Our bodies are constantly adjusting for minor changes to keep things running smoothly, but there are instances where change is too rapid and too drastic for the body to respond and regulate. This is particularly true when it comes to our electrolyte balance.
Electrolytes play a major role in keeping us alive since they provide the electrical current that allows our muscles, particularly the heart, to contract at the right speed. When there is a sudden decrease of food intake, there is also a sudden decrease in the electrolytes that our bodies are used to getting, particularly potassium and magnesium. If the body can’t handle the deficit, this can lead to impaired cardiovascular function and irregularities such as heart arrhythmias.
Just like electrolyte balance needs to be maintained, the amount of sodium in our body also needs to be regulated to keep our blood pressure at just the right spot: Too high and it can increase our risk for heart disease, too low and we can feel faint since oxygen isn’t getting to our cells quickly enough. So while there is talk about low-sodium diets, which are necessary for some, having too little sodium isn’t good either. During a crash diet, sodium levels in the body can plummet, which can make you tired, light-headed, and even cause fainting spells.