Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Why Yo-Yo Dieting Isn't Always Bad

Many of us who have been on a diet are familiar with the term ‘yo-yo dieting’. This is when you go on a diet (often extreme) and lose weight only to regain it again once the diet's finished.

What happens next? You go on another diet, lose a bit more weight, stop again, regain the weight, with a bit more for good measure! And so it goes on, year after year. While this pattern of dieting has long been considered unhealthy, a research study may just prove otherwise.

According to the Calorie Control Council, some 45% of Americans who went on a diet over the past year, successfully lost weight. However, two thirds of them weren’t able to maintain that weight loss.

Various studies have indicated that the yo-yo diet cycle is definitely not healthy. Apart from the fact that it seems to mess up the metabolism, rendering the body less efficient at burning off calories, it can be potentially harmful to health in other ways such as decreasing immunity and increasing risks of developing high blood pressure.

However, according to a new piece of research by US scientists, rapidly shedding weight then regaining it again, may not be as harmful as once thought. Once again, laboratory mice were put to the test. In this study which was carried out over a period of two years, one group of mice were placed on a diet which alternated between high and low fat food. Another group were given a continuously high fat diet while the others were fed a permanently low fat diet.

As to be expected, the researchers found that mice who were fed the high fat diet ate more, had higher levels of body fat and blood glucose and showed early signs of diabetes. And the mice given the yo-yo diet similarly displayed a decline in health during the high fat phase of their diet. However, once they started cutting calories again, their weight and blood glucose levels returned to normal.

Overall, the mice fed the low fat diet lived longest with an average of 2.09 years. The yo-yo mice lived 2.04 years and the mice on the high fat diet lived 1.5 years. Apparently the normal life span for this type of laboratory mouse is just over two years.

While this research has only been conducted on mice, it seems to show that yo-yo dieting is still better for overall health than not dieting at all and living off a high fat diet. So even if you keep regaining that lost weight, try and try again. You could be healthier for it.

© Diets and Calories 2011


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