Laxatives To Lose Weight Quickly: A Dietitian’s Top Picks

This article covers the safety concerns of laxatives for weight loss and the best options to choose from.

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Eating the right foods and following a healthy lifestyle are great methods for starting out with a weight loss plan. Adding in regular exercise is an excellent complement. However, even as a registered dietitian I know that losing weight can be a tremendous challenge. It’s difficult to drop pounds, and it’s even harder to keep them off. There are all kinds of challenges such as hitting a weight loss plateau, feeling hungry all the time and dealing with hormones that make you retain water and hang on to that pesky belly fat.

If you share my frustration for weight loss, then you’ve probably tried at least a few diets and weight loss plans. Many of them work for a little bit, leaving you disappointed in the long run. You may have heard about the use of laxatives for quick weight loss. While its true that you can drop a few pounds with the use of a laxative, there’s a lot that you need to know before trying it out. There are certain products that are a lot safer (and effective) than others, and there are some key safety risks to take note of.

This article is going to go over the use of laxatives for weight loss, potential safety concerns and the best products that help promote bowel movements for weight loss purposes. I want to strongly advise you to read through this information in its entirety. Understanding how laxatives work and how they aid in weight loss can keep you safe throughout this process.

Can a Laxative Help You Lose Weight Fast?

weight loss figure with question marks and a thinner woman

Laxatives can be used to stimulate bowel movements, or to loosen up your stools so they are easy to pass. This category of medications / supplements is commonly utilized for things like constipation, but they can also help you drop a few pounds in the process. Depending on how efficiently your body processes the foods that you eat and expels what’s left behind as waste, you could have anywhere from five to 25 pounds of waste in your body at any moment. Some people just simply have a more regular bathroom schedule than others. When you start to use a laxative and you’re going to the bathroom more, it’s inevitable that you’re going to lose weight to some degree. You might be looking at weight loss from fecal matter expulsion, but you may have lost some water weight as well.

Typically, laxatives kick in pretty quickly. However, the amount of time it takes for you to actually lose weight will vary based on the ingredients you’re using in a laxative. Some products will kick in within just a few hours, while others are more fiber based, and can take a number of days (or weeks) to really show their full benefits. Your weight loss results are based off of the product type you’ve chosen to use. These are some of the most common ones:

Stimulant Laxatives

Using stimulating ingredients, your digestive tract will speed up, so you start to expel waste quickly.

Osmotic Laxatives

Your colon will retain more water, which will then be absorbed into your bowels. This increases the frequency of bowel movements.

Bulk Forming Laxatives

Specific ingredients will move their way through your intestines in an undigested form, absorbing water along the way. This adds bulk to your stools.

Lubricating Laxatives

A coating will form on the surface of your stools as well as the lining of your intestines and colon. This makes it easier for stools to pass.

How Much Weight Can You Lose Taking Laxatives

It’s important that you’re realistic about the amount of weight that you can lose when taking laxatives. Within the first few days, you should only expect to lose anywhere from one to three pounds. This is from the initial water and stools that are being passed. If you are taking a supplement that can be used long term, then you should see a little bit more weight loss as time goes on and your digestive system becomes more efficient and your experience more frequent bowel movements.

You need to make sure that you’re not using a short-term laxative over a more long-term period of time. This could be a dangerous situation. There are products that increase your fiber intake and help you regulate your gut which can be used on a more maintenance basis if that’s what you’re looking for. If you experience the loss of water weight when taking laxatives, you may see a drop of about five pounds as this is the average amount of water that most people retain (unnecessarily).

Is it sustainable?

Using laxatives for weight loss isn’t something that you want to rely solely upon. My expert opinion results in me encouraging my clients to focus more on their diet and exercise plan. Laxatives and other supplements should generally be used as a temporary pick-me-up or boost to what you’re already doing. If you use a laxative intermittently, you could reset your metabolism and gut enough that it aids in weight loss. However, you don’t want to simply take laxatives on an ongoing basis and expect to just keep losing weight.

Safety and side effects that you NEED to know

Laxatives can result in a few pounds of weight loss, but this isn’t the fastest way to accomplish your goals. Certain laxatives can have a negative effect on your body, especially if you’re not careful to follow directions exactly. While laxatives are intended to help improve the health of your GI system, they can have an adverse effect, causing more bloating and discomfort than before. You could also experience dependency on laxatives. When you stop taking them after long term use for weight loss, you would have difficulty with bowel movements.

