Severely restricting your calorie intake puts you at risk of electrolyte imbalances, which can impact heart and muscle function. WebMD explains that electrolytes are minerals, such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium, that carry electric charges when dissolved in liquid, such as your blood. Electrolytes play a vital role in many processes, including regulating your heart rhythm and helping to control muscle function.
When you lose weight too quickly as a result of removing foods from your diet that provide essential minerals, you put your health at increased risk. For example, low levels of electrolytes can negatively affect your muscle function, leading to spasms, cramps, reflex issues, and, in extreme cases, paralysis. Regarding your heart, low phosphorus levels are linked to a higher risk of heart failure, seizures, and even coma.
If you combine intense exercise with a restrictive diet, losing water will further increase your loss of electrolytes, according to Piedmont Healthcare. Symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance include dizziness, cramps, an irregular heartbeat, and mental confusion. So, hydration is important for maintaining electrolyte levels. Nonetheless, the best approach to ensure you have the proper amount of minerals while trying to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet. Some foods that can help maintain your mineral levels include spinach, which is rich in magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A and K, lentils, which contain magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, and dried apricots, which are a great source of potassium (per WebMD).