Currently, many people resort to different mechanisms to lose weight , without taking into consideration the possible effects on health. One of them is to use laxatives to lose weight , a very fashionable method but with high risks.

In the following article, we provide you with the necessary information so that you know about the effects of laxatives for weight loss, as well as we present some natural options that can safely help you lose weight. 

What is a laxative?

A laxative is that food or substance that has the ability to accelerate intestinal movements, in order to stimulate the transit of food in the intestines and facilitate its expulsion through the colon.

Generally these laxatives are used to lose weight, since due to their non-nutritional components such as dietary fibers, they can prevent symptoms such as constipation. They are also used to promote detoxification processes.

Note: In the case of natural laxatives, the main characteristic of these foods is that they are a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber , favoring digestive and intestinal health. (1)

What effects can cause the use of laxatives to lose weight?

There are many people who use these substances in a disproportionate way or who may be sensitive to any of their chemical and nutritional components, consequently suffering from adverse effects. Here we mention the most common:

1. Intestinal disorders

When there is excess consumption of laxatives to lose weight, symptoms generally occur at the level of the intestines that indicate disorders such as flatulence, diarrhea, gas or inflammation of the abdomen, because these substances are rich in soluble and insoluble fibers.

Due to their excess consumption , these fibers are fermented in the intestines by the action of bacteria found in the colon.

You should know: The use of laxatives to lose weight must be done consciously and prevent unwanted effects.

2. Decreased nutrient absorption

The use of laxatives to lose weight, without any type of medical control, can cause a decrease in the amount of nutrients that the body needs to assimilate.

We have already pointed out that excess consumption of foods with a high content of dietary fiber can cause diarrhea by increasing the frequency of bowel movements, a situation that affects the correct absorption of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

To highlight: The recommended daily intake of dietary fiber is 30 to 38 grams in men and 21 to 25 grams in women (two)

3. Dehydration and loss of electrolytes

One of the main needs for the use of laxatives is to lose weight. But the problem is not this, the problem is that we want to lose weight as quickly as possible and we have the belief that the more laxatives we consume, the faster we lose weight.

However, this brings serious consequences , because we can face one of the most dangerous gastrointestinal ailments such as diarrhea. Through this condition we can suffer from dehydration (decreased body water) and decreased electrolytes (minerals), since abundant loss of water is characteristic of this condition .

Important: Another function of properly consumed laxatives is to speed up bowel movements to facilitate transit.

4. Inability of the intestine to function on its own

Another of the consequences for many people when they consume laxatives in excess, is the decrease in intestinal motility , referring to the set of complex movements of this organ to carry out the transit of food from the mouth to the anus. 

To highlight: Another reason why intestinal motility is lost is to present alterations in the communication between the intestinal nervous system and the central nervous system. (3)

This decrease in intestinal motility occurs, among other reasons, in eating disorders, in this case in the inappropriate intake of laxatives causing nausea, vomiting, bloating, abdominal cramps, among other symptoms, and ultimately constipation.

Note: One of the recommendations to recover the motility of the intestine is the consumption of vegetables rich in fiber in an adequate way.

5. Eating disorders

Likewise, the inappropriate use of laxatives to lose weight can also result in eating disorders such as anorexia that can seriously affect health. 

We have already referenced that the inappropriate consumption of laxatives causes a series of digestive disorders such as loss of appetite or lack of appetite, which can lead to a situation of neurosis , where the person acquires a systematic rejection of food.

You should know: Weight loss from the inappropriate use of laxatives is not permanent , since the loss is of water and not of body fat.

6. Increased uric acid

Due to the lack of control in the function of the intestines, due to the consumption of laxatives to lose weight, the loss of water consumed increases , so the body has less water availability.

To eliminate uric acid, the human body needs to be well hydrated, so that kidney function can dispose of this chemical through the urine, and if this does not happen, it causes an increase in uric acid levels in the blood .

Important: The presence of excess uric acid in the blood can increase the risk of suffering from a rheumatic disease called gout . (4)

How to lose weight safely?

It has already been seen throughout the article that the use of laxatives in excess as a method of losing weight is perhaps not the healthiest option. For this reason, to lose weight safely and with many benefits for your health, we recommend using the following healthy lifestyle strategies:

1. Eat healthy

The first strategy is healthy eating, prioritizing natural nutrients. Increase the consumption of healthy vegetables , lean meats, reduce sugar consumption , replace saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. 

Note: This will also help you eliminate the risk of constipation, consume fewer calories, and make digestion faster.

2. Perform physical exercise

Another appropriate method to lose weight for your physical well-being is the practice of physical exercises or sports activities that help you burn body fat.

Tip: It is recommended to do it as part of the routine at least 4 times a week. In addition, physical activity favors musculoskeletal health and your mood.

3. Drink enough water

Hydration with water is very important , since it allows the body to perform all its metabolic functions properly and helps the body to carry out its detoxification process effectively.

Important: Let’s remember that 70% of the content of our body is water and in this sense it is necessary to consume at least 2 liters of water a day.

4. Rest properly

After a long day of work and other activities, it is appropriate to rest. And it is that the organism also consumes a lot of energy during rest , which it takes from body fats to repair and recover cells, enzymes, proteins, muscles, bones among others, diminished by daily wear and tear.

Note: A rest period at night of at least 7 continuous hours is important to promote sleep and promote adequate rest for the body.

Which are the best natural laxatives?

It has been previously mentioned that the use of laxatives in excess can have adverse effects on the stability of health, however, in case of presenting conditions that require the use of laxatives, the best alternative will always be to resort to the elements that nature provides us. 

Below, we describe the vegetables and plants that contain a laxative property and that can help you lose weight and cleanse your body safely:

1. Plums

Prunes , as a natural laxative to lose weight, contain soluble fiber, mainly pectin , which intervenes by increasing the volume of feces and favoring evacuation. 

To highlight: Prunes have a high content of sorbitol and compounds derived from hyfroxyphenylxanthine , a substance that gently stimulates intestinal motility , facilitating intestinal transit. (5)

2. Oats

Thanks to its fiber content and its easy digestibility oats are a food with laxative properties, helping to facilitate the transit of the food bolus through the digestive system, increasing the number of bowel movements and preventing symptoms such as constipation. (6)

You should know: Oats regulate the absorption of cholesterol and glucose into the body.

3. Papaya

This fruit is also rich in soluble and insoluble fibers, giving it a laxative property. It also contains a lot of water and pectin, an enzyme that promotes the digestion of food and helps us purify toxins and waste that accumulate in the intestine. (7)

4. Flaxseeds

Flax seeds are highly recommended to combat constipation thanks to their high content of mucilage (a type of soluble fiber), which when in contact with water, these seeds release said mucilage, transforming liquids with a thicker quality. 

Note: This seed provides 108% of the daily fiber requirements per 100 grams of serving. (8)

5.Aloe vera

Aloe vera or aloe vera is considered a natural laxative that is ideal for the treatment of constipation , because it stimulates the functioning of the intestines, colon, and stomach. This plant favors the motility of the intestine, improves the digestion of meals and collaborates with the elimination of toxins. (9)

Key Findings

  • Laxatives contain mainly soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. 
  • The excessive consumption of laxatives to lose weight represents a risk due to the very annoying  side effects .
  • To lose weight, it is necessary to use other strategies focused on food, exercise and rest.
  • Maintaining a healthy life is the basis for avoiding obesity and its consequences.

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