If you are overweight or obese, it is certainly a good idea to go about losing weight in a healthy way. This means turning to a controlled diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and one that restricts your calorie intake but never goes below 1200 calories per day for women or 1500 calories per day for men.
You should also be getting plenty of water and ample exercise (cardio and strength).
Unfortunately, some men and women turn to fad diets and sometimes even dangerous pills and drinks when they want to lose weight. One thing that some individuals have tried is using laxatives for weight loss.
The truth is, laxatives and weight loss do not mix at all. Laxatives are a medicine that help form and move bowel movements through the colon. They can be administered orally or as a suppository. In some medical circumstances, laxatives are necessary and helpful. But they are only for extreme cases of constipation, never for weight loss.
What Are The Dangers of Using Laxatives For Weight Loss?
The following outlines the potential dangers and risks of using laxatives with weight loss:
- Dehydration or an altered level of minerals in the body
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dizziness
- Dependency that leads to inability to release body’s waste
- Heart problems, including lowered blood pressure and increased heart rate
- Kidney stones
What Causes Dehydration?
The first risk is dehydration. When you consume laxatives, it induces your colon and kidneys to release their waste but in a manner that is not natural to your body’s rhythm, so you will release more water and waste than you would naturally on a regular basis.
This makes you lose a small amount of weight, but it is only water weight. You lose the water weight you have (and that everyone, even people at a healthy weight have), and then you become dehydrated. This is dangerous for your body’s organs, and you might also alter the different levels of minerals that you have in your body.
Physical Side Effects
Once someone takes laxatives on a regular basis for longer than 3-5 days and becomes dehydrated, they may experience severe diarrhea from overuse. This can lead to nausea and even vomiting, which will cause further dehydration. All of this can lead to dizziness and fainting.
Dependency With Laxatives
Once an individual has taken laxatives for longer than a week, dependency can set in. This means that the body can sometimes no longer produce bowel movements on its own without the use of laxatives. The dehydration compounds this issue. Not being able to produce bowel movements but still consuming the same amount of food can lead to serious problems including severe discomfort, constipation and even stomach and colon ruptures.
Serious Heart And Kidney Problems
As dehydration continues and the body becomes dependent on laxatives to produce bowel movements, other serious health problems can occur, including heart and kidney problems. The kidney, which filters out water and retains essential minerals for the body can get out of balance.
Because the mineral levels can be out of balance, small kidney stones sometimes form and grow, which themselves are serious problems that result in patients having to have surgery. The heart can also develop an increased rate of pumping which can lead to dangerously low blood pressure levels and other cardiac problems.
Laxatives Are Ineffective For Weight Loss
In reality, even aside from all of the health problems that can ensue with the use of laxatives not for their intended purpose, these are not effective for weight loss anyway. Laxatives only make you lose weight initially, and then only 3-5 pounds. It is simply the water weight that you might lose with laxatives, and you will gain it back immediately, plus any further use will only cause the above mentioned medical problems.
And that’s why we think that the best laxatives for weight loss are the ones not used! There simply are no shortcuts when it comes to losing weight (although these things really can help). Remember that the best way to lose weight effectively and for good is with regular exercise and eating from a restricted calorie diet of healthy foods.