22 Surprising “Side Effects” of Weight Loss…

Today’s post is an update to a previously published article from October 2013. Dr. Tague has updated the content to reflect the latest recommendations for optimum health and wellness.

Not only does weight loss feel great and look great, it has other amazing “side effects”, and likely ones that you have not considered. In fact, the side effects from weight loss are so life-changing and positive, once you read them, you’ll be more convinced than ever that losing excess body weight is simply the right thing to do!

Medications for things like high cholesterol and high blood pressure are often needed in those who are overweight. Consider some examples of side effects from these common medications:

  1. Women using calcium channel blockers to lower blood pressure for 10 years have a 150% increased risk of breast cancer. JAMA Internal Medicine Journal (Aug 5, 2013).
  2. Beta-blockers, such as propranolol or atenolol, used for blood pressure, slow the metabolism about 186 calories per day, causing weight gain (up to 18 lbs per year!) and fatigue, which can devastate one’s quality of life.
  3. Common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, Celebrex, and others, often used for joint pain, have an FDA warning now due to a 30% to 100% increase in the risk of heart attack and stroke. The risk can begin immediately after the first dose. Journal Watch General Medicine (Ded 29, 2011).
  4. The “water pill” hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) for blood pressure increases blood sugars and can trigger diabetes.
  5. Common statin medications for cholesterol can increase blood sugars, impair muscle function, and cause memory problems and severe body aches.

Not great news on the medication front…. With that background information, however, you can imagine how rewarding it is to help patients discontinue or avoid these problem prescriptions by simply losing weight. Medical experts now agree that excess body weight is a potentially life-threatening disease with many negative health effects. Weight gain too often causes serious health problems that result in more medications that have more side effects! The good news is that through weight loss, you can achieve an almost endless number of POSITIVE “Side Effects”!

Consider this undeniable fact about unwanted weight gain:

Obesity is a disease that no one wants, no one deserves and is a tremendous “bother” to those affected each and every day!

  • Personal self-esteem suffers
  • Activities are more difficult
  • Clothes no longer fit
  • Self-confidence when interacting with others dwindles
  • Overall quality of life is just not at its full potential

Further, as a physician supporting those struggling with their weight, I’ve seen first hand the devastating medical consequences that often occur. However, weight loss often has transformational health benefits. Here are 22 of those surprising, transformational “side effects” of weight loss:

Maintaining Normal Weight Compared To Excess Body Fat:

  1. Heart Disease: Slash the risk of heart attack and heart disease death by half!
  2. Cancer: Reduce the risk of cancer by 45%, including breast, prostate, colon, others…
  3. Stroke: 80% greater risk of stroke if obese compared to normal weight
  4. Dementia: 80% greater risk of dementia if obese, also smaller brain size if obese
  5. Diabetes Type 2: 90% of cases occur in those who are overweight, conversely, a 22 lb weight loss restores 35% of the shortened life expectancy
  6. Fatigue: Excess weight is almost always associated with less energy
  7. High Blood Pressure: 550% increased risk if obese, weight loss helps!
  8. High Cholesterol: Each 20 lbs of weight gain raises cholesterol by 10%
  9. Osteoarthritis: Joint pain increases 54% with a 23 lb weight gain
  10. Sleep Apnea: Weight loss is the best treatment and many are “healed” by losing 30-50 lbs
  11. Asthma: 100% increase in risk if obese
  12. Sexual Dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction, low T, female sexual dysfunction, low libido are more common with obesity
  13. Gallstones: Risk drops about 1% for each pound of weight loss
  14. Depression and/or Anxiety: Present in over half of those with obesity
  15. Parkinson’s Disease: 200% increased risk if obese compared to normal weight
  16. Low Self-Esteem: Opportunities for jobs, promotions, colleges, housing, relationships are limited if obese, and bullying is common towards obese children
  17. Physical Activity: Unwanted limits on pleasure activities if obese
  18. Medical Costs: $1,426 lower medical expenses per year if normal weight vs obese
  19. Fatty Liver: 10% weight gain increases fat deposits in the liver by 100%
  20. Motor Vehicle Accident Death Risk: 89% higher risk if obese (more weight causes greater trauma in collisions)
  21. Sudden Death: Obese individuals have a 40 times higher rate of unexplained sudden death
  22. Life Expectancy of Children: Obese children are twice as likely to die by age 55 compared to normal weight children

The health impact from being overweight is painful, expensive, pleasure-limiting, quality of life-limiting and, at times, deadly! When we look at the positive benefits from weight loss, it becomes quite clear that everyone should pursue and maintain a healthy (or healthier) body weight. It is simply the right thing to do.

Determining the effective tools and strategies to achieve this, one person at time, typically requires a personalized medical approach and it’s my professional passion. If you are in the danger zone of overweight by having gained 20 lbs or more as an adult and are currently struggling to get control, get the assistance necessary for success. Your health, quality of life, and length of life are worth it!

For Optimum Health,

Rick R. Tague, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M.

Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M. is a nutrition & weight loss specialist and the Founder & Medical Director of the Center for Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, P.A.

Dr. Tague is an Alpha Omega Alpha honors graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He also holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Tulane. Dr. Tague is board certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine. His medical practice has focused on optimum health, nutrition, and weight loss since 1996.