BBB21: 4 risks of food seesaw from the ‘xepa vip diet’ with episodes of restriction and eating

Weekly, BBB participants are in the ‘xepa’ and have a restricted diet while others, in the ‘vip’, can eat whatever they want. Twice a week there are plenty of parties. Outside the program, people experience similar episodes of restriction and abundance. What are the risks of this food seesaw?

Locked in a house guarded by cameras that reproduce the images nationally, the Big Brothers have to deal with some rules of the program, such as the struggle for some benefits, among them having more options for the food menu. Because of this, there is a separation of groups between those who will be in the vespa (and face dietary restrictions) and those who are in the vip (and can eat more abundantly). Weekly, there is an exchange, according to the choice of the leader. So it is common for some people to spend weeks on dietary restrictions and make up for it by eating a lot at parties, where food is free. But does this only happen at BBB? “Even more because of the pandemic, many people at home decided to go on a diet on their own and spend weeks in restraint and then eat at will, in episodes of compulsion. This seesaw can overload the body in several ways and worsen gastrointestinal and skin diseases and interfere with intestinal health. Healthy eating is a priority in times of pandemic. Trying to maintain a balanced, varied and as natural as possible diet, maintaining a routine respecting meal times, having meals preferably at the table with family members is highly recommended ”, says the medical nutritionist Dr. Marcella Garcez, director and teacher of the Brazilian Association of Nutrology (ABRAN). Below, she explains the dangers of alternating moments of great restriction and eating:

Gastrointestinal problems – The unbalanced diet, with episodes of scarcity and abundance, can cause some gastrointestinal problems, such as heartburn, abdominal bloating, flatulence, colic and reflux (especially when you eat too much) and constipation (when you eat little). “And there is a great chance of worsening gastritis when the two habits are mixed. This is because people who are in great caloric restriction, which is unsustainable for a long time, tend to eat large amounts of food at once, which impairs the protection of the gastric mucosa, altering the action of hydrochloric acid, naturally present in this organ, which can generate the inflammatory process known as gastritis. In addition, the nutritional imbalance with a deficiency of minerals and vitamins, present in fruits, vegetables and legumes, can interfere with the formation of hydrochloric acid ”, says Dr. Marcella Garcez. According to the nutrologist, in addition, the overload in foods considered more inflammatory (high glycemic index carbohydrates, sweets, fried foods, trans fats, chemical additives) has consequences that can impact the organism as a whole because the subclinical inflammation, which installs with excessive consumption of added sugars and unhealthy fats, increases the risk of metabolic, cardiovascular, inflammatory, degenerative and neoplastic diseases, and may even interfere with the intestinal microbiota, unbalancing this set of microorganisms that have several functions in the body, including immunological.

‘Pathogenic’ weight gain or drop – Nothing is better for losing or gaining weight than a balanced diet. “The loss of lean mass is a consequence of a great restriction, that is, a decrease in the muscles. Therefore, the weight loss process needs monitoring. When the great caloric restriction is done for a few days and accompanied by the ‘garbage day’, this food is generally more hypercaloric, rich in sugars and fats, and does not nourish the body in a healthy way. At the same time, the patient may feel guilty after that day of free feeding and return to a heavy restriction. This cycle tends to continue, always with inadequate compensatory methods to avoid weight gain, and causing several health problems ”, explains the doctor.

Skin, hair and nail changes – Spending too much time eating too little to lose weight can age the appearance. Ideally, any rapid weight loss or weight loss of more than 10% of body weight should be monitored by a physician. “Only in this way is it possible to rule out pathologies and deficiencies that aggravate the physical signs of unintended weight loss. As weight loss is not monitored on many occasions, nutritional interventions should be incorporated as soon as the aspect of premature aging or accelerated weight loss is noticed ”, says Dr. Marcella. “When we think about weight loss, we always think about the loss of volume and body fat, a slimmer body, more energy and a lost self-confidence that has now been regained. So far, so good, they are natural effects of the pounds lost. But a weight loss process also has implications for the face, after all we lose fat on the entire body, and that does not always please ”, says plastic surgeon Dr. Mário Farinazzo, Full member of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) and Chief of the Rhinology Sector at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). According to the plastic surgeon, excessive weight loss and unaccompanied causes a reduction in the volume that kept the skin more stretched. “With this reduction, there is a ‘leftover’ of the skin, obviously if we consider a significant loss of fat”, says the doctor. “This phenomenon is particularly more important in the face, being more significant in the lower third and in the neck”, says the expert. The accentuated flaccidity of the face and neck seems to be the clearest consequence, however, more wrinkles, more dark circles and changes in facial expression also appear. In addition, there is the problem of nutritional deficiencies. A diet with a very significant caloric deficit (that is, when the calories ingested are extremely lower than the metabolic rate) will bring results for weight loss, but it can cause serious problems to the body. “In addition to caloric deficit, protein deficit and low water intake are the food factors that most quickly negatively impact skin structures, but important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are essential for maintaining skin health, so there is no healthy skin without a balanced diet ”, says Dr. Marcella. But the problem does not stop there: the lack of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates of good quality also impact the health of the hair, scalp and nails. In contrast, the days of excess, filled with sugar lead to an exacerbated inflammatory profile, which can trigger or aggravate inflammatory skin diseases such as dermatitis and psoriasis. “Excess sugar in the diet can compromise the health of hair follicles, increasing the possibility of effluvium (hair loss). Too much sugar circulating is one of the factors that causes an imbalance in the organism’s microbiota as a whole and, consequently, a higher prevalence of atopy and proliferation of fungi that commonly reach the nails ”, says Dr. Marcella.

Immune system problems and signs of tiredness – The lack of micronutrients and fibers is common in an inadequate diet. This impairs the functioning of the organism and the balance of the intestinal microbiota, which destabilizes the immune system. “There are some signs that the body gives when it is lacking any of these micronutrients. For example, cramp can be common in people who are deficient in potassium. Anemia is caused by a lack of iron and Vitamin B12. The lack of proteins and carbohydrates can cause low energy and constant tiredness ”, says the doctor. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber, which stimulates the proper functioning of the intestine, improving immune health, and helps in the proper and easy digestion of food. “Fruits rich in vitamin C and potassium, such as apples, oranges and bananas, are particularly good for digestion. According to a study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, green leafy vegetables contain sulfoquinovose, a sugar that acts as an energy source for beneficial bacteria in the intestinal microbiota, forming a protective barrier that prevents growth and colonization by bad bacteria, that can cause colds, strains, abdominal pain and cramps ”, concludes the doctor.


* DR. MARCELLA GARCEZ: Nutrologist Physician, Master in Health Sciences from the School of Medicine of PUCPR, Director of the Brazilian Association of Nutrology and Professor of the National Course of Nutrology at ABRAN. The doctor is a Member of the Technical Chamber of Nutrology of CRMPR, Coordinator of the Academic League of Nutrology of Paraná and Researcher in Food Supplements at the Service of Nutrition of the Hospital do Servidor Público de São Paulo.

* DR. MÁRIO FARINAZZO: Plastic surgeon, Full member of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery (SBCP) and Head of the Rhinology Sector at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP). Graduated in Medicine at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), the doctor is a specialist in General Surgery and Plastic Surgery at the Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP), Professor of Face Trauma and Rhinoplasty at UNIFESP and Instructor Surgeon at Dallas Rinoplasthy ™ and Dallas Cosmetic Surgery and Medicine ™ Annual Meetings. Operates in Hospitals Sírio, Einstein, São Luiz, Oswaldo Cruz, among others.


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