Use of Laxatives to Lose Weight

Written by catherine capozzi
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Laxatives are used by those suffering from constipation, but they can also be used by people who want to lose weight. While many laxatives are found naturally in the produce aisle, others are located in the medicine cabinet. Both have very different effects on the body.

How Laxatives Work

Laxatives help the bowels push faeces out of the digestive system at a faster rate. They can also soften stools, which make it easier for them to be eliminated from the colon. Any weight loss you see is generally water weight. Columbia University health services explains that taking laxatives causes a reaction that flushes water into the intestine, softens the stool, and then causes a muscle reaction to expel it. Therefore, the weight lost is primarily water weight.

Types of Laxatives

Some foods, generally those high in fibre, are natural laxatives. They include prunes, dried fruit like apricots, leafy greens, mangos and flax seeds. Certain liquids can also act as laxatives. Many drink coffee, which suffices as a laxative, while others purchase special teas. Most grocery stores carry specific brands of teas that are advertised as laxatives, such as "Smooth Move." Other laxatives are in pill form, including Ex-lax or Perdiem. Laxatives can also appear in powder form, as is the case with the brands Miralax and Floralax.

Best Laxatives to Consume

Safe laxatives come in the form of fruits, vegetables and from herbal tea with no added chemicals. These foods contain fibre and naturally expel waste from the body while delivering important nutrients. Other laxatives just expel food from the body but do not add sustenance. Coffee is not harmful in small doses, and Harvard University published an article claiming the brew can protect against disease. Other nutritious foods to help bulk up stools for elimination are tiny flax seeds, which contain omega fatty acids that boost brain power while also easing digestion.


Laxatives do not prevent your body from ingesting excess calorie intake. Therefore, eating high-calorie, high-fat foods and then taking a laxative does not prevent you from gaining weight. The only way to lose weight in a healthy manner is by exercising and eating a well-rounded diet.


Consuming laxatives in pill or powder form for weight loss is ill-advised. Taking too many laxatives is dangerous, as it can lead to malnourishment, cramping and kidney problems. Linda Ojeda, author of the book "Safe Dieting for Teens," states that mixing laxatives with any diuretics can result in an electrolyte imbalance and be harmful to one's heart.

Better Alternatives

To lose weight, try hydrating the body with water instead of dehydrating it with laxatives. Making smart food choices can also cause weight loss, as certain foods keep the body full for longer and keep calorie consumption low. Bananas, grapes and watermelon are all great alternatives. Have a cup of green tea: The drink is a known appetite suppressant that also contains helpful antioxidants.

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