Laxatives are medicines that relieve constipation. However, if you believe that laxatives can help you lose weight, it is time to rethink that idea!
The only way one can feel thinner or lighter due to laxatives is due to the loss of water weight. Contrary to the popular belief, laxatives will not help you eliminate the calories, fat, or food but will remove electrolytes, water, fiber, and waste through the colon. Use them only if you have constipation as they are not helping you lose weight but are certainly affecting your health when used for weight loss.
Here are 4 reasons why you must switch to healthier weight loss solutions and not use laxatives for losing weight.
1. It Can Lead To Dehydration
Your body loses a lot of water when you take laxatives. They draw water into the intestines to make the stools softer. Although this helps the stools pass easily, it can result in dehydration if you don’t stay well hydrated.
Dehydration can lead to increased thirst, dry mouth, reduced urination, and lightheadedness. Additionally, if you are already suffering from dehydration, ask your doctor before taking laxatives, even for constipation.1
2. It Can Lead To An Electrolyte Imbalance
Electrolytes are minerals in your body that balance the amount of water in the body, ensure that your cells and organs are functioning normally, and balance the body’s pH levels.
When the amount of water in your body is too low or too high, it can lead to an electrolyte imbalance.2 Long-term use of laxatives can lead to an electrolyte imbalance as a lot of important electrolytes are lost along with the fluids. Electrolyte imbalance can cause seizures, weakness, vomiting, fatigue, and irregular heartbeat.
3. It Has A Temporary Effect
Using laxatives may show smaller numbers on the weighing scale, but only temporarily. The weight loss that you notice is only due to the water weight that the body loses with your stools. Once you drink more water, you will see that your weight is back to where it was.
Laxatives don’t help you burn or eliminate food before it is absorbed. They act on the large intestine and the calories are already absorbed by the small intestine. You are just harming your health for the temporary changes that take place. In fact, long-term use of laxatives can lead to constipation, that may add some pounds to your weight due to the stools that don’t leave your body.
4. Long-Term Use Can Increase Dependency
Using any medications or drugs for long periods will eventually make your body resistant to it. The same holds good for laxatives. Once your body shows no effect on the normal dosage, you need to increase the quantity, for the required effect.
Increased dependency on laxatives leads to health problems. Usually, people who are laxative abusers are the ones who want to lose weight but not give up on the unhealthy food habits or have eating disorders.3 Laxative abuse can lead to liver damage and kidney failure.4 5
Losing weight the right way is important for your health and well-being. Instead of using laxatives to eliminate the calories, exercise and eat the right food. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet and have protein-rich meals, to help you burn fat and retain your health. Ensure that you drink enough water throughout the day to help your body function normally.
|↑1||Use Certain Laxatives with Caution. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.|
|↑2||Fluid and Electrolyte Balance. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑3||Vanin, John R., and Keith E. Saylor. “Laxative abuse: a hazardous habit for weight control.” Journal of American College Health 37, no. 5 (1989): 227-230.|
|↑4||Copeland, Paul M. “Renal failure associated with laxative abuse.” Psychotherapy and psychosomatics 62, no. 3-4 (1994): 200-202.|
|↑5||Wiegelmann, W., F. Borchard, and K. Irmscher. “Liver damage caused by laxatives. A contribution to the hepatotoxicity of 4, 4′-(2-quinolylmethylene)-diphenol-hydrochloride.” Arzneimittel-Forschung 25, no. 6 (1975): 849.|