Why It’s Better to Lose Weight Slowly

by Rakib Sarwar, RPh on June 17, 2019

Weight gain or obesity is no doubt the biggest epidemic in the contemporary world. In order to counter weight gain, people follow various weight loss solutions like weight loss pills, weight loss dieting, diet break measures, various types of exercises, etc. Eventually, people are obsessed about losing weight as quickly as possible despite the fact that losing weight slowly is beneficial to overall health in comparison to losing weight quickly.

A new study conducted by York University established that people who lost weight fast did not get any additional health benefit in comparison to people who lost weight slowly. It further says that metabolic health improvement was similar between the persons who achieved quick weight loss and who achieved comparatively slowly (1).

In addition to this, quick weight loss has a higher probability of getting gallstones. Therefore, losing weight slowly at least with the recommended ratio of one to two pounds per week is better than losing weight quickly (1). Another study shows that rapid weight loss has certain risks in elderly people and the process should be avoided (7).

Quick weight loss leads to unhealthy practices

The psychological weight loss tendency of people leads them to adopt unhealthy and dangerous weight loss practices in order to achieve the desired weight loss overnight at any cost. The quick weight loss myth so strongly motivates people that they prefer to go any extent of taking risks just for the magic bullet approach of weight loss.

Eventually, they ignore the truth of losing weight slowly, in spite of their awareness that this magic bullet approach helps the manufacturers like the multimillion-dollar Canadian weight loss industry, more than the consumers (2).

Ultimately, the magic bullet seekers fall to the traps of unhealthy and dangerous practices of quick weight loss processes like fasting and meal skipping, smoke to reduce appetite, consume stimulants like caffeine, energy drinks, ephedrine, drugs under prescription, etc. An estimated 8% of men and 12% of adolescent women consume diet pills, diuretics, laxatives, purging, etc. for fulfilling their purpose of quick weight loss (2).

Unfortunately, those who adopt these magic bullet approach of weight loss ultimately regain weight through weight cycle, develop depression, and get an eating disorder. This has become the trend of the day particularly affecting the women with increased Body Max Index (BMI) (2).

On the other hand, a long term and eventually slow weight loss research conducted by the United States National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) established that losing weight slowly is beneficial and long-lasting. The research involved mostly women (80%) for a weight loss period of 5.5 years and with a weight loss result average of 30 kgs (2).

The danger of rapid weight loss

The rapid weight loss stakeholders suggest various measures resulting in attractive outcomes in achieving weight loss within a very short duration. There are extremely motivating slogans like “lose ten pounds in ten days”, “Eat whatever and as much as you like, even then lose your weight”, etc. It has been estimated that only in the US, as much as 33 billion USD a year is spent by the believers of these sorts of advertisements who are not prepared to wait or do not have trust on losing weight slowly (3).

But the question is whether these slogans are genuine? Do these remedies for rapid weight loss work? What are the rapid weight loss remedies? Look below what these rapid weight loss measures are:

Starvation diets

Also known as the “master cleanse” popularised by Beyonce, is a diet comprising lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and water. These ingredients claimed detoxification by way of enemas or colonics.

Diet Supplements and Pills

There are numerous rapid diet loss supplements and pills prescribed by the claimants. Their claims are normally based on blocking the absorption of nutrients, or fat burning, or enhancing metabolism. They advocate quick ways of weight loss and losing weight slowly is a waste of time and money for them.

VLCD: The Very Low-Calorie Diets

It claimed to be the genuinely proven rapid weight loss diet. It is also said that VLCD is medically supervised and recommended as the most low-calorie diet.

Rapid weight loss creams, devices, and magic voodoo

These are numerous weight loss creams, various devices and equipment claimed to burn fat and rapidly achieving weight loss like a magic bullet.

The myth of rapid weight loss

The rapid weight loss and the recommended diets and supplements are yet to be proved in terms of authentic research, medical supervisions, and legal provisions. The FDA of the US is responsible for dietary regulation. But in case of these rapid weight loss supplements and pills, the FDA treats them as food and not as dietary supplement medication (3).

Ultimately, the manufacturers of rapid weight loss supplements and pills do not necessarily claim and say that their products are genuinely effective, appropriate and safe, prior to their sale in the market. Ultimately these manufacturers do not need the approval of the FDA to sell these products in the market (3).

No supplement, pills, or diet has yet been formally claimed that they are effective except the VLCD and surgery for weight loss. The best way is the losing weight slowly which has been already proved by authentic research. On the other hand, people are prescribed for weight loss medication which has dangerous side effects but the prescription does not claim rapid weight loss.

It has been found out that, the fat burning diets or pills in rapid weight loss does not necessarily work on metabolism, rather the prescribed exercises and reduction of calorie works in reducing weight up to some extent (3).

The risks in rapid weight loss

The diet, pills, and other methods recommended in rapid weight loss have potential risks on overall health with dangerous side-effects. Below are some of the risks and side-effects involved in rapid weight loss (3).


Studies have established that around 12% to 15% of persons who went through the processes of rapid weight loss and over a period of few months reduced their weight substantially, developed gallstones (3). On the other hand, losing weight slowly does not have the risk of developing gallstones.


