Diuretics: The Water Pill

Toronto, ON, Canada — Woman Taking Pill with Water — Image by © Puzant Apkarian/First Light/Corbis

While diuretics can act as temporary eliminators of “water weight” from the body, they are not effective tools for weight loss.

In the long run, diuretics can be dangerous and are not a weight loss solution recommended by physicians.

What Are Diuretics?

Diuretics, or “water pills,” encourage urination by increasing the flow of urine from the kidneys and thereby preventing sodium absorption. When the body is unable to absorb sodium, less water is retained, which leads to less bloating and water weight gain. Because of their ability to prevent the appearance of bloating, diuretics are commonly used for “water weight” loss.

Dangers of Diuretics

Using diuretics for weight loss can be dangerous if potassium levels in the body drop, which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration and an electrolyte imbalance can cause permanent damage to the kidneys. This damage is often proceeded by muscle weakness, fatigue, and irregular heartbeats.

Uses and Alternatives

Diuretics should only be used if recommended by a doctor. They are often prescribed to a person suffering from high blood pressure or to women who retain water before menstruation. People with edema also find diuretics helpful in finding relief.

Many people use natural diuretics to eliminate bloating and water retention. Some of these natural diuretics include caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee, cranberry juice, and regular helpings of fruits and vegetables.

It is important to remember that rapid weight loss of any kind is unhealthy and harmful to the body. Any lost fluids should be replenished with water.

Rather than use diuretics, it is commonly suggested to make healthy changes to one’s diet and exercise routines. Reducing salt intake and increasing the amount of water one drinks can both prove effective in efforts to lose weight safely.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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