Yo-Yo Dieting Isn't Harmful
No matter how many times someone has lost weight and then gained back, it’s better to try again than to give up altogether. In other words, yo-yo dieting is OK.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle conducted a study that showed for the first time that yo-yo dieting, contrary to conventional beliefs, does not affect metabolism and make future weight loss difficult if not impossible.
A history of unsuccessful weight loss should not dissuade an individual from future attempts to shed pounds or diminish the role of a healthy diet and regular physical activity in successful weight management,” senior author Ann McTiernan, MD, PhD, said in a statement.
In the study of overweight-to-obese women aged 50 to 75, 18 percent met the criteria for “severe weight cycling” (losing at least 20 pounds at least three times) and “moderate weight cycling” (losing 10 or more pounds at least three times).
When compared at the end of the diet-and-exercise study with subjects who hadn’t engaged in weight cycling, the weight cyclers were equally successful. Not only was the weight loss the same, but other physiological factors, like blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, were comparable.
In reporting the findings, the researchers emphasized that obesity is a known risk factor for heart disease and some cancers, and since the health effects of yo-yo dieting appear to be non-existent, people should still try to lose weight despite having been unsuccessful in the past.
The study was published in the journal “”Metabolism.”