Can you loose weight with a fiber laxative? (or pooping off the pounds.)

It is possible to loose weight by using fiber laxatives? Is it safe?

I was asked this question and I don’t know. I assume that it is not safe to use chemical laxatives which draw on the bodies supply of fluids but fiber laxatives are plant fiber, which I assume would be similar to eating a salad.

The only thing I could guess was that if one takes a small amount of fiber laxative prior to eating, it will swell, take up space and act like eating greens (a salad prior to the main course), then after the meal, another dosage would act like ‘scour’ to encourage the passage of the stomach contents into the large intestine and then through it.

It seems harmless enough in comparison with chemical laxatives which drain the body of things like potassium, magnesium, salts and assorted minerals. People with diverticulosis are encouraged to take a fiber laxative daily to ease the passage of waste and to ‘scrub’ gently the diverticuli of any stray food products.

A friend of mine went on a salad diet to drop some weight. (He only weighed about 375.) The first few days he crapped his brains out, so I suggested adding normal, small meals with the salads, and after a week, not only had he lost weight, grown mighty tired of salads but claimed his bowels were the best they’d been in ages. He dropped 5 to 6 pounds a week. He might have dropped more but he likes his beer and I never could convince him that light beer is not low in calories. (It’s low in carbonation – and taste.)

So, I figured salad = fiber. Fiber = low calories. Fiber encourages the passage of food through the system. Fiber laxative = few calories. Fiber laxative with food = similar effects as to salad = loss in weight.

So, I don’t know. Anyone wiser than I have some thoughts on the matter?

Man 'O Man.

Your talking some serious shit here Far Treker.

Taking laxatives to lose weight is one of the worst possible ways to drop some pounds. Not only will it screw up your bodies nutritional balance, it will play havoc with your bodies organs, quite possibly resulting in permanent damage.

Still not satisfied?

More than likely you will gain the weight back plus a few when you stop taking the laxatives. Not only that, but it tends to come back in places that are less than flattering.

Stick with the tried and proven. Eat smart and healthy, in small amounts spread throughout the day, and add a safe and effective cardiovascular excersise routine.

There’s the plan. Simple and effective.

You feel better, look better, be healthier, and have a better chance of keeping the weight off.

Anyone who tells you different is full of shit.

I have heard of people with eating disorders (bulimia) using this method, and all it does is make them sick.

Actually Spider, what you describe, and what I purposely avoided in my post, was anorexia, not bulimia.

Anorexia is when you eat less than you should because of an ill-formed view of your own body image. The anorexic starves themselves by any number of means to achieve an often un-achievable (sp?) weight or image, one method of choice is laxatives.

Bulimia is the pattern of binge and purging. The bulimic feels a need or desire to eat more than normal, feels guilty, and purges the meal.

Both can and do go hand in hand. Typically it starts with anorexia and progresses into bulimia, but not always.

I have a feeling the O.P. was after a more mundane reason for this than a full blown eating disorder question. I simply wanted to touch base on the dangers and problems associated with laxative dieting, not necessarily eating disorders.

I guess I thought the of the laxatives as a method of purging. Either way, I’ll bet using them can cause a load (sorry) of trouble.

The following is not a hijack:

When I was in high school, I worked in the local drugstore. I had the major hots for the stockboy. One day, I decided to try fiber pills, which were at that time being touted as a great weight loss method. So, I took the pills and went to work. Now, I was working as a cashier that day, and the register I was at was almost like a little booth–there was a counter in front of me, a 4-foot wall behind me, and a swinging door to get in and out. In other words, it was a semi-enclosed space.

So, I am standing there, ringing people up, when I get the urge to fart. pppppppphhhhht. pppppppppphhhhhht. ppppppppphhhhhhhhht. pppppppppppppphhhhhhhhhhhhhht! I couldn’t stop! And they were the most noxious, foulest, smelliest farts I had ever encountered. I was hoping that the customers didn’t notice. Little did I know, the customers were to be the least of my worries.

Along came the hot stockboy to change the garbage can under my register. This involved him entering…my farty booth. Omigod! I thought I was gonna die of embarrassment. I knew any chance I had with him was blown. (sorry) Damn fiber pills!

(As it turns out, the farts were irrelevant, because the hot stockboy was having a secret romance with the cosmetics girl.)

FarTreker–I think it’s a real bad idea, for reasons far more profound than the possibility of a thwarted romance. There are better, safer, ways to lose weight than inducing diarrhea.

Laxatives are used by bulimics. Anorexics just don’t eat and exercise like crazy. also, it is possible for people to have both-Anorexia-Bulimia…starving oneself in between binges and purging.
Anorexics can use laxatives too, I suppose, but the majority are bulimics.

Guinastasia- Thanks for the correction.

Your absolutely right. I miss-identified the two.

Of the two, bulimia nervosa tends to have more people who abuse laxatives, diet pills, and other drugs in an attempt to speed up the process of weight loss. They also have higher day to day weight fluctuations than the anorexic. Possibly because of this fluctuation, and the associated guilt that comes with it, the bulimic is more often drawn to drugs and other means to lose weight faster than normal.

Anorexia nervosa, on the other hand, is a self-starvation approach to achieving a desired look or weight. Drugs are not the preferred method of weight loss because there’s usually not the associated issues with bingeing. If not addressed at some point, the sufferer simply starves themselves to death.

There can also be a combination of the two: Anorexia-Bulimia. The anorexic-bulimic can incorporate some or all of the above behaviors, in varying degrees.

It gets even more complicated the more you look at it. What I’ve mentioned is only the ‘typical’ model.