People involved in rapid weight loss often get dehydrated which they make up by intake of abundant fluids (3). Athletes also suffer from dehydration with an increased level of Urinary Specific gravity (USG) (8). A study also recommends a ban on rapid weight loss in sports (9). There is also evidence of harmful physiological effect on the wrestlers (10).


Rapid weight loss involves a lot of fasting and dieting. Eventually, this results in malnutrition of the persons who are engaged in rapid weight loss (3).

Imbalance in electrolyte

Electrolyte imbalance can be a life risk threat which is found among the persons who are in rapid weight loss practices (3).

Reduced blood sugar

The potential danger for diabetes: dieting for rapid weight loss is a potential risk for diabetes. You lose a substantial amount of blood sugar in strict dieting and fasting. Reduced level of blood sugar develops serious nauseous in the case of diabetes (4). On the other hand, you do not have any such problem for diabetes if you lose weight slowly.

Kidney stones, arthritis, and gouts

Diet plans in rapid weight loss often restrict carbs and encourage increased intake of protein. Excess protein in the body has a high possibility of causing danger of gouts. Besides this, this also forms crystals in the joints eventually developing arthritis and kidney stone in the body (4).

Reduced energy

Carb food gives energy to the body. At one hand, the rapid weight loss diet plan denies carb food and on the other prescribes regular exercises which require a lot of energies. Ultimately, the body gets exhausted without the required energy due to the rapid weight loss of carb-less food (4).

Reduced immune due to lack of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals

The rapid weight loss diet often goes on changing the diet restricting necessary vitamin, nutrients, and minerals. This affects the immune system of the body leading to threats of external attacks of diseases (4).

Other side-effects

The side effects caused by rapid weight loss are usually headaches, fatigues, irritation, constipation, dizziness, hair loss, irregular menstruation, and muscle loss (3). Whereas losing weight slowly does not involve any side-effects.

Why and how should you lose weight slowly?

Numerous guidelines based on research and various studies around the world on weight loss recommends that losing weight slowly has far-reaching consequences particularly in relation to weight regain. When you rapidly lose your weight, you also regain the same rapidly. But when you adopt a slow or gradual weight loss, you lose your weight permanently. In other words, gradual weight loss treats obesity effectively which does not happen in rapid weight loss (6).

There are several ways of losing weight slowly and gradually. Follow the below measures to slowly and gradually reduce your weight, and reduce your weight permanently.

Reduce your calorie gradually

A large portion of the meal means more intake of calories leading to weight gain. You can cut short the portion of meal gradually and slowly. At the same time, you must also feel full. Follow a few tricks like eat in a blue dish and eat slowly.

Since most of our foods are not blue, your brain will not get encouraged by the blue color of the dish. Similarly, slow eating or drinking water before eating cuts of food intake but keeps you feel full longer.

Fill the gap with fruits and vegetables

As per the recommendation of USDA, the half of your food in your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are low-calorie foods. Intake of low-calorie food regularly will decrease your weight. But this will provide you the sensation of fullness (5).

Take lean protein

In order to maintain a balanced diet, you must include protein. Authentic studies have established that lean protein contributes to weight loss on a long term basis. You can get lean protein from eggs, seafood, poultry, lean pork, etc (5).

Include 100% whole grain

Rapid weight gain and other dieting restrict intake of carb-rich food and grains. Add whole grains in your meal for losing weight slowly on a permanent basis. The ideal whole grain foods are oats, brown rice, whole wheat bread, quinoa, etc (5).

Reduce snacks

Though snacks are part and partial of your regular diet, reduce regular intake of snacks. Normally, we take snacks as many times as we are emotionally aroused or feel bored. Therefore, you are taking snacks not because of your physical hunger but for your emotional requirements. Reduce your habit of taking a snack several times, and you will find you are losing weight slowly (5).

Engage yourself with physical activities

Aerobic exercises not only reduce your weight but provide you with cardio health. In order to gradually and permanently reduce your weight, do at least two to two and half hour of exercise weekly.

Regularly get in touch with your doctor

Follow up your weight loss with your doctor and ask him or her to evaluate your status regularly. By doing this, you will get a track record of your losing weight slowly.

The Bottomline

From our childhood education, each one of us has been learning that “slow and steady” wins the race. Indeed, rapid weight loss, used as a magic bullet approach may not serve your purpose of weight loss due to the fact that if reserves back quickly. Therefore, the only remedy for effective weight loss is losing weight slowly and steadily, and permanently for a long term basis.

The second important aspect of gradual weight loss is that when you lose your weight slowly, you also reduce the potential risks of possible health hazards, even life risks. Therefore, take the measure of gradual weight loss which may take time but will provide you with a risk-free permanent solution to your weight gain.


(1) http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/yu-sfw012919.php
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4334025/
(3) https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/rapid-weight-loss
(4) https://m.timesofindia.com/life-style/health-fitness/weight-loss/losing-weight-too-fast-can-be-very-dangerous-heres-why/amp_etphotostory/66040948.cms
(5) https://www.wikihow.com/lose-weight-gradually
(6) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047752
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18615231
(8) https://gih.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1144223/FULLTEXT01.pdf
(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27102173
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27377251

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