Why losing weight fast can be detrimental to your health

Don’t we want to see a drop in weight as soon as we put our head to it? The easiest way that people choose to lose weight fast is following a very low-calorie diet, aka a crash diet. This is where you are consuming 800 or fewer calories daily. But losing weight fast could be detrimental to your health.

What is considered a reasonable rate of weight loss?  

The week you start with a calorie-restricted diet and an exercise plan, you might experience a significant drop in weight. This is because when fewer calories are consumed, the body reaches out to the energy stores present in the body for energy. The first source of this energy is glycogen. Glycogen is bound to water in the body, and losing it leads to the loss of water associated with it. So you can generally see a drop of about 2-3 lbs in the initial week. Once your body uses the glycogen stores, the weight loss stabilizes between 1-2 lbs per week. This weight loss, of 1-2 lbs, is considered a healthy and safe rate of losing weight.

If you follow a diet with a 500-calorie deficit a week and get regular workouts on your home heavy-duty elliptical, you can easily achieve this rate of weight loss. 

What are the adverse effects of losing weight too fast? 

Diets that help to lose weight rapidly are often super low in calories and devoid of nutrients, putting you at risk of various health problems. Below are four main reasons you should avoid a drastic weight loss.

Your metabolism will slow down

Your basal metabolic rate or metabolism decides how many calories you burn each day. For example, studies have found that losing weight fast by following a very low-calorie diet may cause you to burn between 20 – 23% fewer calories per day. This is because there is a loss of muscle and a fall in hormones that help regulate metabolism. Hence, the slower the metabolism, the fewer calories you burn per day. Sadly, the drop in the metabolism may last even after you return to eating normally.

An easy way to avoid the drop in BMR is by following a high-protein diet. So, consider including the best soy-free protein powders to help you meet your daily protein goals.  

It will make you lose your muscles

A very low-calorie diet will help you lose weight fast, but much of that weight will come from muscles and water. Losing weight on a weighing scale doesn’t mean you should be happy. Understand where the loss is happening. We need to lose fat and retain muscle mass for a healthy and fit body. Take a pre-workout without beta-alanine to maximize muscle gain and focus during your workouts. 

A 2016 study found that the two groups who followed a low-calorie and a very low-calorie diet had lost the same total weight. But the people who followed a very low-calorie diet lost about six times the muscle mass compared to those on the low-calorie diet.

You might develop nutritional deficiencies

Consuming fewer calories means missing out on various nutrients leading to nutritional deficiency. This is because consuming enough vital nutrients on a low-calorie diet is hard.

The nutritional deficiencies can be seen in the form of: 

Hair loss: Nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth. Omega 3 and omega 6 Fatty acids, folic acid, and biotin deficiencies are well-known causes of hair loss. Without these, your body might not get enough nutrients to support hair health.

Extreme fatigue: When you follow a very low-calorie diet, you may not get enough iron, vitamin B complex, and folate. Deficiencies of these nutrients put you at a higher risk of fatigue and anemia.

Poor immune function: Not consuming nutrients, such as zinc, selenium, and vitamins B2, 6, and 12, due to low-calorie diets weaken the immune system. And when the body’s fighting system is down, it increases the risk of contracting infections. 

The good news is you can avoid these nutritional deficiencies by consuming a diet inclusive of all the essential nutrients and good quality proteins minus the processed foods to help you lose weight better.

You will not want to continue with your diet

The path becomes more challenging each day when you start a very stringent diet. After a few weeks, you might start feeling hungry, crave high-calorie foods, and become irritated and frustrated by what you are trying to achieve. 

The chances of sticking to your diet decrease as the cravings are at an all-time high. And this super stringent diet may make you give up faster, leading to a cycle of binging and dieting. 


Slowly changing your eating behavior with a calorie deficit diet and a consistent exercise routine is a lot safer than extreme diets and fast weight loss. 

You need to follow a protein-rich well-balanced diet, get in regular workouts with a focus on building muscles, get good sleep and reduce stress. This will easily help you achieve a weight loss of 1-2 lbs per week, which is sustainable and will ensure you keep off the weight in the long run. 

Author Info: By healthyandkhush.com


Healthy and Khush is a blog dedicated to sharing science-based tips and hacks that will help you lose weight and keep it off.