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What are the risks of rapid weight loss?

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Rapid weight loss creates physical demands on the body. Possible serious risks include:

  • Gallstones. These happen in 12-25% of people losing large amounts of weight over several months
  • Dehydration. This can be avoided by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Malnutrition. This usually comes from not eating enough protein for weeks at a time
  • Electrolyte imbalances. This is rare but can be life threatening.

From: Rapid Weight Loss WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: Gilden Tsai, A. August 2006. Saper, R. Nov. 1, 2004. Federal Trade Commission web site: "Commercial Weight Loss Products and Programs: What Consumers Stand to Gain and Lose" and "Weighing the Evidence in Diet Ads."


Obesity,American Family Physician,

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on August 15, 2017

SOURCES: Gilden Tsai, A. August 2006. Saper, R. Nov. 1, 2004. Federal Trade Commission web site: "Commercial Weight Loss Products and Programs: What Consumers Stand to Gain and Lose" and "Weighing the Evidence in Diet Ads."


Obesity,American Family Physician,

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on August 15, 2017

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What are side effects of rapid weight loss?

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