What are the risks of rapid weight loss?
Losing weight very quickly is common for many people with various types of eating disorders, but rapid weight loss is rarely without risks or health complications.
According to Dr. Donald Hensrud, editor in chief for "The Mayo Clinic Diet," a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is generally considered a safe amount - especially if you want to lose weight for the long term.
Yet rapid weight loss, even when done for health reasons or under the care of a medical professional, can be dangerous no matter what your starting weight is.
Lean tissue loss
Losing weight quickly usually means you're only losing the water your body has retained, or "water weight." After you lose water weight, rapid weight loss can cause you to start losing lean muscle mass instead of fat.
Over time, lean tissue loss can result in weaker muscles and a slower metabolism.
The body also needs lean tissue for energy, so you may feel weaker and more lethargic.
Serious health complications
Gallstones are one of the most common problems experienced by people who lose weight very quickly.
Other serious complications may include dehydration, malnutrition and electrolyte imbalances.
Some of these complications may be asymptomatic, which can be dangerous and sometimes even deadly.
Physical side effects
Other potential side effects of fast weight loss can include:
These symptoms may interfere with your energy, mood and overall health.
Unsafe supplements or diet pills
The other problem with rapid weight loss is that it's often achieved through unsafe methods, like the abuse of laxatives, supplements or diet pills.
Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, they can often include unsafe ingredients that may cause adverse reactions.
If you're concerned about your own or someone else's weight loss, it's important to consult a doctor about the problem to avoid serious health complications.
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