Almost everyone who has ever had a weight problem has wanted a rapid weight loss solution. Never mind the fact they might have been over weight for several years, or decades. Once they want to lose weight, they want it off right now. The overwhelming desire for quick weight loss has created a unscrupulous market of drugs, supplements and procedures that all promise to remove those unwanted pounds. It is quite simple to find products, or services that make wildly exaggerated claims that you can lose 10 to 20 pounds per month, and desperate people buy into this garbage.
Bold Promises Abound!
Eat as much as you want and still lose weight!
Drop one dress size in a day!
Rapid weight loss is easy, just take our product or follow our specialized plan!
Fad diet plans and marketers of weight loss supplements make some pretty bold claims with their products or services. I recently saw one that promised that all you had to do was take their supplements and lose 10 pounds per month until you have reached your goal weight.
Does this seem credible to you?
If weight loss was that easy, would obesity still be a problem for such a vast number of people?
Yet, in the U.S. alone, consumers spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products.
Do any of these products really produce rapid weight loss, and are they safe?
What are the risks of such fast weight loss?
Variations of starvation diets have been around for several decades now despite the fact they are neither safe nor effective. The only people who should ever be on this type of diet need to do it under medical supervision for specific purposes. Starvation diets are not sustainable and will often only serve to worsen your physical condition rather than help.
Starvation diets can produce negative effects on the body. Chronic starvation leads to changes in your metabolism. Your metabolism and resting metabolic rate are directly linked to lean body mass. A person with greater body mass will require more energy to function day to day, thus will have a larger basal metabolic rate (BMR). As weight decreases, so does BMR.
What that means is, there’s a certain number of calories we all require to maintain our lean mass. If we go below this number, our bodies will be forced to break down our muscle stores in order to create energy. Starvation diets not only cause us to lose strength through loss of lean muscle mass, they also cause us to lose bone density.
Starvation leads to not only a loss of fat and muscle, but also a loss of organ tissue, and skeletal mass. Because of this, our bodies begin to work to regain the lost mass. This activates “collateral fattening,” which increases appetite.
Now, when you begin eating as you normally would, you are more likely than not, to regain all your lost fat, and then some, without regaining your lost lean muscle mass. You will find yourself at your previous weight, but with a higher percentage of body fat. This only serves to slow down your metabolism even more than where you began.
Diet Pills and Supplements
Desperation to lose weight can cause otherwise sensible people to be reckless. Marketers of diet supplements promise rapid weight loss products with claims their products will either block absorption of nutrients, increase metabolism, or burn fat. The veracity of their claims can be as bold as they are dangerous to your health and wellbeing. Diet pills and supplements promise rapid weight loss, but what are the risks of taking them?
There are some diet supplements which are harmless and have no ill effect on your health. Some may even be effective at creating a sense of fullness, burning fat, or boosting your metabolism. However, some of the popular ingredients in weight loss products have been banned by the FDA because of harmful side effects such as these:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Liver damage
- Rectal bleeding
Taking long term risks for short term gains.
One of the biggest risks of taking over-the-counter diet supplements is that you can’t always be certain about the ingredients that a product contains. Because the FDA does not test all weight loss products for safety, there’s no guarantee that each ingredient in every supplement is safe.
Desperate people with eating disorders often are not concerned about the dangers of dietary supplements. They are often so preoccupied with losing weight that they don’t care about the risks to their health. In an obsessive drive to lose weight, an individual with anorexia or bulimia is likely to abuse diet supplements in the following ways:
- Taking more than the recommended dose of a dietary supplement
- Taking diet products that aren’t recommended for individuals who are at a normal weight or underweight
- Taking prescription weight loss medication without a doctor’s supervision
- Combining multiple weight loss stimulants
- Combining diet pills with laxatives or diuretics
- Combining diet supplements with illegal stimulants like meth or cocaine
Instagram influencers are compounding this problem by promoting their own shapely figures along with their fantasy lifestyles. They are also pushing the diet pills to go with them. Instead of glossy magazines, now it is “real people” on the internet who are telling us that we all have the potential to look like models. We just have to ignore the fact they all have retouching apps on their phones, and can remove swaths of underarm flab with the swipe of a fingertip.
Creams, Devices, and Magic Voodoo Spells
There seems to be no end to the dubious ideas promoted in the name of rapid weight loss. Most promise to replace diet or exercise. Promises that far too many gullible people buy into even with known risks to their health and wellbeing.
Is Rapid Weight Loss Ever a Good Idea?
Rapid weight loss diets can have ill effects, but so does obesity. For this reason, very low-calorie diets (VLCDs) are considered a reasonable weight loss option for people who are obese and have a need for rapid weight loss. These needs are usually only for a specific purpose such as surgical procedures.
VLCDs should always be doctor-supervised.
These diets often last several weeks. VLCDs can safely produce a loss of 15% to 25% of body weight in 12 weeks. But here is the rub, 25 to 50% of people will not even complete their program. When the diet is stopped, their weight returns. Quite often, this return of weight occurs pretty rapidly.
Can there be a place for weight loss drugs and supplements?
If you ever consider an extreme diet which may push your body into starvation, do yourself a favor, think of the consequences. You had better consider the negative effects it may have on your body now and in the future. At a minimum, don’t forget the likelihood that you will probably regain most of the weight that you lost. That, in and of itself, should point you to a more practical and safer approach to weight loss.