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How Can Rapid Weight Loss Backfire? The Side Effects of Losing Weight Too Fast


Most people are drawn to programs that promise fast results when it comes to losing weight. Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days, Drop One Size in 3 Days, Burn Fat Fast, and several other similar advertising slogans are often the most appealing to those desperately wanting to shed those extra pounds. But healthcare experts have an opposing view. They detest rapid weight loss programs and advocate the traditional slow and steady approach. As much as you dislike their viewpoint, they stand corrected because both research and evidence have proven, time and again, that losing weight too fast can be detrimental to health.

The Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss

In case you aren’t aware or have forgotten why the slow and steady approach is the best for weight loss, here’s a quick roundup of how losing weight too fast can harm you:

● Nutritional Deficiencies

Most often than not, rapid weight loss programs involve severely limiting or giving up on certain food groups. This means you could miss out on several key nutrients, eventually creating nutritional deficiencies in your body and causing more harm than good. Lack of carbs, for example, can make you feel lethargic. It also affects your mood and can cause anemia, constipation, and brittle hair. Giving up on dairy can lead to calcium and vitamin D deficiencies.

● Slowed Metabolism

Ever heard people complaining about how they eat very little but still gain weight? A slowed metabolism is often the culprit behind it.

Quick weight loss programs are significantly calorie-restricted. This may not pose any problem immediately, but it will eventually slow down your metabolism by putting your body in starvation mode. Slowing down the metabolism is the body’s way of conserving energy. But when this happens, your body burns lesser calories and clings more to fats. This makes weight loss harder. You need to eat even lesser calories to continue to lose weight. When that doesn’t happen (and it likely won’t, as it’s impractical), you start to gain weight.

● Dehydration

The immediate success that restrictive diets guarantee comes from losing water from your body and not fat that you (should) intend to burn.

When you put your body on restricted calories, it resorts to stored glycogen (a form of carbohydrate) to get energy. Every gram of glycogen carries three grams of water. Therefore, the burning of glycogen also leads to water loss. When this continues for several days, your body loses so much water that it dehydrates. Some side effects of dehydration include fatigue, constant headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps, and constipation.

Summing Up

These are just a few downsides of losing weight too fast. Increased cravings, loss of muscles, anemia, hair fall, impaired immunity, and poor mental health are some other common negative impacts of rapid weight loss.

Extreme diets and quick weight loss programs may live up to their claims of moving the needle down on the weight scale within the promised time. But that loss of pounds, more often than not, comes at the cost of health. Not only does rapid weight loss cause several health issues, but it almost always leads to rebound weight gain. Simply put, it’s not worth it. If you want to lose weight, do it the right (healthy) way. It may take a while before you can see results, but the weight loss won’t come with a range of side effects, and you will be more likely to maintain your new weight over time.

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