Because of the water that is removed from the body in order to soften your stools, dehydration is a real risk associated with laxative use for weight loss. Minor dehydration can cause issues like dry skin and nausea. More severe issues with water loss from diarrhea and an impending electrolyte imbalance can result in headaches, increased heart rate and dizziness. You could also suffer from kidney damage or face more severe side effects if you’re taking prescription medication for a condition or disease and the medication is getting flushed out of your body too quickly, before it has the chance to work.

Is there a better way?

If you’re interested in using laxatives for the purpose of weight loss, I would recommend that you look into one of the safer products that are on the market. I’m about to outline some of the best laxatives for quick weight loss, but you’ll find that they contain natural and safe ingredients that are much different from some of the harsher medical laxatives you can purchase over the counter.

Of course, you can always stick with a traditional diet and exercise regimen to lose weight. Eating clean, watching your caloric intake and working out a few days per week can go a long way towards losing weight. You could also increase your fiber intake from the foods that you eat, which will promote better regularity.

What Are the Best Laxatives for Quick Weight Loss Overnight?

If you’re interested in dropping a few pounds quickly to speed up your weight loss process, I would like to provide you with information on the best laxatives for this purpose. These are products which are very safe and effective, as long as you’re taking them as directed.

#1. ColonBroom

product - colonbroom

An organic health supplement that provides very gentle relief from bloating, constipation and diarrhea, Colon Broom by Max Nutrition, LLC is a powder that you can mix into any liquid of your choosing. Its main purpose is to increase your fiber intake (by way of psyllium husk from the plantago ovata plant) to help you detox your body and regulate your bowel movements. The company also markets that you can use their Colon Broom product to boost weight loss, manage your blood sugar levels and improve your mood. It can create a more diverse microbiota in your gut which translates to a higher functioning immune system, feeling lighter and absorbing more nutrients.

Pros

  • Assists with weight loss by reducing excess waste in the colon
  • Can improve satiety
  • Eliminates bouts of constipation
  • Increases your energy levels
  • Regulates your bowel movements
  • Provides a gentle detox from toxins

Cons

  • Contains sucralose as an artificial sweetener
  • Can cause GI discomfort when you first start this product

#2. Chef V 5-Day Cleanse

cleanse and detox chef v

The Chef V 5-Day cleanse was created by Chef V herself, as she looked for ways to help her clients live healthier and happier lives. The brand offers a few different cleanses, including shorter one- and three-day cleanses, with the five-day cleanse being the longer option. Chef V claims that you can use the five-day cleanse to drop as much as 20 pounds. That’s a pretty substantial amount of weight in less than one week, but make sure that you’re realistic about your results. Not everybody is going to experience that kind of drop in weight.

Chef V’s five-day cleanse utilizes green drinks along with protein shakes and detox soups to get you through the process. Nutrients and ingredients have been chosen very carefully to make sure that your body is getting what it needs while also boosting your metabolism, removing toxins, curbing cravings and sustaining healthy energy levels.

Pros

  • Helps you lose weight by calorie restriction and cleansing the body of excess waste
  • You can purchase products for a group of people, so you can participate with your friends or family
  • Eliminates toxins
  • Boosts liver function
  • Increases energy levels

Cons

  • Calorie restriction may make you feel hungry during your cleanse
  • Products come fresh, so you’ll need to plan ahead so you use them when they arrive

#3. Primal Cleanse

primal harvest total cleanse 3 day

This detox supplement from Primal Harvest is a capsule-based product that is very easy to take and reap the benefits of. Primal Total Cleanse (read our review here) is a daily supplement that contains ingredients such as probiotics, oat bran fiber, fennel seed, acai, rhubarb, cayenne, ginger, licorice and aloe vera leaf. There are 20 different ingredients in total that cleanse away toxins, help you lose weight and support the colon and kidneys. People claim it has increased their energy levels and boosted their natural metabolism.

Pros

  • Promotes more frequent bowel movements
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Contains 20 natural ingredients
  • Probiotics help you create a more diverse microbiome
  • Made in a safe, GMP-certified facility

Cons

  • Not safe for vegans
  • Primal Harvest is not transparent about the amounts of each ingredient that have been included in their product

#4. Raw Generation Skinny Cleanse

summary info skinny cleanse raw generation

Raw Generation is based on the power of plant-based foods, helping people feel their best in a variety of ways. Their Skinny Cleanse contains ingredients that can help you lose weight while also healing the body from the inside out. Made using whole food ingredients without the use of preservatives or artificial ingredients, Raw Generation Skinny Cleanse is a great way to get started with weight loss. You can expect to lose a few pounds.

