10 Risks of Quick Weight Loss: From Low Brainpower to Hair Loss

Achieving a healthy weight is not risky, but crash dieting is a whole 'nother story.

10 Risks of Quick Weight Loss: From Low Brainpower to Hair Loss

Q: I'm on a weight-loss diet and my friend keeps warning me about the risks I'm taking. That seems nuts since being overweight is what's really risky. Are there dangers to losing weight?

A: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is not risky. It's essential for improved health. But — and there is always a but —crash dieting or yo-yo dieting is a whole 'nother story. Weight loss should be done by adopting new habits for a lifetime, not following extreme or rigid diets that virtually guarantee failure.

Research on The Biggest Loser contestants showed that extreme dieting slows metabolism far more and for a longer time than ever realized. And a meta-analysis of studies found dieters regain over half of what they lose within two years.

Crash dieters can:

In extreme cases, crash dieters can see:

  • hair loss
  • sleep disturbances
  • disruption or complete stopping of the menstrual cycle

Q: I end up overeating because it makes me feel better and I never really get full. I'd like to lose weight but this makes it hard. Any suggestions?

A: Being persistently hungry can cause big trouble. So can overeating for comfort/pleasure. These two behaviors, say researchers from Baylor University's Children's Nutrition Research Center, are controlled deep within your brain by serotonin-producing neurons, but operate separately from each other — one in the hypothalamus, the other in the midbrain. They both can, however, end up fueling poor nutritional choices and obesity.

Eating for Hunger

When hunger is your motive for eating, the question is: "Does your body know when you've had enough?" Well, if you are overweight, obese or have diabetes you may develop leptin resistance and your "I am full" hormone, leptin, can't do its job. The hormone's signal to your hypothalamus is dampened, and you keep eating.

Keep Reading Show less