Rapid weight loss involves losing more than two pounds of body weight per week, according to Washington University in St. Louis. While you may be tempted to choose a diet that promises such quick weight loss, these fad-type diets are difficult to sustain over the long run and, because they promote water-weight loss, often lead to rebound weight gain. More importantly, they may be detrimental to your health. Choose a well-balanced diet that supplies fewer calories than you consume, along with a sensible exercise program, to avoid unhealthy weight loss.
Fasting diets restrict any and all food consumption for a period of time. They do allow your body to burn fat, explains Fort Valley State University, but they also burn lean muscle mass and may harm your body’s muscular organs, such as your heart. Because your body relies on daily intake of certain nutrients, fasting may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Finally, starving your body instructs it to slow your metabolism in order to conserve energy, ultimately leading to even slower weight loss.
Eliminating a Food Group
Eliminating, or even strictly limiting, one particular food group is a popular method of losing weight rapidly. The Atkins diet, for example, severely restricts carbohydrate consumption while allowing unlimited intake of protein and fat. Other diet plans completely eliminate fats. One problem with these types of diets, says the Cleveland Clinic, is the lack of essential nutrients from one or more food groups. Without enough carbohydrates in your diet, your body cannot efficiently burn fat. Too little fiber may lead to constipation. With little or no fat in your diet, you risk vitamin deficiencies and disruption of hormone function. Food elimination diets may also increase your risk of heart disease or cancer later in life.
Emphasizing a Single Food
Certain foods, such as grapefruit or cabbage soup, reputedly cause your body to increase its ability to burn fat. Choosing to consume a single food to the exclusion of all others as a weight-loss plan carries health risks, warns Eastern Illinois University. As with the elimination of an entire food group, a single-food diet deprives your body of essential nutrients. In addition, single-food diets tend to be very low in calories, which puts your body into energy-conservation mode. If practiced for an extended period of time, severe calorie restriction may lead to illness or death.
Relying on Diet Pills
Diet pills consist of appetite suppressants and may contain caffeine, ephedrine or phenylpropanolamine. These chemicals may cause side effects such as heart palpitations, insomnia, nervousness, high blood pressure and nausea. They may also be addicting. Diet aids such as these may help you lose weight rapidly; however, in addition to their heath risks and unpleasant side effects, they do not teach you how to modify your diet and lifestyle in order to achieve long-lasting, healthy weight loss.