I am in no way claiming to be an expert or know all the nuances of these disorders. I only know from my personal experience with loved one’s and long-time friends who have had to deal with this insidious disease. What I’ve learned and seen has truly been an eye-opening experience.

I hope the O.P. can look at a safer approach to weight loss (If it’s really needed) and not get swept up in a plan that can cause long lasting problems in the future.


I should have mentioned that I did look in a couple books to make sure I was associating the right facts to the right disorder.

It’s a complicated, confusing, mess.

I’ve known people who have lost weight by taking a couple of fiber tabs and drinking a full glass of water before a meal.

If the tablets are only fiber (ie Fibercon, bran fiber, etc) and don’t contain any stimulant laxatives, I fail to see any major health no-no’s. Flatulence is definitely a problem, though.

Is it possible? Probably. Is it safe? No. Chronic runs is not a good way to lose weight. I dropped 5 pounds in a bout with nasty intestinal bacteria which gave me a nasty case of the trots for a whole week, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a viable weight-loss option.

IME, the key to successful weight loss is to find the right combination of an eating plan and an exercise plan that works for you and (here’s the key) that you can live with the rest of your life. For me, it’s restricted carbs and weight lifting. It may be something completely different for you. If you (generic you) are looking for a quick fix, and go back to your old habits after you lose the weight, you’ll likely just gain it all back anyway.


Fiber tabs will not necessarily give a person the runs. Bulk-forming laxatives are often used to treat diarrhea and irritable-bowel type disorders.


You’re right. This is exactly what my gastroenterologist told me to do to control some problems I was having. More info than that is TMI. :slight_smile:

But I would think that the amount you’d have to take to induce weight loss in all likelihood would have less-than-pleasant side effects. I personally don’t want to experience that.

Not necessarily–

Just adding a moderate amount of fiber and lots of water would cause the fiber to expand in your stomach and give a sensation of fullness with relatively few calories.

No, it’ll just make you loose. (You have to think about that for a moment — I mean “loose” as in “loose as a goose”.) :wink:

Sorry, it’s a bad pun, but I had to do it. Seriously, I think it’s a bad idea.

Well, that’s what I figured but I wasn’t sure. I loose weight when I want by eating less, but my buddy wants to loose it fast and for once I had no real concrete information. I’d heard of people using chemical laxatives to loose weight, but they were bulimic, and I already knew that such solutions draw on the bodies fluids.

BTW, I’m 6 feet tall and weigh 200 lbs. At my age, I expect to carry a few extra pounds. One girl friend called me ‘comfy’. :slight_smile:


Maybe if you described what your friend was after, the minions here could be better able to offer some solutions and advice.

Is he trying to lose weight for, say, a wrestling match? Is it because he wants to lose some weight before asking out a babe? Or does he genuinely think he needs to lose some weight permanantly and is seeking your advice?

The reason I ask is that people will begin to go off in different tangeants much like I did.

Give some specifics and you might be surprises by what people can come up with.


He weighs in at 300 pounds and he’s not exactly the exercise type but he’s tired of resembling a barrel, not seeing his ‘*****’ when he looks down in the shower and having only rather rotund girls attracted to him. He’s tried other diets, but they take ages, cost too much or don’t work. He’s tried to cut down on the food but he just loves his meals and fatty things. (I’ve gotten him to eat a large salad before meals – but he’s not all that crazy about raw vegetables. Bad teeth. It’s hard for him to chew the tougher tubers.)

He started thinking about the salad/fiber thing and asked me. He wants to drop about 100 pounds this year. I told him that I did not know exactly what using a laxative before and after meals would do, aside from giving him the dumps, so, I posed my question. Right now I have him using some chromium picolate, B-6, B-100 and B-12 to try to gently hype up his metabolism a bit.

I almost had to shoot him to make him stop buying that thick cut, cheap, fatty bacon he likes and eats a ton of, managed to get him to withdraw off of Miracle Whip and switch to regular Mayo, gave him a bag of seasoned rice cakes and after he ate them he asked me if I hated him, because I obviously tried to poison him with those things.

I gave him a box of veggie burgers and he said they were only good with a fried egg on top and several slices of melted cheese.

I suggested liposuction and he asked me if I would like him to pound me on my head a little. (He’s bigger than I.)

So, here I am.

If he’s 375lbs, he’s not going to lose the fat around his body by crapping it out. He has to burn calories, and it’s hard for a normal person to lose more than a pound or two a week using a reasonable method, like a minor lifestyle change. Since a pound of fat is 3500 calories, he’d have to eat 500 fewer calories every day than his maintenance level to lose a pound a week. Alternately he could exercise to the tune of 500 calories a day, and not eat more than normal. If he can do both, he could lose two pounds a week and still keep his metabolism up. Losing weight slowly is the only way to keep the pounds off, and not rebound.

There are a lot of weight loss resources on the net, and is not a bad one. Even if you don’t pay for a plan, you can get their newsletter which has many ideas for a reaonsable weight loss plan.


Actually, increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, even thru fiber supplements, can be a safe & effective way of sheding a few pounds. Make sure you get plenty of water, and your BMs should be loose & floaty, not runny. And, if you were not getting anywhere near enuf fiber, prior, they will stay off.

You can also add “chitosan”* to your diet, pop a couple prior to eating a fatty meal, and they will bind with some of the fat in that meal, where it will “pass”. “Xenical”(sp?) works on the same principle, but way better.

However, you MUST not take any other types of laxatives to lose wieght. They can be damaging to your health, and habit forming.

avail in the diet section of larger stores, or in health food stores.