Laxatives are not a good choice for weight loss. Period. In fact, although many people have shifted to laxatives to lose weight fast, it is a real insult to human health and intelligence.The use of laxatives to lose weight is related to their ability to promote the loss of body fluids; since water is about 65% of body weight, dehydration induced by purgatives shifts the balance of power in the direction coveted. Laxatives for weight loss is, however fictitious since the weight loss is not associated with a significant reduction in fat mass or true goal of any weight-loss program.
The second mechanism by which laxatives help to “lose weight” consists in the reduction of the amount of nutrients absorbed, given that it significantly accelerates the intestinal transit; this, however, at the expense of one’s own health, as the much sought after effect is associated with unpleasant side effects, such as diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal pain, weakness, fatigue, electrolyte imbalance (hypokalemia), dehydration and, in the case of prolonged use, alteration of the intestinal flora, melanosis of the colon, colitis, furthermore resulting in chronic constipation. Not surprisingly, laxatives do not form part of the approved drugs for weight loss. Instead, there are specific medicines that are modelled on the action but with side effects far more moderate.
Laxative abuse is often an indicator of underlying eating disorder, since these products are often misused by individuals with bulimia, as an alternative method of eliminating self-induced vomiting. Ultimately, the use of laxatives to lose weight is a completely irrational choice.
However, some forms of laxatives based on vegetable fibres, such as linseed, guar gum, bran, pectin etc. can be used. On one hand they increase the sense of satiety and swelling in the stomach; secondly, they modulate and slow down the absorption of nutrients. These are not a prescribed way of dealing with weight loss but are a healthier option when compared to other forms of laxatives.