With obesity rates being higher than ever in the USA, not to mention worldwide, the search for a magic pill for weight loss is high too. The truth is there isn’t one magic pill that will make the pounds disappear overnight. The only secret is that if you are eating more calories than you are burning off then you will gain weight. And if you eat less than you burn up, you will lose weight. It’s that simple (1)
In reality weight loss isn’t as easy as this. We are working longer hours and after we squeeze in time with our families, there is little time left for exercise. Eating healthy goes out of the window in favor of fast food that we can grab and go. There is little scope for fruit and veg in today’s diet, it’s clear why obesity levels are so high.
One method some people have tried is the use of laxatives. Let me point out two facts before we investigate laxatives further: laxatives do not equal weight loss, and they are neither healthy nor safe. If you do lose weight from using laxatives, research shows this weight is mainly water and you are putting yourself at risk (2). Abuse of laxatives is more common than ever these days.
How Do Laxatives Work?
First let’s take a look at how laxatives work within the body. When you take a laxative pill or tea, the ingredients contained within it irritate the cells of the large intestine. This forces the large intestine to expel waste before it is ready to do so.
In the large intestine, your body is busy absorbing water from waste products, therefore if you force your intestines to empty before this process occurs you risk serious dehydration.
Do Laxatives Actually Work?
The short answer is no. This is because food absorption happens in the small intestine, not the large intestine where laxatives take effect. This means that if you are taking laxatives for weight loss it simply isn’t going to happen because, by the time food reaches the large intestine, most of the calories it contains have been absorbed.
After fluid loss occurs due to forcing the large intestine to evacuate before it has absorbed water, the body responds by retaining the water stores it has. So at first, you get a feeling of being thin because you are dehydrated, but then you feel bloated because your body starts to retain water.
Your body needs water to carry out waste removal processes, so when you are retaining fluid your body won’t get rid of waste efficiently, meaning its tempting to take more laxatives.
Dangers of Laxatives
The use of laxatives is a vicious cycle that in the long-term can lead to IBS and cancer of the colon. Other common side effects include stomach cramps, bloating,water retention, and even withdrawal symptoms.
In short, laxatives should not be used for weight loss. Not only do they not work, but you are also putting your health at risk every time you take a laxative.
How to Stop Using Laxatives
People who are in the habit of using laxatives may find it very difficult to stop. Although they don’t contain addictive ingredients, you can become psychologically addicted, especially if you have an eating disorder. Therefore if you can’t stop taking them it is important to see a health professional.
You want to encourage normal bowel function to resume so up your exercise to encourage your bowel to function without the aid of laxatives again. Drink plenty of water and try to avoid caffeinated beverages.
Eat healthy meals 3 times a day that includes plenty of fruit and veg. If after trying this and finding your are constipated for more than 3 days, go to see a health professional because you could have done damage to your colon which is hopefully reversible with the right treatment.
Best Alternative to Laxatives
If you want to take a pill to speed up your weight loss efforts you should look for something that doesn’t act on your colon if you have been taking laxatives.
You might want to consider our top-rated fat blocker, Proactol XS, which is a diet pill that doesn’t act on the central nervous system but instead allows a portion of the fat you eat to go undigested naturally by your body.
People have lost up to 4 pounds a week using Proactol XS and there are no reported side effects.