Weight Loss– The Untold Truth About Rapid Weight Loss?
Most people who deal with weight problems obsess about the number on the scale and want to drop it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always a good idea.
You see, researchers confirmed over and over again that the best way to lose weight is through a slow, steady pace. The reason behind this recommendation is simple: lose weight too fast and you won’t be able to maintain it. Moreover, rapid lipolysis (i.e., fat burning) increases the risk of several adverse effects.
The last thing you want to happen after losing weight is to gain it back or get sick because of how fast the process is.
Keep reading to learn about the consequences of rapid weight loss and why you should do it while being supervised.
What is considered rapid weight loss?
According to hundreds of clinical studies, losing 1–2 pounds (0.45–0.9 kg) per week is a healthy rate that seldom causes any side effects.
Anything above this rate places you in the fast weight loss column, which comes with several health problems, including:
- Muscle atrophy (decreased lean muscle mass)
- The formation of gallstones
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Slowed down metabolism
The most common way to lose weight is through caloric deficit, where you consume fewer calories than your body needs. Consequently, your liver and muscles will start using the stored forms of energy (i.e., glycogen, fatty acids) to keep your organs functioning.
The caloric deficit approach is popular because it causes substantial weight loss without having to spend hours in the gym working out.
Unfortunately, the initial phase of weight loss is often deceiving since your scale will show a considerable drop in your weight during the first few weeks (more than 2 pounds). Experts refer to this as water weight.
Here is how this goes:
When you put your body in a state of caloric deficit, the muscles start releasing glycogen to produce energy. As a result, water leaves your muscles to join the general circulation, which then ends up as urine.
For this reason, you may experience considerable weight loss during the first week or two. Once your stores of glycogen get depleted, you will be back to the usual rate of 1–2 pounds (0.45–0.9 kg) per week.
The downsides of rapid weight loss
It is tempting to lose weight fast; however, this is not always the best idea.
You see, most diets that promote rapid weight loss consist of low caloric intake and poor nutritional value. As a result, you will be at risk of several health problems, including:
1. Muscle atrophy
Many people do not realize that weight loss is not synonymous with fat loss.
While calorie-restricted diets cause fat loss, a significant portion of that loss consists of water and muscle tissue.
According to one study, researchers found that people who follow a severe low-calorie diet lose an incredible amount of muscle tissue relative to those following a mild low-calorie diet.
The study included 25 participants who only consumed 500 calories per day over 5 weeks. The other group had 22 people who consumed 1,250 calories per day for 12 weeks.
Researchers concluded that the first group lost over 6 times the amount of muscle relative to the second group.
2. Metabolic slowdown
Fast weight loss will inevitably slow down your metabolism.
The entire process boils down to the basal metabolic rate (BMR), which refers to the number of calories your body needs in 24 hours to maintain basic functions, such as breathing, digestion, and pumping blood.
BMR is subject to several factors that could either boost it or slow it down. These factors include age, gender, body type, height, weight, lean muscle mass, degree of physical activity, diet, and genetics.
Based on several studies, researchers found that rapid weight loss mediated by caloric deficit may lead to a 23% decrease in the number of calories burnt.
Scientists identified two primary reasons for slowed down BMR during a very low-calorie diet:
Muscle atrophy– as just mentioned, BMR is subject to your lean muscle mass. Consequently, muscle atrophy inadvertently leads to slower BMR.
Hormonal regulation– the main hormone that stimulates metabolism in the body is the thyroid hormone. Rapid weight loss mildly decreases circulating thyroid hormone (e.g., T3, T4), slowing down BMR.
Note that the drop in metabolism often persists after you finished dieting.
3. The formation of gallstones
Gallstones are hard pieces formed by different materials inside the gallbladder. Unfortunately, gallstone formation is a common side effect of rapid weight loss.
In general, the gallbladder releases bile, which is a special substance used to break down fatty food. If you are in a caloric deficit, bile and other digestive juices just sit in the gallbladder, leading to the formation of chemical bonds that constitute gallstones.
The consequences of gallstones include severe pain, indigestion, and infections (e.g., acute cholecystitis).
4. Other side effects
Aside from the adverse effects listed above, rapid weight loss may precipitate the following problems:
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling cold
- Digestive symptoms (e.g., constipation, diarrhea)
The importance of supervised weight loss
As you can probably conclude from the side effects listed above, supervised weight loss by a physician is primordial!
The reason behind this boils down to:
- Your physician will work with you to outline a healthy, safe weight loss plan.
- When working with a physician, he/she will take into account your physical strengths, weaknesses, goals, and concurrent medical conditions to come up with the most efficient weight loss plan.
- Your physician will include dietary planning, which prevents any nutritional deficiencies.
- You can ask your physician about the health benefits/risks of certain dietary trends and whether or not they are right for you.
Rapid weight loss is not always a good idea, which is why you need to be supervised by a physician.
The good news is that Quality Primary Care offers this type of service, allowing you to lose weight in a healthy, safe way. With the long experience of Dr. Suresh Malik in the field of weight loss, you can expect fantastic results without compromising your well-being.
To start this journey, you need to take some action now before procrastination kicks in! schedule a physical with one of our providers to beat the game of weight loss in a healthy, long-lasting way.
Schedule Online with Quality Primary Care for weight loss consultation today