5 Dangers of Fast Weight Loss

Young woman with loose jeans

Fast weight loss is not always a good thing because it may be difficult to sustain it for the long term.

Fast weight loss is usually a result of a massive change in your lifestyle, a sudden increase in physical activity, perhaps going on starvation diets and a brutal exercise program.

If this is coming after years of a sedentary lifestyle, it is quite possible that the weight loss may not be sustainable, or permanent. Pretty soon, you’ll probably find yourself reverting back to your old habits, as your body fails to adapt to its new reality. And fast weight loss may well turn into rapid weight gain, if you’re not careful enough.

What are the dangers of fast weight loss?

Let’s investigate…

1) You May Be Losing Much More Than Just Fat….

This in a nutshell represents the biggest problem associated with rapid weight loss. When you go on a starvation diet or engage in strenuous workouts at the gym in the quest to lose weight fast, you may end up losing much more than you bargained for, and a lot of what you lose is likely to be water, and worse – lean muscle. Clearly, this is not healthy at all.

A normal weight loss or a healthy one is where you lose no more than a couple of pounds a week. Any fad diet or workout plan that promises more, really isn’t worth it. Yes, you will lose weight, but much of that will be water content and precious muscle.

2) You May Find Yourself Saddled With Ugly Loose Skin…

This is another big problem associated with fast weight loss – it leaves loose skin on the tummy, arms and legs in its wake. This is because the skin would become less elastic because of the rapid weight loss and may fail to shrink with the rest of the body.

This looks really quite horrible, and would be quite embarrassing. In time, however, the skin shrinks naturally to the size of the body, but if it doesn’t, even after years of weight loss, surgery is the only way to get it right.

3) You May Develop Gallstones…

Gallstones are hard deposits of cholesterol that build up in the gallbladder. Gallstones are usually associated with obesity, many overweight people have them. They cause nausea in people and serious abdominal pain as well.

Losing weight too fast could accelerate the formation of gallstones, leading to several complications. In the end, a surgery may be required to get the gallstones removed completely.

4) You May Lose Critical Lean Muscle

As discussed earlier, rapid weight loss could lead to the loss of lean muscle. It’s not just fat that you end up losing. In fact, there are several studies that corroborate this, including one published in a health journal “Appetite” where it was found that fast weight loss led to a rapid reduction in fat-free mass such as bone density and lean muscle tissue.

This loss of the fat-free mass leads to slower metabolism, which actually results in a rapid weight gain when you stop exercising, even for a short while.

5) You May Suffer from Liver Problems

Obese men and women are known to suffer from the Fatty Liver Disease, which causes considerable damage to the liver. A sudden drop in weight could cause lead to changes in the fatty acid profile in the liver and lead to serious damage to the health, such as cirrhosis, which is known as scarring of the liver, a much higher blood pressure, severe stomach pain, and tiredness or exhaustion.


You should always look to losing weight if you’re overweight. But it is important to do so correctly, at a proper pace. Most health specialists recommend losing no more than 1 or 2 pounds a week.

If possible you should try to burn 500 to 1000 calories a day from exercise when trying to lose weight. Anything more than that is clearly unhealthy and may lead to unforeseen complications, such as the ones discussed here.

One comment

  • Heidi

    There are many reasons that experts advise people not to lose weight too fast. One is that rapid weight loss can cause gallstones; though this is not particularly common.

    The second reason that people are not advised to lose weight too quickly is because to do so often requires eating a dangerously low number of calories. This can cause you to lose muscle as well as fat, which is not good for your body in the long run, and can cause you to gain the weight back rapidly when you stop dieting.

    Thirdly, weight lost rapidly is often hard to maintain for two reasons. The first is that your body hasn’t adjusted to your new weight, so it may be working to get back to your old one. Secondly, when you “crash” diet to lose weight quickly, you’re not developing good eating habits that you can stick with for the long term. Once the diet is over, you often feel deprived and go back to eating the way you did before the diet. Then you just get fat again.

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