Raw Generation allows you to choose the length of your cleanse. Options are the two-day Skinny Cleanse, which includes 12 bottles of product. You can also choose from a three-day program or five-day option, which includes 30 bottles of product. Some of the most popular flavors include Sweet Greens juice, Citrus Carrot juice, Sweet Roots juice, Tarte Greens juice and Cool Greens juice.

Pros

  • Contains various vitamins and minerals that can help with weight loss
  • Supports your body’s natural immune response
  • Experience an increase in energy without stimulants
  • Resets your GI system
  • Promotes more regular bowel movements

Cons

  • This cleanse is not safe for people with a tree nut allergy
  • You may need to adjust to this product when you first start taking it

#5. Metamucil

diarrhea fiber - metamucil

Metamucil has a number of fiber-based products that can help with bowel regulation, decreasing constipation, reducing gas / bloating and much more. The brand encourages you to take their two-week challenge to see how you feel. If you’re interested in quick weight loss, I would encourage you to look at something like the Metamucil Premium Blend, which consists of a four-in-one fiber. Psyllium will help you lose weight, boost your metabolism, increase your energy levels and feel lighter. Another beneficial Metamucil product is their Psyllium Fiber Capsules. They can be taken regularly to balance your blood sugar levels so you don’t feel hungry all the time, lower your cholesterol naturally and eliminate that sluggish digestion feeling.

Pros

  • A variety of products are included in the Metamucil lineup
  • Helps regulate your bowel movements
  • Increases energy
  • Makes you feel lighter
  • Can aid in weight loss

Cons

  • Non-organic brand
  • They use stevia for a number of their products

#6. MiraLax Laxative

miralax stool softener

MiraLax Laxative is a product that comes in its original prescription strength version, providing effective constipation relief. It naturally gets your GI tract moving, working with the water that you have in your body to soften your stools and pass them easily. The main ingredient in this product is Polyethylene Glycol, and MiraLax Laxative comes in powder form. It can be mixed into any hot or cold beverage that you want. It’s beneficial because it helps to remove any stuck waste that is in your body, but it won’t make you run for the bathroom or make you feel uncomfortable.

Pros

  • Relieves occasional constipation
  • Softens stool
  • Promotes regularity
  • Stimulant-free
  • Claims to not cause harsh side effects

Cons

  • Polyethylene Glycol is questionable in regard to safety for the renal system
  • You’ll need to pay close attention to your water intake to accommodate what this supplement is using from your body

#7. Dulcolax Laxative

laxative dulcolax

Dulcolax Laxative contains the active ingredient bisacodyl, which stimulates the intestines to contract and move more fecal matter out of the body. It’s beneficial if you’re suffering from a bout of constipation, and it can take effect overnight, so you start to experience relief right away the next day. It’s a doctor-recommended product that is gentle, effective and can be used to kick start your weight loss goals. However, it should not be used long term. It’s not a product that increases your fiber intake and can be used on an ongoing basis. You’ll want to use it for about one week at a time, taking a break for a number of weeks afterwards. It’s more of a treatment option for constipation and occasional GI issues.

Pros

  • Provides gentle constipation relief
  • Offers relief in just six to 12 hours
  • Comes in a convenient tablet form
  • Softens and hydrates hard stools
  • Doctor recommended

Cons

  • Contains artificial colors
  • Should not be used for more than one week at a time

The Bottom Line

If you’re going to use laxatives to aid in weight loss, you need to make sure that you’re taking a safe, natural and gentle product to help you along. I have included information on seven extremely effective products that have provided people with substantial results, but it’s imperative that you’re following the directions of this product to prevent side effects of complications. If you’re at all concerned about the safety of laxatives or you have a health issue that could impact your ability to use a product such as this, contact your doctor for their professional opinion.

Should You Take One of These Laxatives to Lose Weight Quickly, Even Overnight?

As a registered dietitian, I understand the ability that certain natural herbs and ingredients have to help you lose weight. A lot of these supplements utilize fiber to get things moving, but there are other components that will gently stimulate your bowel movements so you’re expelling more waste. Most products won’t recommend that you use their products during the nighttime hours, but just make sure that you understand the directions completely before you start a laxative regimen. Don’t take the product for longer periods of time than were recommended to you, and make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the process

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Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD

Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, earned her masters degree in Nutrition and Foods from the University of Georgia. She's a Registered Dietitian at Morrison Healthcare and has a strong passion in helping people improve their wellness!

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