7 Potentially Harmful Weight Loss Methods ...

Losing weight and being thin is such a big deal for many people. Whatever the reasons for wanting to lose weight (vanity or health), many people end up desperate for a quick solution. Luckily for them, there are a lot of weight loss treatments that offer fast results. But then again, are they really that lucky? Read on to find out about the possible dangers of some weight loss methods.

1. Smoking

Smoking is used by many to lose weight or to keep off the pounds because smoking is supposed to suppress hunger and keep the cravings at bay. This is a popular method used by those with eating disorders. However, for an extra 100 calories burned per day, your chances of getting lung cancer are greatly increased. You could also experience respiratory problems, bad breath, nicotine stains, dulled sense of taste and smell, and a whole myriad of other physical problems.

2. Starving or Fasting

Starving or fasting requires an individual to consume 500 or less calories each day. People occasionally resort to this weight loss method to counter overeating or any increase in food intake. There are also anorexics who continually starve themselves to the point where they are nothing but skin and bones. Prolonged fasting or starvation can severely lower your metabolism; you lose muscle and bone mass, as well as damage your internal organs; your energy and alertness greatly diminish; and you could even die.

3. Cleansing

Cleansing or detoxifying your body using certain juices, liquids, or light foods is said to help rid your body of toxins, as well as help you lose weight. There is a danger in this because the science behind this claim is not clear. Depending on the product and regularity of use, cleanses or detox can have negative effects such as damaged nerve cells in the colon wall, electrolyte imbalance, stomach cramping, bloating, diarrhea, liver toxicity, and even depression.

4. Water Therapy

Many claim that you can lose weight just by drinking water. It is supposed to lessen fat deposits, maintains the PH balance of our bodies, suppresses appetite, and regulates body functions. While all these may be true, there are people who take water therapy to the extreme and this is where problems begin. Drinking too much water can result in hyponatremia (dilution of sodium in the body), water intoxication, brain swelling, and even death.

5. Crash or Fad Diets

There are many crash or fad diets that claim to help achieve long term weight loss. Dieters lose weight by eating a certain type of food while restricting all others for a period of time. Usually crash diets lead to ketosis, a state wherein the body burns fat instead of carbohydrates. Some long term effects of ketosis are loss in muscle and bone mass, increase in enzymes, and kidney damage. You do lose weight (mainly water weight) with crash diets but you can easily gain it back. When you go on crash diets for too long, you risk experiencing weight loss plateau, additional weight gain, and even the yo-yo effect. You will also have nutritional deficiencies, damaged vital organs, and osteoporosis.

6. Herbal and OTC Supplements

Many weight loss supplements are partially regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t possible negative side effects from relying solely on them for weight loss. Overuse of herbal and over-the-counter supplements can cause adverse side effects such as headaches, nausea, sleeping problems, dependency (especially for laxatives), gastrointestinal (GI) problems, heart problems, overstimulation of the nervous system, liver damage, and death. The herbs may also counteract with any medication you are taking.

7. Bariatric Surgery

This is probably the most extreme method a person can utilize in the effort to lose weight. That is why this surgery is usually performed on obese individuals who need to lose hundreds of pounds. While most surgeries successfully help people lose weight without having a high mortality and morbidity rate, there are still some possible negative effects. Some of these are leaking at the surgical site, infections, hernia, blood clots, prolapsed of the stomach, and pneumonia. Nutritional deficiencies, digestive and gastrointestinal problems, and necessary food restrictions could also be experienced.

Take note that this post is merely for information purposes and you should consult your doctor for more questions on the things mentioned here. There are many factors that can contribute to you experiencing side effects and only your doctor can fully explain them. Remember that weight loss is not something that should be hurried because you are dealing with your body and wellbeing. You want to be around, alive and kicking, to experience the joys of having a healthier weight and body.

Top Photo Credit: Julia DeFoor