There are a plethora of weight loss diet trends that can be found in these days ranging from the popular vegetarian diet which eliminates the consumption of meat and seafood to the extreme diet trends like eating below 1,000 calories per day and the notoriously low-calorie liquid diet.
While there are certain cases in which these diets help to shed a few kilograms in a short of time, some of these diet trends are extremely unhealthy as it can lead to several health complications just like a woman from Wuhan, China who has to bear the ugly consequences of her strict diet regime.
According to Oriental Daily, the woman, Tan, who is in her 50s used to be overweight when she was in her 20s. She was reportedly weighing about 55k and standing at 160cm tall, the woman was not happy with her physique so she decided to lose some weight by adopting a strict vegetarian diet.
As a result, she managed to lose 10kg and able to maintain her weight at 45kg.
“I stay away from meat and oily food. As such, my body weight dropped to 45kg and I’ve been maintaining this lifestyle for 30 years.”
Everything was fine until she felt something wrong with her body recently where she had a hard time to balance herself while walking. “Recently, I feel like my feet are uneven while walking, it feels like I’m stepping on some cotton. Plus, both my legs and hands often feel numb,” Tan said.
Worried about her condition, Tan came to the hospital for a check-up. Unfortunately, the doctor found out that her spinal neurons were greatly damaged. Her injuries surprised the doctor as the condition was often found in diabetic or malnourished patients
After several tests, the doctor discovered that Tan was suffering from severe vitamin B12 deficiency, an essential vitamin that is responsible for the proper maintenance and development of neuronal functioning
Tan had only 10 percent of vitamin B12 compared to an average, healthy person.
Vitamin B12 can be usually found in cheese, milk, eggs, meat, fish, seafood and poultry. Therefore, eliminating these foods from your diet can cause severe malnutrition to the body.
If the neurons are not maintained and developed well due to vitamin B12 deficiency, Tan may not be able to walk and may have to be bed-ridden for the rest of her life. Muscle atrophy, a condition where muscles slowly shrink and waste away may also occur in certain cases.
Vegetarians and other diets that exclude this consumption of foods are at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency and heart disease.
While it may lead to a successful weight loss, the doctor did not recommend practising this elimination diet for a long period of time
For some cases in which diets like vegetarian are practised due to health issues like allergies or religious reasons, it is advised for them to consume alternative foods that are fortified in vitamin B12 like cereals and soy milk or vitamin B12 supplements.
It is unclear if Tan’s spinal damage can be reversed through a healthy diet but we sincerely hope that she will recover soon.