Using Laxatives For Weight Loss – Do They Work?
(UPDATED April 2, 2017)
2.1 billion people...
… 2.1 billion, that’s 30% of the world’s population – is either obese or overweighttoday. 
And there’s a 95% chance that since you’re reading this right now, you are considering Laxatives for losing weight.
However… is it safe? Long term? Do they even work?
That’s what we are going to find out in this definitive post on whether laxatives really help you lose fat.
How Do (and IF) Laxatives Help You To Lose Weight?
The basic argument is laxatives help you eat less because of the satiating, the 'full' feeling they give you.
However, this was not their original purpose.
Laxatives were (and are) simply foods, medicines or certain compounds used to induce bowel movements.
The specific way they do that is by absorbing water and creating a “bulk” in your colon, which then the body can easily “push out”, compared to pushing out a “non bulky”… well “item”.
“Think of squeezing and expelling a big, round ball through a garden hose!”
Well, the graphic part aside, this is basically what Laxatives do, and are therefore, most used as a treatment for constipation.
- 1The first group of people believes that laxatives help them push out fat from their bodies! I mean… literally.
- 2The second group is a bit more logical.They believe that since laxatives swell up by absorbing water and in turn mimics the feeling of ‘being full’, they’ll probably eat less and therefore be able to lose weight.
However, in real world scenarios, the practical answer is a big…
Laxatives will NOT help you lose weight beyond 1 or 2lb because your body gets adjusted to the ‘extra bulk’ and resumes normal digestive functions (read: hunger) in a few weeks.
So once you are back to your routine, all the lost weight is gained back.
But When Some People Claim To Lose a Few Pounds? How Does That Work?
Usually, most people looking for a quick and hassle free solution to weight loss are attracted to laxatives in the first place.
This does results in a little weight lost, however, the main thing here is, it’s simply not sustainable.
The laxative pills, since they form a bulk, they do two things:
#1 They make you feel full so you eat a bit less = less calories consumed than usual.
#2 Since the fibrous bulk 'traps' some of the fats from our foods in it (passing undigested), it also means a bit less calories for your bodies to absorb.
Now, though this might seem promising, people forget their body is a remarkable machine!
When the body senses that you are eating less, it ramps up your hunger hormones, literally forcing you to eat more.
Because the body's metabolism (the pace at which your body produces/uses energy) remains unchanged.
Meaning, you have not changed from the inside.
Your brain does not understand that you are taking the laxative to lose weight. All it thinks is:
- 1There's more fibrous bulk in the colon.
- 2Less calories are consumed than required.
- 3Induce hunger hormones so enough calories are ingested.
So now you have to deal with the additional hunger even though you feel full!
Which brings us to...
6 Horrible Side Effects of Long Term Laxative Use
Laxatives causes food to be passed out of the system quickly.
This results in dehydration and very few nutrients and calories being absorbed. The body is unable to process them into energy and the person becomes weak and often experiences dizziness.
#2 Diarrhea and Dehydration
Laxative abuse is one of the top reasons for chronic diarrhea in over 50% users. This also usually results into severe dehydration.
#3 Rectal Bleeding
The ‘bulk’ formed by the laxatives usually becomes hard in the colon and it becomes very difficult to ‘pass’ it, resulting in localized cuts which lead to fissures/bleeding. (I have experienced these, it's... not great!)
#4 Abdominal Cramps
One of the most common complaints, this is usually because of the more than normal sized bulk moving in your gut.
#5 Nausea and Vomitting
Since most laxatives upset the stomach lining, it often means the person feels a lot of nausea and might even throw up couple of times in a day.
#5 The Worst = Chronic Intestinal Damage
Laxatives work by pushing undigested food out of the intestines quickly. Many times the body adapts to the use of such laxatives. Therefore, when its consumption is stopped, it slows down the rate of digestion significantly.
This can lead to some permanent physical changes in your gut, often not for the best.
Alrighty, I apologize for the graphic description, but laxative abuse WILL quite literally, lead to severe intestinal damage and a host of other issues.
Concluding- Should You Use Laxatives For Weight Loss?
The answer is a pretty big NO.
Laxatives were never meant for weight loss.
Yes, they have their place in medical science for very specific diseases and disorders, post-operative purposes, etc.
... but, laxatives can never be recommended for long term fat loss or weight management simply because they are far too dangerous, addictive, and they remain unproven (scientifically) for weight loss.
However, I think I know why you are looking to lose weight by using laxatives.
Like most of my readers, you have probably tried the usual suspects – diets, workouts, (shady) shakes/pills?
And most of them either work for a while or they are just scams, right?
The really question is…
How Can You Lose Weight AND Keep It Off – Without Depending On Any Of These ‘External Aids’?
How can you do it without depending on some “secret diet” or other pills and shakes?
And the answer might surprise you.
First, here are things that will NOT work if you want to lose weight for the long-term:
So then, WHAT DOES WORK?
How can you lose weight without laxatives or any of the other gimmicks?
Well, here’s the truth…
First of all, when I (finally) lost 62lbs of my post pregnancy weight, I was able to do it without any of these “monthly supply” products.
Before you think I had some secret... nope.
I tried many, MANY diets, even tried one of those "ab" gadgets.
And although some diet programs did show potential, the results only lasted for a while, and I’d end up back to where I was.
I spent 3 years of my life (2009-11) like this!
And I didn’t suddenly stumble upon some “secret” (FYI there isn’t one).
Instead, in those 3 years, I learned (through a lot of failures!) some of the MOST important behavior factors responsible for not only weight loss, but better health, a better mindset, more energy, and well, a better life.
Discovering these simple (and free!) things changed my life.
It led me to Precision Nutrition where I completed their intensive Level 1 course, it led me to become a personal trainer, and it led me to become a mentor for so many women seeking to lose weight but having no idea (or MANY ideas!) about losing weight.
Most of the women on this blog who mail me have:
- 1Either tried many, MANY diets just like me.
- 2Or have tried workout programs, belts, and even some shady “ab gadgets”.
- 3Some women who mail me actually suffer from depression and anxiety.
- 4And yet there are so many who have are overwhelmed they have no clue where to even begin.
And that led me to document the EXACT steps I took back then (some were downright crazy!)... to write down the exact mindset I cultivated, and the exact things I did to lose my weight.
So my suggestion to you is…