that to maintain proper hydration, you have to eat sufficient amounts of electrolytes? To find out more about them and which minerals you need to focus on, check out electrolytes & hydration.
10. CORTISOL WILL SKYROCKET
Did you know that dieting leads to increase in the bad hormone called cortisol? Too much cortisol circulating in your blood will lead to some serious side effects and may even cause the worst diseases in the long term.
These are the symptoms of too much cortisol:
- Rapid weight gain mainly in the face, chest and abdomen
- Puffy face and water retention
- High blood pressure
- Bruises and purple stretch marks
- Muscle weakness
- Mood swings, which show as anxiety, depression or irritability
- Increased thirst and frequency of urination.
Every diet will cause rise in cortisol levels and the GM Diet is no exception to the rule. For effective tips to reduce cortisol levels naturally, check out these awesome tips: 13 Proven Natural Ways to Lower Cortisol
11. HIGHER RISK OF HAIR LOSS
As with other diets out there, when you severely restrict nutrients and energy from food, there is a higher chance that you will start to lose hair. When your body starts to sense lack of energy and vital nutrients, protective mechanisms start and your body will focus more on surviving rather than growing new hair.
As pointed out by experts from DietDoctor.com if your body experiences significant stress, more hair than usual can enter the resting phase at the same time.
This can happen for many reasons:
- Starvation, including calorie-restricted diets and meal replacements
- Unusually demanding exercise
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Psychological stress
- Any big diet change
As you can see from the information above, dieting causes significant stress on your body and you can expect to lose some hair in the process. For tips on how to prevent this from happening. check out these tips here: How to Prevent Hair Loss When Losing Weight
BENEFITS & PROS OF GM DIET
The GM diet has many benefits for those who decide to follow it. After careful and thorough research, let me give you the most appealing pros of this diet:
1. GREAT FOR BODY DETOX
Did you know that this diet is really good for the detoxification of your body? You will stay away from bad foods that tax your liver, kidneys, and skin such as processed foods, unhealthy proteins, and insulin spiking carbohydrates for the first few days.
Another way this plan encourages healthy detox is by drinking two liters of water each day and consuming lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods are rich in fiber and will promote a healthy bowel movement as well.
2. GREAT FOR BOWEL MOVEMENTS
Proper hydration (remember you are drinking two liters of water per day) can help your body to fight constipation. Not only that, you will consume a lot of fruits and veggies that are rich in dietary fiber – a substance that helps to clean your digestive tract.
All this is a great way to restore healthy bowel movements.
As constipation is associated with the build-up of toxins in your body, you will improve your detoxication even more. Also, drinking that much water per day will help get rid of any toxins or bacteria that may be present in your urinary tract.
3. FAST WEIGHT LOSS
This diet has become popular mainly due to the fact that you can lose a substantial amount of weight in a record time of just seven days. Well, this statement is true but it depends on how well you stick to the main principles and rules of this diet.
Some people report that they lose around 3 to 5 kilograms (6 to 11 pounds) in 7 days, which is a truly significant number. Although most of this weight loss is usually caused by the release of retained water, this is great achievement nonetheless.
According to one study done with 133,000 participants in 2015, people with the highest intake of fruits and vegetables had the lowest risk of weight gain over the 4 year period.
4. GREAT FOR YOUR SKIN
As you consume fruits, vegetables and drink so much water, your skin will start to shine and look healthier. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which will help prevent skin damage caused by free radicals.
Not only that, veggies are an excellent source of minerals as well. Some of the best minerals found in many vegetables that are great for your skin are zinc, selenium, and sulfur.
By consuming vast amounts of vegetables you will receive these minerals and your skin will thank you for this, trust me.
5. YOU WILL FEEL ENERGIZED
Lots of people report feeling light, enthusiastic, and energized while following this diet so you can expect the same. Your body will really enjoy the vast amount of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals from healthy foods.
This will also reflect on your energy levels. Just keep in mind that drinking water is also bound to help you feel energized as dehydration is a known cause of lethargy and feeling weak.
6. IT TAKES 7 DAYS
One of the pros of this diet is the fact that it takes just seven days. Dieting for one week is quite manageable for every serious dieter out there. If you can’t stick to a diet that is this short, you should definitely work on your willpower.
Thanks to the fact that it lasts such a short amount of time, you will want to repeat GM diet over and over again as you will see the awesome results on the day number seven. The fact that this diet lets you pick among your favorite fruits and vegetables makes this plan less restrictive and easier to follow.
Just keep in mind that there are two sides of the story for almost everything out there. This is the same for the GM diet as it has not only benefits but also side effects.
LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL
If you have to use this diet to jumpstart weight loss, there are things you can do to avoid the negative backlash.
1. DRINK ENOUGH WATER
The recommended amount of water a day is at least 2 liters. Drink as much as possible to prevent dehydration and to make up for the loss of nutrients in your body. That should take care of dizzy spells and headache. Coconut water is rich in electrolytes which leave you energized.
2. LIGHT EXERCISES
Reducing your food intake drastically will have a negative psychological effect on you, and you can change that by performing light exercises. Walk from work or do a bit of light yoga to stretch and release endorphins.
The special GM soup that you are required to incorporate into your meal plan helps with hunger pangs as long as you distribute it properly throughout the day, say during lunchtime and dinner.
3. WATCH YOUR RE-ENTRY
There is not much you can do about lost muscle as long as you are on the GM diet, but you can make the process count by watching what you eat once the seven days end. How you resume your regular meals determines whether or not you gain the lost weight back.
That is why you need to avoid processed and junk food and you want to carry on with the vegetables and fruits. Also increase your intake of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbs. The best part? Hit the gym, your body can take it now.