What Are the Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss?

What Are the Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss?

Being overweight can place unreasonable physical demands on the human body.

Losing weight rapidly can also create physical demands that are difficult. Although losing weight is a priority for many people right now, shedding those pounds too quickly could create more health problems.

One of the biggest risks of losing weight to quickly is the formation of gallstones in the gall bladder. Up to 1 in 4 people who lose a large amount of weight over a period of several months will develop this health issue. In serious cases, surgery may be required to remove the organ to prevent a potentially life-threatening condition.

If you’re considering a “detoxification” or a “crash diet,” here are some of the dangers which you and your doctor should prepare for before you get started.


What Are the Common Side Effects of Losing Weight Quickly?


When losing weight, there are several common side effects that may be experienced. Some of them may be uncomfortable, but can be managed over time.


  • Headaches. Many people experience a headache when losing weight. This may be from caffeine withdrawal, hunger, dehydration, or the process of the body removing toxins from the system.
  • Irritability. When people get hungry, they tend to get angry. Changing personal eating habits can also disrupt sleep patterns, causing higher levels of fatigue, that contributes to increased irritability.
  • Dizziness. Blood pressure changes can occur when restricting calories or increasing the amount of exercise that is received. Lower blood pressure can create dizziness when standing up too quickly. Lower blood circulation levels can also cause this feeling from time to time.


It is also quite common to experience constipation and hair loss when dieting. For those who are trying to lose weight quickly, there is an equal chance that muscle tissue will be consumed for energy just as fat cells will be consumed.

These common side effects appear more often when a rapid weight loss effort is prolonged. Those who consume no proteins while on this diet have the greatest level of risk for experiencing these unwanted symptoms.


More Serious Side Effects of Rapid Weight Loss


Outside of the gallstones that may form when losing weight quickly, there are 3 potentially serious side effects that may also appear.


  • Electrolyte Imbalance. This side effect isn’t usually life threatening, but it can cause unwanted physical symptoms. Involuntary muscle twitching, a lack of energy, and other physical changes can occur with this issue.
  • Malnutrition. If someone is not eating protein for an extended period to lose weight, this can cause malnutrition to occur. This creates a “wasting” effect within the body that can cause more harm than being overweight.
  • Dehydration. Because water weight creates an immediate change on the scale when it is lost, many people focus on purging fluids from their body to “kickstart” their dieting plan. Purging fluids can quickly lead to dehydration and that can cause anything from fatigue to kidney problems.


Should I Be Losing Weight Quickly?


In a perfect world, a good dieting plan would be to lose about 1 pound per week.

In the real world, the health consequences of obesity often have more potential dangers than what may happen when experiencing a rapid weight loss.

For this reason, if you’re looking to lose weight rapidly, a very-low calorie diet that is doctor-supervised in the best option. If you can complete a 12-week program, it is possible to produce a weight loss of up to 1/4 of your current body weight.

That means someone weighing 300 pounds could complete the program in 3 months and potentially weigh 225 pounds.

Starving is never a good idea, especially if your body is not used to fasting. By controlling what you eat, however, and speaking with your doctor about your plans, it is possible to achieve the weight loss you want without many of the negative side effects that come with rapid weight loss.

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