Sometimes out of desperation or in a haste to lose weight, people may resort to using shortcuts to lose weight;shortcuts that can compromise their health. One of the more common shortcuts is taking water pills to lose weight quickly. Water pills can produce fast weight lost results, but what are the long-term health implications of this method?
A lot of the body’s water weight comes from its storage of glucose. Glucose is the fuel our body gets from carbohydrates. It is the body’s primary go to fuel to meet its energy needs. Whatever portion of this fuel our body does not have an immediate use for gets converted to an energy reserve called glycogen which gets stored in the liver and muscle cells. Glycogen stores are very water heavy. There are four water molecules attached to every single molecule of glycogen. This is why a diet high in simple carbohydrates tends to cause bloating.
Glucose is the preferred energy source to fuel brain activity, as oppose to the fuel the body derives from either fats or protein. And keeping a reserve of glucose, in the form of glycogen, allows the body to maintain a steady blood sugar level even when you’re not eating. Ever notice how cranky and lethargic you get, and how cloudy your thinking becomes whenever you experience low blood sugar levels? When your brain has to draw on alternative fuels to maintain its activity, it still runs but it doesn’t function as efficiently. Therefore, water weight loss from the depletion of glycogen stores is only temporary. Your body quickly moves to replenish this reserve.
Excess water weight can also come from a diet high in sodium. Sodium, similar to glycogen, attracts and holds water. Your kidneys are responsible for regulating your body’s sodium levels. But with a diet high in sodium your kidneys may not be able to keep up with the demand for sodium excretion. Thus sodium excess gets retained, and along with the excess sodium comes excess water. An excess of this type of water can have serious negative implications on the body’s health.
Water pills, also call diuretics, target the excess water weight caused by sodium retention. One of the effects of a high sodium diet is an increase in blood volume and thus higher blood pressure, water pills are generally recommended for people who have hypertension. They may also be prescribed for sufferers of edema. Water pills are generally not intended for the use of weight loss, even while many dieters still use them as so.
There is a danger in using water pills strictly for weight loss purposes. Since water pills work by essentially inciting your kidneys to step up the expulsion of sodium from your body, the danger of using water pills for weight loss is that you run the risk of creating a sodium deficiency. Sodium is actually an essential nutrient so a sodium deficiency can complicate health. The key to healthy weight loss is to decrease your body fat percentage–not water weight.