Always bear in mind that dieting is the polite term for ``deliberate starvation.'' Starvation in the interest of improved long-term health, to be sure, but starvation nonetheless. A balanced diet and a daily multivitamin guard against the obvious risks of starvation. Still, it's prudent to remember that burning fat is neither as efficient nor as healthy a way of fueling your body as eating a diet that matches your calorie needs, and to recognise that your defences will be lowered to some degree for the duration of your diet.
Burning fat makes up some of the deficit in calories, but not all. (It's an ongoing deficit that causes fat to continue to be burned.) Your metabolism reacts by slowing down, and in addition you'll have less fat to insulate against heat loss. You'll tend to get chilled more easily and, at the same time, your resistance to infection will be reduced. Play it safe: dress warmly, avoid getting chilled and, if possible, try to limit your exposure to people at the office who are passing around this season's cold. The middle of a diet is no time to be singin' in the rain, especially if it's chilly. If there's a really nasty 'flu going around or predicted for the season, you might ask your doctor about getting vaccinated against it.
The kind of moderate, pound a week diet we're talking about doesn't pose a serious health risk and in any case the benefits far outweigh the increased odds of ending up with a King Hell cold for a week, one you'd probably have caught anyway. But why take chances? It's in that vein you might consider putting down a 500 milligram Vitamin C tablet every day along with a regular multivitamin. In all likelihood the whole Vitamin C business is utterly bogus and ascorbic acid no more effective in preventing colds than peach fuzz. So if the suggestion seems appalling, ignore it. I'll confess to embracing this particular fad for a decade, but then what do I know? I haven't had a cold to speak of in ten years.
By John Walker