Why budget weight loss trends are risky

Why budget weight loss trends are risky

While anti-obesity injections have increased in popularity this year, price remains one reason why many people are gravitating to cheaper weight loss alternatives – some of which are not safe or as effective.

One budget weight loss method is specifically making waves on social media: laxatives. In fact, a study found that 1 in 10 adolescents use laxatives with the intention of losing weight. Laxatives are designed to stimulate the bowel to promote the passing of stool when you are constipated, not for weight loss.

“It is not recommended to use over-the-counter laxatives to lose weight,” cautions Fortunata Dabu, a bariatric medicine nurse practitioner at Advocate Health Care. “Laxatives can cause significant diarrhea, leading to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. This can be especially dangerous if you have serious medical conditions, like heart disease or kidney disease.”

Others are hoping diet pills and supplements will help them achieve the same results of anti-obesity injections. Dabu says most over-the-counter medications or supplements advertised for weight loss do not have reliable data to support weight loss efficacy and safety.

“Although over-the-counter supplements are easily accessible, they are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and not by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” explains Dabu. “This is unlike prescription medications which are approved and monitored by the FDA.”

She also cautions that diet pills have a high amount of caffeine that can lead to chest pain and heart palpitations.

Instead of trying these potentially dangerous, short-term solutions for weight loss, Dabu encourages trying the following:

  • Eat a sustainable, balanced diet. Eat foods that are high in protein and fiber.
  • Build up your physical activity. Start off with small goals, increasing them over time. A combination of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is recommended.
  • Prioritize sleep. Getting the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night can assist with weight loss and metabolic support.
  • Take care of your mental health. Your mental and emotional health play a key role in weight loss success.
  • Seek additional support. Some people may require additional weight loss support, such as medications or surgery. Your medical provider can help guide you to the best option.

“Weight loss should not be a trend, but instead a way to improve upon our health and wellbeing,” says Dabu. “The best and safest way to lose weight is to seek advice from experts for an individualized weight loss plan.”

Take a quiz to learn whether you’re within an ideal weight range.

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About the Author

Anna Kohler
Anna Kohler

Anna Kohler, health enews contributor, is a public affairs specialist for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Science in public relations from Illinois State University and has worked in healthcare public relations and content marketing for over five years. In her free time, she enjoys working out, exploring new places with her friends and family, and keeping up with the latest social media trends.