Instant gratification is an attractive prospect. After all, it’s both instant and gratifying. What could be more gratifying than quickly losing extra body weight?

Unfortunately, much like most things that are instantly gratifying, rapid weight loss has quite a few downsides; not the least of which being that it’s (usually) wildly unhealthy.

Rapid Weight Loss

The suggested healthy amount of weight loss is about 1-2 pounds a week; any faster than that and you start entering rapid weight loss territory. 1-2 pounds a week is a far cry from diets that offer things like “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days” or “Lose 50 pounds in a month.”

Technically, these insanely fast weight lost speeds are not impossible. However, they will wreck your body, sometimes irreparably.

With that in mind, we’d like to go over some rapid weight loss methods and why they probably aren’t the best idea.

Starvation Diets

These diets are fairly self-explanatory. Weight loss, when broken down to its essence, is effectively a math problem. If the amount of calories you intake is more than the calories you burn, you’ll gain weight. If the amount of calories you intake is less than the calories you burn, you’ll lose weight. Even if you do nothing all day, your body is going to burn a certain amount of calories just to keep everything functioning properly.

With a starvation diet, you effectively don’t eat anything. These are juice cleanse and water diets. They provide almost no calories. Obviously, it will make your calorie intake well under the number of calories you’ll burn in a day and you’ll lose a lot of weight very quickly.

Very Low-Calorie Diets

The premise here is similar to starvation diets, only not nearly as extreme. The biggest difference is that these diets are meant to be monitored by a doctor to maximize nutrition while minimizing calorie intake.

The math works the same way, only it’s not quite as unhealthy and it’s not quite as uncomfortable.

Pills and Supplements

No pill has been proven to lead to rapid weight loss without some other form of low-calorie intake.

Potential Health Problems

Hunger is not just an annoying sensation; it is your body telling you that you need something. People who go through rapid weight loss can experience side effects like gallstones, dehydration, headaches, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone density, kidney failure, liver failure, hair loss, and the list goes on.

The longer the diet goes on, the worse these side effects can get. What’s worse, rapid weight loss usually leads to yo-yo dieting. That means, not only will you regain the weight you lost, you might gain even more. The constant up and down puts even more strain on your body.

Possible Exceptions

For people with a Body Mass Index higher than 30, a brief period of supervised rapid weight loss using a very low-calorie diet may be helpful in kick-starting the weight loss process.

In extreme cases, gastric bypass surgery or something in the same vein can be a relatively safe and healthy method of rapid (and potentially permanent) weight loss.

You should consult a doctor before trying any this. Just to make sure you qualify for these potential exceptions.