Scientific Nutrition Update 13: Weight Loss and the Whoosh

This episode is all about an interesting weight loss effect in which the pounds will seem to whoosh off over night and what causes it.


For today’s episode we are going to talk about one of those little peculiar things that can happen when you are losing weight called the Whoosh.  Have you ever been dieting and doing pretty well and then your weight seems to just freeze on the scale? It just sits there doing absolutely nothing as you get more and more frustrated?  Well first things first you should already be using a trend line like I told you all the way back in episode 4. But let’s say you are in that situation and it is sitting there stubbornly, until you wake up one morning, and suddenly several pounds have just seemed to evaporate.  You’ve just been visited by the whoosh.


The whoosh is one of those really exciting feelings in weight loss.  Because you have been at this stubborn plateau and then suddenly boom you broke through.  But you may be wondering what causes this right? Well the current theory is actually pretty simple.


Okay first things first we need to talk about fat cells for a minute.  You need to understand that once you have a fat cell, you are basically stuck with it for life.  You can shrink them with weight loss, but they never disappear (except in very rare cases). So what happens when you lose weight is the cells actually shrink.  However, what can sometimes happen is that instead of actually shrinking the cells can suck up water to fill the empty space. Thus even though you are losing fat, your weight doesn’t move because of this extra water you are now carrying.  


What eventually happens is there is some kind of trigger that causes these cells to squeeze out the water in them, and then you wake up in the morning, piss out the water, weigh yourself, and see you lost several pounds.  So you may be wondering what kind of things can trigger the whoosh effect.


The one that seems most common for me is alcohol.  Alcohol is a diuretic, and seems to me to often trigger this whoosh effect in which I’ll wake up the morning after a night where I had a few drinks and I’ll find myself several pounds lighter.  


Many people anecdotally report being able to trigger it with a cheat meal.  The mechanism is not completely understood, but my guess is the cells switch from this water-holding mode to a normal storage mode and in order to so they need to release the held water.


Anecdotally people also report being able to trigger it by consuming enough water that their body then must decide it can release the stored water.  Be careful with how much water you drink though, because it is possible to die from too much water consumption. Drinking too much water can also significantly affect your electrolyte levels.  


There’s also people who will take diuretics and the like to trigger this effect.  Do not do this. Please. Diuretics should not be used for something like this and you can put yourself at risk of serious health effects.


If you find any great journal articles on the science of this effect or anything else you think I might find interesting email them to me at  If you have any other questions send me a voice message on anchor and I’ll try to answer them on this podcast


If you want to learn more about intermittent fasting consider checking out my book The Optimized Guide to Intermittent Fasting and if you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review, it helps more than you know.  Thank you for tuning in, and remember live long, live healthy, but most of all live happy


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.