We all want to lose weight, and we want to do it fast! However, when it comes to weight loss, fast is not always good. Our body and its organs begin to make adjustments in order to help us function at the higher weight, and by losing it too quickly, we take a rather huge risk.
Also, in an effort to lose weight faster, we also begin to eat lesser, thus depleting our body of adequate nutrients. If you want to lose weight, a focused diet and exercise regimen can help you. What happens to the body when we lose weight too quickly?
Side Effects Of Losing Weight Quickly
1. Disturbed Body Equilibrium
All living beings are in a constant state of homeostasis or dynamic equilibrium. This is made possible by the salts, water, and minerals present in our body, blood and tissues included. When we go on a drastic diet to lose weight, we disturb this delicate balance. The thing about dynamic equilibrium is that it is dynamic- it is made possible by all our systems working together. When we try to force the body into something radical, we can be thrown off-track leading to anything from high sodium levels to low blood sugar.1
2. Metabolic Disorder
The very first priority of every metabolic system is to supply energy to essential functions. So when we starve ourselves in order to lose weight, our body tries to supply all the available glucose to the brain and blood cells. As a result, other body functions are damaged. In order to make up for this, and to preserve the proteins in the body, fatty acids and amino acids are used to generate energy. Over a period of time, this results in stress on the liver.2
Most of the weight you lose on a crash diet is water weight. When this is overdone, it can lead to dehydration. Your body cannot take the sudden loss of fats as well as loss of water. Dehydration can cause issues such as fatigue, headaches, and constipation. Frequent bouts of dehydration can lead to an impaired kidney function as well as kidney stones.
4. Stretch Marks
When you lose weight too quickly, the surest sign you can see is the appearance of stretch marks in areas where fat used to be deposited earlier.3 Arms, calves, thighs, etc. are some of the many places where these can appear, as is the tummy region. Usually, unless you have been anticipating them and thus have taken preventive measures, stretch marks are quite permanent. You may lose weight, but you might never be able to get rid of them.
5. Nutrition Deficiencies
When you are on a crash diet to lose weight, you may be losing some important nutrients as well. The diet that you follow may not contain all the necessary minerals and vitamins required for your daily activities. A diet that is less in iron causes anemia. Brittle hair, dull skin, and an impaired immune system are signs of undernourishment. Lack of calcium and vitamin D could lead to osteoporosis.
Due to the drastic changes in weight and metabolism, you are at risk for developing gallstones. Indeed, there is no one cause for developing these so if you develop them after a fad diet, that is probably the reason why.4
However, not all of it is bad. Some people in the morbidly obese category are asked to lose weight rapidly. However, this is always done under a doctor’s supervision and never on a fad diet. If this treatment has been prescribed to you, follow your doctor’s advice and remember to get all your blood marker tests done on time.
|↑1, ↑2||Jeremy M Berg, John L Tymoczko, and Lubert Stryer. Biochemistry, 5th edition. W.H. Freeman, 2002.|
|↑3||Piérard, Gérald E., Jean-Luc Nizet, and Claudine Piérard-Franchimont. “Cellulite: from standing fat herniation to hypodermal stretch marks.” The American journal of dermatopathology 22, no. 1 (2000): 34-37.|
|↑4||Should you lose weight fast? NHS Choices.|